After a successful run in Chicago last summer, SpongeBob SquarePants is finally coming to Broadway later this year—and he's bringing along a star-studded musical production with him.
The SpongeBob Musical, co-conceived and directed by Tina Landau, will open on Broadway at The Palace Theatre before the end of the year, with preview performances beginning Monday, November 6th and an official opening on Monday, December 4th. At least four of the stars of the original Chicago run, Ethan Slater as SpongeBob SquarePants, Gavin Lee as Squidward, Lilli Cooper as Sandy Cheeks and Danny Skinner as Patrick, will all return. So will the "adult" jokes.
The most exciting part of the musical is—you guessed it—the actual music. That includes original songs by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith ("Bikini Bottom Boogie"), Yolanda Adams, Sara Bareilles, Alexander Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Flaming Lips ("Tomorrow Is"), John Legend, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants and T.I.
There are also additional lyrics by Jonathan Coulton (who already wrote one of the all-time great NYC songs, "Dance Soterios Johnson Dance"), and a David Bowie song ("No Control" from his mid-90s Brian Eno collaboration Outside). Bowie of course was a big SpongeBob fan, lending his voice to the character of emperor “Lord Royal Highness.”
It's just too bad "War Pigs" wasn't included, since this mashup video is pretty perfect.
The story concerns SpongeBob and all of Bikini Bottom facing the total annihilation of their undersea world: "Chaos erupts. Lives hang in the balance. And just when all hope seems lost, a most unexpected hero rises up and takes center stage." If you're nervous about this taking a highly ambiguous Pinter-worthy turn (SpongeBob's wife leaves him because she cannot remember ever knowing him, Patrick commits suicide amidst unanswerable questions of the mysteries of life, and SpongeBob's makeshift family with Squidward and Mr. Krabs breaks down as they wrestle with philosophical questions about the value of bourgeois modes of living), you could always assuage those fears by reading the spoiler-filled Wikipedia page.