Thursday, November 30, 2017

Tom Kenny Gives 'SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical' A Big Thumbs Up

Bikini Bottom has arrived on Broadway.

Tom Kenny with SpongeBob SquarePants; Photo credit: FilmMagic

Opening Monday, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical boasts songs by John Legend, Cyndi Lauper, David Bowie and other heavy hitters, plus a number by a writing team most have never heard of: Andy Paley and Tom Kenny.

Turns out Kenny, 55, has voiced SpongeBob since the animated series' 1999 Nickelodeon debut. “It’s not like SpongeBob was handed off to a bunch of people, ‘Here, raise this baby,’ ” Kenny tells The New York Post, saying he and others on the TV show had a hand in the musical. Here’s what else he told The Post about life in a pineapple under the sea.

What was it like getting cast as a sponge?

I had done other animation and I had been in a lot of sketch comedy like Mr. Show With Bob and David on HBO . . . So, I was used to playing over-the-top, nutzo characters. I feel like that’s kind of where I live anyway . . . It wasn’t like I was at Juilliard doing Hamlet and suddenly I was SpongeBob.”

When did you first see the character?

[Creator Steve Hillenburg] took out his pitch bible for SpongeBob, which had drawings and personality paragraphs — personality breakdowns of the characters — and explained the show to me, and he said, “I’d like you play to SpongeBob. This guy.” It’s weird. I’m not a mystical person or a spiritual person at all, but I gotta say, I fell in love with it immediately. I don’t really think I’d had that feeling before, or since.

What’s it like keeping the show going?

One thing that I think has helped the SpongeBob franchise live is that the people that make the show are a pretty small group still. We recorded an episode yesterday, and I was like “Man, 20 years I’ve been going to work with these people!” We’re yucking it up and laughing, talking about each other’s kids.

What’s it like to watch another guy play SpongeBob?

Ever since I saw a preview of the show in Summer 2016 in Chicago, people have gone, “Wow! Is it weird for you to watch somebody else play SpongeBob?” And I’m like, I’m surprised at how not-weird it felt. I’m pretty possessive about SpongeBob. He’s my guy. [But] I realized that we’d done CGI versions of SpongeBob, stop-motion versions of SpongeBob. There’s theme park versions of SpongeBob who walk around in costumes. This is just the newest way to see SpongeBob.

SpongeBob SquarePants begun Broadway previews Monday, November 6th at the Palace Theatre on New York City's prestigious Broadway, before officially opening on Monday, December 4th.

To purchase tickets the SpongeBob SquarePants Broadway musical, visit, or call 877-250-2929.

Full information about the The SpongeBob Musical can be found on the productions official website,! #SpongeBobBway.

SpongeBob SquarePants - The New Musical Original Cast Recording is available to purchase today at

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