The infamous Pineapple Under the Sea landed on the stage at Broadway’s Palace Theatre when SpongeBob SquarePants, The Broadway Musical officially opened December 4.
The beloved Nickelodeon cartoon about the world’s most optimistic sponge was adapted for the stage by director Tina Landau and book writer Kyle Jarrow, and features a compilation score by some of the biggest names in music. Artists Jonathan Coulton, David Bowie and Brian Eno, Plaint White T’s, T.I. and Domani Harris and Darwin Quinn, Panic! at the Disco, Alex Evert, Cyndi Lauper and Rob Hyman, Yolanda Adams, The Flaming Lips, Sara Bareilles, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, Lady Antebellum, John Legend, They Might Be Giants, Andy Paley and Tom Kenny all contributed a single song to create the eclectic score.
Playbill spoke to Jarrow live on the opening-night red carpet (22:00) about how he wrote a script to scaffold these songs and his process working with each of these musicians. “I had a draft of the script, and there was a hole, there was a song here that needs to be about this, here’s a couple lyrical prompts,” said Jarrow. “Then they wrote songs and sent them back, and it really worked.” Plus, Pulitzer Prize and Tony winner Tom Kitt (Next to Normal), who provided musical supervision, orchestrations, and additional music for SpongeBob, spoke about taking the individual songs and creating the full sound audiences enjoy at the Palace Theatre (2:00).
Much like the score, Tony winner Christopher Gattelli’s choreography is a beautiful hodgepodge of styles—including an Egyptian style called tutting! He revealed to Playbill (11:00) the number he’s most proud of—it’s not what you think—plus working with Tony nominee Gavin Lee (Mary Poppins) to tap dance on four legs as Squidward. We spoke to Lee about the challenges of tapping with four shoes and being pushed to the physical limit for Broadway again!
Actors Ethan Slater, who plays SpongeBob, and Danny Skinner, who plays Patrick Star, spoke about their favorite moments in the show, bringing the cartoon to life, and what had changed over five years of developing the musical. Lilli Cooper, who plays Sandy Cheeks, shared some backstage secrets—and ways she has fun onstage that audiences might not catch. Playbill also spoke to Wesley Taylor, who plays Plankton, and Brian Ray Norris, who plays Mr. Krabs, about creating a voice that sounds enough like the original character and their own interpretation.
All who walked the carpet were decked in their best Spongebob paraperhanlia, be it a full yellow suit like Landau or a SpongeBob and Patrick bow tie like Gattelli. Take a look at the video for the fashion as well as the interviews.