Friday, March 27, 2020

Feeling Anxious? You Should Be Streaming 'The SpongeBob Musical: Live on Stage!'

"I think the world needs a SpongeBob musical" - Tina Landau, co-conceiver and director of The SpongeBob Musical.

Are you at home and missing Broadway? Are you feeling worried about the future? Now is the perfect time to watch SpongeBob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical, which is currently available on Amazon Prime Video.

SpongeBob Squarepants, which played Broadway in 2017, was later filmed live, and it is the perfect show to watch right now. It's about optimism in the face of possible destruction - a very topical topic. It's about finding comfort in the people, or sea creatures, that you love. It's about how to put on a five-minute tap number. So, if you're wondering how to get through this trying time, Bikini Bottom has the answers. Here are some lessons you can take from SpongeBob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical.

Look at the Bright Side

In the SpongeBob musical (conceived by director Tina Landau with a book by Kyle Jarrow and featuring original music by a wide array of artists including Sara Bareilles, Cyndi Lauper, David Bowie and John Legend), the undersea town of Bikini Bottom is in danger. The volcano Mount Humongous is about to erupt, threatening to destroy Bikini Bottom and the sea creatures who live there. The mayor tells everyone to stay indoors (sound familiar?). Panic ensues as citizens look for someone to blame, and Sheldon J. Plankton (Wesley Taylor) tries to exploit them all for his own financial benefit. (This is all hitting close to home, isn't it?) Their fight threatens to destroy Bikini Bottom before the volcano does, leading Sandy Cheeks (Christina Sajous) to say, “You all are so scared for yourselves that you’re turning against each other. And that’s just as dangerous as any volcano.” In times of crisis, fear and blame are not the answer. The best thing to do is stay calm and band together (via Zoom perhaps?), which leads me to my next point.

No Sponge Is an Island

What is a simple sponge supposed to do in such frightening times? Ever the optimist, SpongeBob (Ethan Slater) runs to comfort his friends Patrick Star (Danny Skinner) and Sandy, telling them, “I’m stuck with you, so I’m as happy as can be.” They then hatch a plan to help save Bikini Bottom. I won’t spoil what happens here, but SpongeBob shows that in a crisis, we must turn to our friends for support. Just like SpongeBob, Patrick and Sandy can’t save Bikini Bottom without each other; we all need to lend a (metaphorical) hand if we’re going to get through this. So, if you’re feeling like a lonely sponge, FaceTime your friends and sing “BFF” together.

Remember to Dance

The highlight of Act II is Squidward Q. Tentacles’ four-legged tap number, “I’m Not a Loser.” Squidward spends most of the musical caught up in cynicism and negativity, and the first time he truly smiles is when he’s dancing (and Gavin Lee tapping with a chorus line of sea anemone is sure to makes you smile, too). In the song, he tells himself he’s not a loser and “that I am not all alone.” When you’re feeling sad and stuck, it’s important to find joy in the little things. So, by all means, sing out and do a little dance...or if you have four legs, do a five-minute tap number.

Make Today the Best Day Ever

Toward the end of SpongeBob, the inhabitants of Bikini Bottom don’t know if they’re going to live or die. That uncertainty certainly feels familiar right now. How does SpongeBob cheer everyone up and bring them back together as a community? He sings the song “Best Day Ever,” which includes the lyrics:

But when I'm feeling down
I can lose that frown
Just stick my head out the window and look around
Lava doesn't scare me, it can't disguise
This magic that's happening right before my eyes
Whatever comes, there's just one thing to do
Make the best day ever with all of you
Today's the best day ever with all of you now

Who knows what’s going to happen five minutes from now? What SpongeBob encourages all of us to do is to live in the present moment, and take stock of all that we do have: the sun is shining, our loved ones are just a call away, and we have a closet full of toilet paper. Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but we can try to make today “the best day ever.”

If you don't feel like streaming the whole show, The Original Cast Recording album is also available now from Masterworks Broadway wherever music is sold and streamed:

As two treats in these certain times:

- As each track has been released on YouTube by Sony Music, I've collated each track into one big blog:

- I've created one giant YouTube playlist featuring every track featured on The Original Cast Recording! Check it out below:

More Nick: Nickelodeon Launches #KidsTogether--A Global Prosocial Initiative to Help Kids and Families Stay Informed and Engaged With Activities; Noggin to be Offered Free to Kids in Need in Partnership with National Head Start Association and First Book

Based on an article published by Broadway Buzz.
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