As someone who grew up loving the adorable, quirky, absorbent character of SpongeBob SquarePants and his under the sea habitat of Bikini Bottom, I’ve been amazed and overjoyed to see that the television series continues to grow and stay modern for the next generation of children. As successful as the series has been, I’m worried to see these beloved characters translated into a live performance of song and dance with human performers.
My immediate thought after learning about the new musical book by Kyle Jarrow, music supervision by Tom Kitt, was “WHY?!”
I feel that Nickelodeon is trying to play catch-up with Disney and their stage adaptations of their classic movies, which have been more or less successful. I’m afraid that the translation of SpongeBob from cartoon to person will become confused, forced, and unidentifiable of a universally distinct character.
I can’t imagine the production being anymore than a series of theatrical magic, spectacle, and cliche gags, that litter the Broadway musical scene. It is another foot deeper into the commercial entertainment hole that Broadway has become.
That being said. I had similar thought and speculations with the premier of Legally Blonde the Musical, which I found charming, thoughtful, and fun. Maybe with original music by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of AEROSMITH, John Legend, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s…just to name a few, this show can become the next great entertainment hit and place itself in a genre all of its own.
The buzz about this show is becoming greater, since it will be premiering in my home city of Chicago, and my head is filled with skepticism, anticipation, and curiosity.