The SpongeBob Musical, review – Making a Splash in Chicago

An underwater delight has taken over Broadway in Chicago’s Oriental Theatre. The SpongeBob Musical, which opened its Pre-Broadway World Premiere on June 19 and runs through July 10, is a feel good musical the entire family can enjoy.  From the big sets and colorful costumes to the fun songs and entertaining characters, The SpongeBob Musical has something for everyone and will have you smiling and laughing out loud.


Bringing a cartoon to life is not an easy feat, but the cast and creative team did just that. The cast, which includes many big name Broadway stars, did some extraordinary character study that showed on stage. As the title role, Ethan Slater is a true triple threat in the surprisingly physical part. He was able to not only make you think you were watching a live version of the cartoon, but sings and dances wonderfully during the demanding songs written for him. Without a talented SpongeBob, the whole show would fall flat, but Slater delivers in this high energy and goofy role. SpongeBob’s female counterpart, Sandy Cheeks, the underwater squirrel, is played by Lilli Cooper. Cooper, who rarely disappoints, brought the southern charm and smarts to Sandy and again proves what an excellent singer she is.

Other notable characters, Plankton and Karen the Computer, portrayed hilariously by Nick Blaemire and Stephanie Hsu, and Squidward performed by Tony Nominee, Gavin Lee. As Squidward, Lee seemed to be stifled in a lackluster part during the beginning of the show. However, during the 11 o’clock number, Lee truly shines in the “Rose's Turn” style lament that had the audience begging for more.


This talented cast had plenty to help enhance their performances thanks to the exceptional creative team. The colorful, immense, industrial design of the set and the creative projections really brought life to the stage. Designed by David Zinn and Peter Nigrini respectively, the show was greatly enhanced by the imaginative way these two formed Bikini Bottom and all that goes with it. A favorite moment of mine was when “boulders” fell from the mountain via a well crafted and fun to watch maze from the ceiling to the floor. Zinn and Nigrini’s designs were enhanced by the fun and funny sound effects that happened throughout the show and remarkably resembled the sounds heard while watching SpongeBob on TV.

With original songs from a variety of your favorite singers, and the innovation that went into creating The SpongeBob Musical, this big, bright and funny show has a lot to offer its audiences and should not be missed while in Chicago. For performance schedules and ticket information, please visit the Sponge Bob Musical website  or  BroadwayinChicago.    


Photos provided by: Broadway In Chicago

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