Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Nickelodeon Premieres 'The SpongeBob Musical: Live On Stage!'

SATURDAY, DEC. 7, AT 7:00 P.M. (ET/PT)

SpongeBob SquarePants Voice Actor Tom Kenny Appears in Special as “Patchy the Pirate”

Follow SPONGEBOB: @TheSpongeBobMusical @SpongeBob @Nickelodeon

(l-r) Danny Skinner (Patrick Star), Ethan Slater (SpongeBob SquarePants), Christina Sajous (Sandy Cheeks) in “The SpongeBob Musical: Live on Stage!”. Photo credit © Alex Bailey/Nickelodeon

NEW YORK—Nov. 19, 2019—Nickelodeon today announced that following a critically lauded run on Broadway, The SpongeBob Musical: Live On Stage!, which reunites members of the original award-winning Broadway company, will simulcast on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 7:00 p.m. (ET/PT) across Nickelodeon, TeenNick, Nicktoons and Nick Jr. Joining the cast is veteran SpongeBob SquarePants voice actor Tom Kenny as “Patchy the Pirate,” performing the original Sara Bareilles song “Poor Pirates.” The SpongeBob Musical: Live On Stage! was filmed for television in front of a live theater audience, capturing all-new depths of theatrical innovation, where the power of optimism really can save the world.

Update (12/11) - The ratings for the premiere of The SpongeBob Musical: Live On Stage! on Saturday, Dec. 7, simulcast over Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, TeenNick and Nick Jr. totaled 1.359 million total viewers from 7-9:30 p.m.!

P18-49 Rating: 0.24
P2+ (000s): 1,058

P18-49 Rating: 0.24
P2+ (000s): 826

Nick Jr.:
P18-49 Rating: 0.06
P2+ (000s): 216

P18-49 Rating: 0.01
P2+ (000s): 84

P18-49 Rating: 0.01
P2+ (000s): 47

Update (12/8) - If you missed The SpongeBob Musical: Live On Stage!, or just want to rewatch it again and again, it is now available for purchase on Amazon Prime Video, here!

“I’ve had a blast portraying live-action suburban buccaneer and President of the SpongeBob SquarePants Fan Club, ‘Patchy the Pirate,’ since the character’s first appearance in season two of SpongeBob SquarePants way back in 2000,” said Kenny. “I loved The SpongeBob Musical, and I was thrilled to be included in it both in pre-recorded (‘French Narrator’) and songwriter (‘Best Day Ever’) forms! But to now have the opportunity to actually step onstage and perform alongside members of the original Broadway production is truly a unique honor. It’s ‘meta times ten,’ and I think Nickelodeon’s audience will really get a kick out of it!”

Today, Nickelodeon also revealed a first look of the special, where the stakes are higher than ever, as SpongeBob and all of Bikini Bottom face the potential of 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 and takes center stage.

The SpongeBob Musical: Live On Stage! cast will include Ethan Slater as SpongeBob SquarePants, Gavin Lee as Squidward Q. Tentacles, Danny Skinner as Patrick Star, Brian Ray Norris as Eugene Krabs, Wesley Taylor as Sheldon Plankton, Christina Sajous as Sandy Cheeks and Tom Kenny as ‘Patchy the Pirate’. The ensemble will include Kyle Hamilton, Katie Lee Hill, Curtis Holbrook, Jesse JP Johnson, L’ogan J’ones, Jai’len Josey, Kelvin Moon Loh, Lauralyn McClelland, Vasthy Mompoint, Bryonha Marie Parham, Oneika Phillips, Jon Rua, JC Schuster, Abby C. Smith, Robert Taylor Jr., and Allan Washington.

Adapted from the beloved Nickelodeon series, the Broadway musical was hailed by The New York Times as “brilliant,” and “effervescent candy-for-the-spirit” by New York Magazine. This new musical earned its place on 2017’s “Best of Broadway” lists, including, BuzzFeed, Chicago Tribune, The Daily Beast, Deadline, ET Online, Forbes, Time Out New York and Variety.

Named Best Musical by the Drama Desk Awards and Outer Critics Circle, and earned 12 Tony Award nominations – the most nominated musical of the 2017-2018 theatre season – winning for Best Scenic Design of a Musical (David Zinn).

Acclaimed Steppenwolf director Tina Landau and the groundbreaking designers behind Fun Home, Hedwig, and Spring Awakening have brilliantly reimagined Bikini Bottom for the Broadway stage, on tour, and now for television, bringing the spirit of SpongeBob to life with humanity, heart, and pure theatricality. With an original score from some of the biggest names in pop and rock, The SpongeBob Musical: Live On Stage! explodes with energy.

The SpongeBob Musical: Live On Stage! is a musical production conceived and directed for the stage by Tina Landau, book by Kyle Jarrow, orchestrations, arrangements & music supervision by Tom Kitt, with choreography by Christopher Gattelli, produced for television by Austin Shaw, and directed by Glenn Weiss. Nickelodeon’s Vice Presidents Paul J Medford and Susan Vargo serve as executive producers, alongside Senior Vice President of Music & Talent Doug Cohn and is executive produced and overseen by Executive Vice President of Unscripted and Live Events Rob Bagshaw.

This one-of-a-kind television musical event features original songs by Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles, Jonathan Coulton, Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Flaming Lips, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper, Rob Hyman, John Legend, Panic! At The Disco, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants, and T.I. (Clifford Harris, Jr.), Domani Harris, and Darwin Quinn, and additional songs by David Bowie, and by Tom Kenny and Andy Paley. Additional lyrics by Jonathan Coulton. Additional music by Tom Kitt. Along with “The SpongeBob Theme Song” by Derek Drymon, Mark Harrison, Stephen Hillenburg, and Blaise Smith.

The design team includes scenic and costume design by David Zinn, lighting design by Kevin Adams, projection design by Peter Nigrini, sound design by Walter Trarbach, hair and wig design by Charles G. LaPointe and casting by Telsey + Company/Patrick Goodwin, CSA.

Prior to making his on-stage debut, Patchy takes a fun-filled journey through the world of SpongeBob SquarePants’ best musical moments during the original special SpongeBob SquarePants: Patchy’s Playlist, premiering Sat., Nov. 30, at 11:30 a.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon. During the special, Patchy highlights fan-favorite songs of the animated series, including “Ripped Pants,” “The F.U.N. Song,” “Sweet Victory,” and more.

In addition, SpongeBob’s number one fan Patchy the Pirate appears in five original short-form videos leading up to the premiere of The SpongeBob Musical: Live on Stage! In each, he goes behind-the-scenes, interviewing principal cast members and checking out the production, while trying to score a ticket to the big show. Catch Patchy on Nickelodeon Monday, Dec. 2 through Friday, Dec. 6.

The Original Cast Recording is available now from Masterworks Broadway wherever music is sold and streamed.

The SpongeBob Musical is now on tour across North America.

(l-r) Danny Skinner, Gavin Lee, Ethan Slater. Photo credit © Alex Bailey/Nickelodeon

Tom Kenny as “Patchy the Pirate” with cast members of “The SpongeBob Musical: Live on Stage!”. Photo credit © Alex Bailey/Nickelodeon

Ethan Slater and the cast of “The SpongeBob Musical: Live on Stage!”. Photo credit © Alex Bailey/Nickelodeon

Katie Lee Hill, Ethan Slater, Tom Kenny, Brian Ray Norris. Photo credit © Alex Bailey/Nickelodeon

Ethan Slater and the cast of “The SpongeBob Musical: Live on Stage!”. Photo credit © Alex Bailey/Nickelodeon

Since its launch July 17, 1999, SpongeBob SquarePants has reigned as the number-one kids’ animated series on TV for the last 17 years, while generating a universe of beloved characters, pop culture catchphrases and memes, theatrical releases, consumer products, a Tony award-winning Broadway musical and a global fan base. SpongeBob SquarePants is the most widely distributed property in Viacom International Media Networks history, seen in more than 170 countries, translated in 30+ languages, and averaging more than 140 million total viewers every quarter. SpongeBob SquarePants is created by Stephen Hillenburg and produced by Nickelodeon in Burbank, Calif. The character-driven cartoon chronicles the nautical and sometimes nonsensical adventures of SpongeBob, an incurably optimist and earnest sea sponge, and his undersea friends.

About Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon, now in its 40th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The brand includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, location based experiences, publishing and feature films. For more information or artwork, visit Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB).

From the Los Angeles Times:

The SpongeBob SquarePants musical is airing on TV. Why theaters are thrilled

“The SpongeBob Musical: Live on Stage!” reunites most of its original Broadway cast and will be shown Dec. 7 across Nickelodeon’s channels. (Nickelodeon)

On Sept. 16, 2018, Ethan Slater braced himself for the final performance of “SpongeBob SquarePants.” The Nickelodeon musical had been open on Broadway for nine months, and it received generally positive reviews and 12 Tony Award nominations. But the Palace Theatre was closing for multiyear renovations, forcing the undersea spectacle to shutter as well.

That last audience was filled with devout fans, some who had seen the show dozens of times. Families had flown in from out of town, millennials came dressed in cartoon costumes. And before anything had really begun, they were all on their feet and cheering loudly at the entry of foley artist Mike Dobson, who performed hundreds of sound effects that animated the actors onstage.

Backstage, Slater — who portrays the porous, persistently optimistic sponge — was moved to tears.

“Even though he wasn’t visible on the Broadway stage, the foley was such a quintessential part of the show,” he recalled of Dobson, who was in the orchestra pit. “It was this perfect moment when I realized that even though we were closing, our audience had understood what we were doing. It ended up being like that for the whole show, full of these beautiful little realizations that this was the last time we were gonna perform this.”

Or so he thought. Last month, the cast and creative team reunited for “The SpongeBob Musical: Live on Stage!” which will simulcast at 7 p.m. Saturday across Nickelodeon, TeenNick and Nicktoons. The airing is part of the yearlong celebration of the 20th anniversary of “SpongeBob SquarePants,” created by the late Stephen Hillenburg.

“This is something that deserves a wider audience, so we absolutely wanted to film it in whatever way we could,” said Rob Bagshaw, Nickelodeon’s executive vice president of unscripted and live events. “‘SpongeBob’ has always been at the forefront of many of our tentpole characters, and the fact that it’s an existing title made it obvious for our first project. We love the results, and we’d like to do more.”

“The SpongeBob Musical” sets to song the sincere simplicities of the long-running series. (Nickelodeon)

Like the many entries into the “live musical event” space — whether airing on network television or broadcast to movie theaters through National Theatre Live — the upcoming “SpongeBob Musical” aims to make theater accessible to a new audience.

“Even though our show always had affordable options when it was on Broadway, if you live in Kansas, a $35 ticket to the show also comes with a round-trip plane ticket,” Slater said. “As a young person who didn’t grow up in New York, this would’ve meant a lot to me. I hope this will inspire a new generation of theatergoers, who aren’t close to Broadway, to check out regional productions or tours.”

Nickelodeon’s presentation less resembles the offerings from NBC, Fox and ABC than those from PBS, Netflix and BroadwayHD. “The SpongeBob Musical” will be captured and edited for an airing rather than broadcast live. Most of these pretaped titles do not air — or, sometimes, are not even announced — until after the original stage show has closed, possibly as a cautionary move to not cannibalize ticket sales.

Recently, that unofficial rule was broken when Netflix announced that Mike Birbiglia’s one-man Broadway show “The New One” would premiere on the streaming platform in a month’s time. Netflix made the announcement just before the tour began its month-long stop at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. CTG producing director Douglas C. Baker didn’t think the Netflix news negatively affected ticket sales.

“If anything, it raised the profile of the production and brought us the attention of a lot of people who wouldn’t have otherwise known about us,” he said in a statement. “We are working in a crowded entertainment market, so any opportunity to introduce new audiences to the theater is priceless. Hopefully we hooked them on the live theater experience and will be seeing them back at Center Theatre Group for future productions.”

But if TV audiences nationwide can watch “The SpongeBob Musical” from the comfort of home and through a service for which they already have paid, will they buy tickets to the touring version of the Broadway show, now on the road and coming to the Dolby Theatre in L.A. in the spring?

Pantages’ general manager, Jeff Loeb, whose company is bringing “SpongeBob” to the Dolby, is throwing his full support behind the airing.

“We have seen our fans enthusiastically engage on social media whenever a musical is aired on television, and for fans of musical theater, seeing the show once and only once is never enough,” he said in a statement. “Being able to see a live capture performance on television or in a movie theater gives fans additional opportunities to enjoy the art form they love. It is also a great way for patrons who may not have been able to travel to Broadway to see the show prior to seeing it locally at the Dolby Theatre. Live broadcasts are a win-win for everyone.”

Bagshaw said that Nickelodeon supports both endeavors equally and that the airing might encourage viewers to buy tickets to the “SpongeBob” tour. Tina Landau — who directed the show on Broadway, on tour and on-screen with seasoned awards show helmer Glenn Weiss — is OK with the concurrency, as long as the show is being seen in some way.

“For me, this show was, and continues to be, a vessel of joy and hope and optimism,” Landau said. “It has been nothing but a gift that we all want to give and share with audiences, and however we do that works for me.”

Ethan Slater, behind the scenes of “The SpongeBob Musical” with director Tina Landau, plays the beloved sponge. (Alex Baily)

What “The SpongeBob Musical” does have going for it over network television’s other live musical events is the luxury of time. This is the taping of a production that was created over a decade, and it features most of the entire original cast, who spent years developing their characters and played them for Broadway audiences eight times a week for nine months. They bring the brand’s beloved cartoon characters to life without wearing the theme-park bodysuits.

Slater, who perfected his personification of SpongeBob over six years, spends the entire show dressed in a gingham yellow shirt, skinny red tie and brown plaid pants. He evokes SpongeBob through a high-pitched, nasal voice and a zippy head-to-toe physicality. He even added some new bits for the taping — an extra backflip here, a riskier trick fall there.

“Ethan had some incredible moves and facial expressions that we really took advantage of with a close-up, to accentuate moments and really bring it home on TV,” said Weiss, who directed the telecast. “It’s like the cartoon, which you’re not watching from a faraway seat. It always zooms in on his eyes, so we wanted to do that too.”

During the two-day shoot at the Theatre Royal Plymouth in England, Weiss and Landau worked together to capture as many design elements as possible: the intricate ensemble formations in "(Just a) Simple Sponge.” The apocalyptic lighting design in “No Control.” The invaluable work of foley artist Dobson, now primely positioned in a visible corner of David Zinn’s vibrant, Tony-winning scenic design.

To make the show work for a television schedule, Landau and book writer Kyle Jarrow had to identify spots for commercial breaks and trim the script by about 15 minutes. The latter was a tougher task, because every song is composed by a different songwriter — among them David Bowie, Sara Bareilles, John Legend, Yolanda Adams, and Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith.

“I always felt like the Broadway version was too long, but I didn’t know how to get those minutes before we opened,” Landau said. “I was so happy with how we ended up doing it because rather than cutting any whole songs, we did small nips and tucks and somehow got it down for the time. Coming back to this with a little distance, it was like, ‘We don’t need that favorite joke of mine.’”

The musical draws on SpongeBob’s biggest ambition in the series: to manage the Krusty Krab.

With 20 years of brand recognition on its side, “The SpongeBob Musical” sets the sincere simplicities of the series to song. SpongeBob belts out about his dream to manage the Krusty Krab; its greedy owner, Mr. Krabs (Brian Ray Norris), wails of his love of money. The pessimism of Squidward (Gavin Lee) manifests in a spectacular tap-dance number that uses his numerous tentacles and comes complete with a clarinet solo. And starfish Patrick (Danny Skinner) wonders, with all his might, what words rhyme with “rock.”

Instead of being based on any particular episode, “The SpongeBob Musical” features an original story line: A fatal volcano eruption is on the horizon, invoking sheer pandemonium among the residents of Bikini Bottom. Science-minded squirrel Sandy (Christina Sajous) calls it a symptom of “tidal warming.” She’s scapegoated as an outsider and told to go back where she came from. A dictator-like mayor eggs it all on.

The musical has become all too prescient, noted Landau.

“From the beginning, the story was always about the end of the world and how approaching danger can turn a society or a community in on itself,” she said. “That just became more a mirror of what seems to be happening in the world, as time went on. It was interesting how increasingly political and timely it became without our ever working towards that as a goal.”

According to Slater, its applicability is what makes it so fit for a television broadcast. “Unfortunately, the themes of xenophobia and climate disaster are always relevant,” he said. “But there’s a broader consciousness and a larger discussion about these things now, so it’s a great time for it to be on TV and reach a wider audience.”


The SpongeBob Musical Sketch to Stage

SpongeBob is coming to life -- on stage! Don't miss The SpongeBob Musical: Live On Stage! this Saturday at 7p/6c!


Tina Landau Returns to Bikini Bottom to Bring Her SpongeBob Musical to Nickelodeon

Landau restages her Broadway show with its original cast for an upcoming TV broadcast.

Tina Landau was shocked when she heard that Nickelodeon wanted to bring her longtime labor of love, The SpongeBob Musical, to the small screen. Landau conceived and directed the innovative production on Broadway (then titled SpongeBob SquarePants) and earned one of the show's 12 Tony nominations for her work. But after it closed — owing, at least in part, to construction in and around the Palace Theatre — she never imagined the world at large will get to see her brainchild in all its glory.

"Nickelodeon was very determined to have this be a gift that would be part of the holiday season," Landau says of the December 7 broadcast, which reunited all but three members of the original Broadway company for a taping that took place before two live audiences last month in Plymouth, England. But it all happened very quickly.

"When our lead producer came to me with the idea and asked if it was possible, I said, 'No, it's in no way possible,'" recalls Landau, but somehow it all came together thanks to the hard work of a very dedicated company and crew. "God bless the tons of folks who worked round the clock to replicate and adjust and build from scratch the set and the costumes and the props, because it was a lot of work in a very short time."

Where did you begin when Nickelodeon asked you and your collaborators to rebuild the stage production for TV?

We knew we could not re-create what we did at the Palace Theatre. That would be virtually impossible because it was so specific to that space and it took so long to construct. I knew this had to be some kind of hybrid that would be part of what we did at the Palace and on tour. There were things that were very important to me to have that we do not have on tour, like the passerelle that goes around the front of the stage, but there were also things I discovered from the tour that were beneficial to the show. That included some cuts and putting the Foley artist onstage, which I really love. So I conceived it as a third version, for this specific theater and under the constraints we had.

You have two hours on TV, but the show runs around two-and-a-half hours, including the intermission. How hard was it to kill your darlings in an effort to fit the timeslot?

Kyle Jarrow, the book writer, and I knew immediately that we didn't want to cut any whole plot line or song or character, so we committed to the idea of taking a little of this and a little of that, slowly over time and throughout rehearsal. It was a constant process of "What if that verse came out of this song?" Almost everything has trims in it, but the show still stands and represents itself.

The one thing I didn't want was to give them something that was too long and then someone else would edit it. I always wanted the Broadway show to be 10 minutes shorter, but I didn't know how to do it at the time. When I readied the tour, which was in August, I made six or seven minutes of cuts to strengthen the show. [For television], we've cut 16 minutes of the Broadway show, which was really hard but such a great exercise. Yes, all these things are your favorite moments or jokes, but the show is stronger without some of them.

All but three members of the original Broadway cast have been reassembled for the taping. What was it like to get back in the rehearsal room and dig into the show once again?

It felt like this raucous cocktail party. The first couple days of rehearsal, I felt like I was a scolding schoolteacher because all I was asking them to do was calm down and be quiet. They've all become such close friends and they're all besties outside of the show. They were so happy and hyped to be together, because, as Ethan said to me recently, they see each other all the time, but not all together.

I will say that there was something about how they all feel about the show, the fact that we had to close, and the fact that they had this time away, that have made their performances and understanding of the material actually deepen. There were shadings in performances that I feel only found expression because they had been through this experience of saying goodbye and missing each other.

Will the massive Rube Goldberg machines of David Zinn's Broadway set be there to shoot "boulders" onstage?
Sadly, no, the Rube Goldberg machines in their full form will not be there. Those were the hardest things to build and install for Broadway. They took many, many months of research and engineering, and I don't imagine those could ever be replicated other than in a very long sit-down production somewhere. Even though I'm sad to miss certain elements — the Rube Goldbergs, particularly — I have learned that the show still holds up. It's OK. There are other ways to deliver balls. [laughs]

It's really badass that Nickelodeon is airing this musical about global warming and catastrophe over the holiday season.
What makes me very happy is that you interpret it as such! My favorite way of thinking about it is, I'm very happy Nickelodeon is airing a musical about the power of imagination, and yes, global warming, and also community and otherness and fearmongering, all those things. But the kernel of this musical was an episode of the series called "Idiot Box," where Patrick and SpongeBob get a box with a TV in it, and they throw out the TV so they could play with the box. Isn't it great that we're doing a musical about throwing out the TV and playing with the box, on TV?



Kelvin Moon Loh on Having a Ball in Beetlejuice, Panicking About the SpongeBob Film & More

Kelvin Moon Loh can currently be seen as Otho in Beetlejuice on Broadway. Previously appearing in SpongeBob SquarePants, Loh recently returned to Bikini Bottom to film the musical for its upcoming premiere on Nickelodeon. Loh stopped by's #LiveatFive to talk with Beth Stevens about going from Bikini Bottom to the Netherworld, his love for Sutton Foster and more.

Growing up in Long Island, Loh was always fascinated with musical theater, especially a certain two-time Tony winner. "I knew I loved musicals but I didn't know I wanted to do them," he said. "Sutton Foster's performance of 'Forget About the Boy' at the Tony Awards for Thoroughly Modern Millie did it for me. I just looped it over and over again. When I moved to NYU, I saw her walking her dog once, but I didn't scream after her. We eventually met at the Side Show opening night party, and it was everything. I could talk about Sutton Foster for the rest of the night."

Now, Loh is on stage playing a life guru, opposite Leslie Kritzer's Delia, to a packed house nightly. "Leslie Kritzer doesn't need any guidance in real life, but on stage I get the pleasure to pretend as if I'm actually giving her advice throughout the entire show," he said. "The thing that's most surprising is how much Beetlejuice has thrived. These last couple months as been insane, just this past week we surpassed the Winter Garden box office record. We continue to see our audiences grow and grow and grow. We're sold out nearly every night."

Only one month separates Loh closing SpongeBob on Broadway to his appearing in the world premiere engagement of Beetlejuice in Washington, D.C. and he has director Alex Timbers, with whom he previously worked on Here Lies Love, to thank. "I could see the writing on the wall for SpongeBob because I'm a dirty Broadway performer and read all the chat rooms and message boards," he said. "So after they told us our really successful, amazing show had to close, I started texting my agent. Beetlejuice was previously off the table for me contract-wise, and I told them to not forget about it. I emailed Alex [Timbers] and he said, 'I'm out of town doing Moulin Rouge!, but, of course, I would love to see you for the role of Otho.' I sent him a video that night, and he got back to me in a week. Without ever having to walk into the room, I booked it. It's pretty crazy."

Loh recently took a break from Beetlejuice to film The SpongeBob Musical: Live on Stage with most of the show's original Broadway cast. "We filmed it in front of an audience in London, and they loved it the same way it was loved in New York," he said. "The day SpongeBob closed, I hit a flush button and forgot everything. To be called a couple months later and be told that we're doing it again made me go into a full-on panic because I had no recollection. Everyone says it's muscle memory, but that doesn't work for somebody that has very little muscle. But once you're in the room with everyone again, there is an emotional attachment to certain moments. I think it must have worked out in the end. It felt good to go back."

See Loh in Beetlejuice, playing at the Winter Garden Theatre

Watch the full #LiveatFive interview [here]!


SpongeBob Musical'S Ethan Slater and Tina Landau Tease Why Saturday Will Be Nickelodeon's Best Day Ever!

Are ya ready kids? We hope so, because Nickelodeon is taking a deep dive to Bikini Bottom this Saturday as is airs The SpongeBob Musical: Live On Stage! (7pm EST).

Acclaimed Steppenwolf director Tina Landau and the groundbreaking designers behind Fun Home, Hedwig, and Spring Awakening have brilliantly reimagined Bikini Bottom for the Broadway stage, on tour, and now for television, bringing the spirit of SpongeBob to life with humanity, heart, and pure theatricality. With an original score from some of the biggest names in Pop and rock, The SpongeBob Musical: Live On Stage! explodes with energy.

"I got the call out of the blue that Nickelodeon wanted to do it. They were sad that they hadn't gotten to do it at the Palace Theatre," Tina told BroadwayWorld. "We all feel so strongly about the message of joy, optimism, and community that this show carries within it. The chance to share it with more people who have not been exposed to it was a real gift."

The television event reunites much of the original Broadway cast, including Ethan Slater, who earned his first Tony nomination for his portrayal of the title character in 2018. "It was like a family reunion," Ethan explained. "It was a nerve-racking experience too, because we've been away from it for a little while. But we're coming back and doing it in a way that is going to reach more people than we were able to on Broadway... so the stakes were high! But fortunately, we had each other and Tina, and this amazing creative team. It became a really artistically fulfilling experience again to remount it. We got to approach it differently, which was really exciting. I think that will be felt. There is new depth to it that we got to infuse because of our time away."

How will the world of Bikini Bottom, which was recreated this fall in London, be transformed for TV? "It's not what was at the Palace Theatre, because one could never replicate that exactly," says Landau, "But it is a good version that was created anew by all of the designers who originally worked on the show. I feel like it represents and speaks to exactly what the production is."

"What has always happened with this show, no matter how skeptical someone might be, the second it begins and they enter our world, they are somewhat converted. I look forward to that experience of discovery for a huge TV audience," said Tina.

Watch the full conversation with Ethan and Tina as they give BroadwayWorld the inside scoop on the special. Don't forget to tune in on Saturday, December 7, at 7pm (ET/PT) to watch The SpongeBob Musical: Live On Stage!

Watch now!


More Nick: 'The SpongeBob Musical' National Tour Announces Cast & Dates!

Originally published: Tuesday, November 19, 2019 at 18:12 GMT.

H/T: Deadline; Additional source: Broadway World (II); Ratings sources: Nickandmore!, Showbuzz Daily.
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