Not a Simple Sponge — The Genius of “Spongebob The Musical”

A childish musical? Or a timeless masterpiece? “Spongebob: The Musical” is a genius piece of art that is often looked down upon due to its plot. What if I told you that it’s not as childish as it seems?

Photo+courtesy+of+Google+%E2%80%94+Ethan+Slater+as+Spongebob+and+Danny+Skinner+as+Patrick.

Photo courtesy of Google — Ethan Slater as Spongebob and Danny Skinner as Patrick.

When you sit down to listen to a musical, what’s the first thing you choose? “Hamilton?” “Be More Chill”? Maybe you’re feeling like “Little Shop of Horrors”. The last thing on your list is “Spongebob The Musical;” you weren’t even aware they made a musical after one of your favorite childhood shows — it’s a show about a talking sponge working as a fry cook–how good could it be?

“Overall, ‘SpongeBob The Musical’ has impacted me in a way that not many other musicals have… from the titular character to the ensemble members. ‘The SpongeBob Musical’ truly represents everything I love about musical theatre, and I will probably be belting out those songs until the day I die.” Cayl Jameson over at denvercenter.org gave their opinion.

It’s official! The rights for the purchase of this musical just came out a few months ago, and schools all over the country are rushing at the opportunity to fit a little Spongebob into their lives.

“If you’re a visual person, you can appreciate the intricacy and detail of both the costumes and sets. If you grew up watching the cartoon, you’ll love all of the references to it that are made throughout the show, but you’ll also appreciate the unique take on each character and the way they have been fleshed out for the stage.”  Jameson continued.

And it’s all true; the costumes are fit with intricate details that enjoyers of the show might recognize right away. All the costumes are made specifically with each character in mind; some people were even surprised to figure out that Squidward’s costume has all four of his legs, and Mr. Krabs’ costume included his big meaty claws!

Many would say that the costumes of this show are it’s particular strong suit out of everything– it’s a colorful show with colorful fabric.

“We made a wig (the great Charles LaPointe did all the wigs and hair) that felt like Ethan in shape and color. We give him a yellow gingham (squares!) shirt and plaid (squares!) pants. I also gave him Fluevog boots because they seemed like an off-center but groovy choice, and also had the shape/vibe of his cartoon shoes. In Chicago, Ethan had shorts on but given the crazy amount of climbing and acrobatics he does in the show we gave him pants that have a lot of stretch in them. They moved with him more and were more protective.” David Zinn explained the intricacies of Spongebob’s iconic outfit.

“I had the idea about the pink Hawaiian shirt pretty early. We kept looking at other things but that just kept feeling right. At one point he had a pink Baja hoodie too. He just seemed like an awesome stoner dude.” Zinn continues about Patrick, Spongebob’s best friend.

Continuing with Sandy’s costume design: “We tried a spacesuit on her but it didn’t seem very fun. Early on it seemed clear that we could do her helmet shape with an afro that felt very right and very cool for her. I thought a jumpsuit would be cooler than a space-suit, and easier for her to move around in. I looked again to the past- at a lot of Couregge, cool, space-y, vintage/modern. The jumpsuit is loosely based on a vintage Gaultier romper.”

Zinn goes into detail about every character’s costumes and early on designs, there’s even a fair amount of concept art, if you’re interested to see all of the finished costumes and what they mean, I recommend you take a read.

Another strong point in this musical is its bravery for adding such heavy topics into what is meant to be a kid’s show — having Spongebob deal with anxieties and self-esteem issues on top of his world seemingly coming to an abrupt end.

Ava Peabody, over at fordhamobserver.com, put her thoughts into words perfectly; “Although “SpongeBob” is generally designed for children, its worth should not be overlooked merely because of its intended audience: By situating topics like xenophobia, greed, and existential threat in an elementary environment like Bikini Bottom, the show can simultaneously introduce kids to difficult problems and remind adults about what really matters.”

“Spongebob,” as a show, is meant for people of all ages, giving sharp and witty humor and complex topics to older audience members, while delivering a fun and colorful show kids can learn from. The Musical does just that by giving us real-world commentary to think about while also reminding us of the power of community and working together in rough times to get through the day.

“The bold, original musical celebrates friendship, cooperation, and the power of unity and inclusion. The power of optimism really can save the world.” Jameson concluded their article with.

Even Squidward’s jazzy solo, “I’m Not a Loser” has a message it’s the character development of this show that really gets to you, Squidward wants to prove to himself that he’s not a loser or a failure, he then realizes that all of his friends care about him and that maybe he has more talent than he thought he did. Squidward comes to the conclusion that he’s not a waste of space and that he can do anything if he just puts his mind to it.

Spongebob’s want song; “(Just A) Simple Sponge” is another great example, Spongebob is longing for the chance to show Bikini Bottom what he can really do, even if no one really believes in him right away. Through this song, he realizes that he might not be the brains or the brawn, but he’s the heart of the team and that’s what matters to him more than being any manager could be.

In conclusion, this is a thoughtful show and I think every goofy goober out there should have the opportunity to give it a watch, or even rock out to some of the songs, you can find all of the original broadway cast songs on youtube, have a beautiful “Bikini Bottom Day”!