SpongeBob SquarePants, formerly titled The SpongeBob Musical, and also known as SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway/NEW Musical, is a musical stage production based on the series of the same name and the second SpongeBob live show following the musical adaptation of The Sponge Who Could Fly.
It premiered on June 7, 2016 and ran through July 10 at Chicago's Oriental Theatre. It premiered on Broadway at the Palace Theatre. Previews began on November 6, 2017 and opening night was December 4. The Broadway run of the show ended on September 16, 2018 The book is by Kyle Jarrow, with songs by various artists, and the Broadway production was co-conceived and directed by Tina Landau and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli.
SpongeBob SquarePants follows a day in the fictional underwater town of Bikini Bottom, where the citizens have just learned that a nearby volcano named Mount Humongous will erupt at sundown the next day. Amid the antics and fantasies of the community over the ensuing 24 hours, SpongeBob takes it upon himself to save the day and rescue his city from certain destruction.
Before the show begins, a pirate sits down on part of the stage as the audience is taking their seats. The pirate is revealed to be SpongeBob's number-one fan, Patchy, who has traveled from Encino, California to catch the premiere of SpongeBob's musical. Two actors dressed as security guards appear and tell Patchy to leave the stage, as the show is about to begin. Patchy objects, but the guards lead him out of the theater as Patchy claims that he is a victim of pirate discrimination sings the protest song "Yo Ho, We Won't Go." One of the security guards apologizes for the interruption, then tells the audience to enjoy the show.
In the opening number ("Bikini Bottom Day"), SpongeBob awakens and happily welcomes the day with his pet snail, Gary. He then walks onto the streets of Bikini Bottom and greets various friends (including his best friend Patrick, his next-door neighbor Squidward, and his boating school teacher Mrs. Puff, and even the guy on the left side of the stage providing all the live sound effects) as he walks to his workplace, the Krusty Krab.
At work, SpongeBob's boss, Mr. Krabs, tells his teenage sperm whale daughter, Pearl, that she will own the restaurant one day. Pearl, however, does not seem interested in the idea. SpongeBob hints that he would be happy to run the restaurant later on, but Mr. Krabs and Squidward laugh at the idea. Krabs tells SpongeBob that "he's just a simple sponge" and could not handle the position. The day continues uneventfully, until there is suddenly a violent tremor that rocks the entire town. Squidward wonders if this is something they should worry about.
The Krusty Krab is forced to close down for the day after the mayor of Bikini Bottom announces that all citizens should return to their homes. SpongeBob decides to visit Patrick instead. Patrick is upset over the emergency, so SpongeBob tries to cheer him up by listing activities they can do together and reiterating that they are best friends forever ("BFF"). The cheerful mood does not last long, as anchorman Perch Perkins soon appears on Patrick's television to give a dire report about the cause of the tremor from earlier ("No Control"). A nearby volcano is about to erupt, and it could spell doom for the entire town of Bikini Bottom. The town's residents take to the streets, demanding answers and solutions from the mayor, but all she can do is offer threat level color codes and vague information. With the town in a panic over the impending doom, married villains Plankton and Karen try to use the situation to their advantage. Plankton tries to convince the mayor and the townspeople to enter a vessel, saying that it will take them away from the volcano; once the residents are inside, he and Karen plan to hypnotize them into liking the chum that they serve at the Chum Bucket restaurant. Plankton explains his escape plan to the people ("When the Going Gets Tough"), without revealing his intention to hypnotize them.
The people of Bikini Bottom support Plankton's plan, except for Mr. Krabs, who suspects that Plankton is up to no good as usual. However, the town does not have the money to pay for the vessel to carry them to safety. Someone suggests they hold a last minute music concert to raise money for the transport. Squidward immediately has dreams of getting to perform the one-man show he has been working on, but he is immediately shouted down. Instead, Pearl suggests that they bring in the most famous rock band under the sea, the Electric Skates. Everyone backs this idea, and Squidward is named manager of the event rather than a performer. As for SpongeBob, he is against the idea of leaving town, and since Bikini Bottom is their home, he believes they should fight to save it. SpongeBob thinks back on Mr. Krabs' words from earlier that day, and wonders in song if he could really save the town ("Just a Simple Sponge"). He decides that he can think of a way to save the town with the help of his best friends, Patrick Star and Sandy Cheeks, especially since Patrick is big and strong and Sandy is smart. Together, the three could build a device that could stop the volcano. He rushes off to find his friends while the various townspeople are shown to handle the crisis in their own unique ways. Mr. Krabs, for example, decides to see the disaster as a money-making opportunity, holding an "apocalypse sale" on his signature fast food dish, Krabby Patties. Pearl worries about her father's obsession with money, believing that it overshadows his care for her ("Daddy Knows Best").
Meanwhile, SpongeBob has convinced Patrick and Sandy that they should team up, climb the volcano, and stop it from erupting with an invention Sandy will build. Sandy has smarts and Patrick has strength, but SpongeBob does not know what he can contribute. Regardless, the three friends are determined to succeed ("Hero Is My Middle Name"). Before they can set their plan into motion, however, a group of cultist sardines show up, wanting to speak to Patrick. They had heard him speak at the town meeting about what to do to save the town, and have found wisdom in his simple and often slow-witted thoughts. The sardines want to make Patrick their new guru, and will follow his every command ("Super Star Sea Savior"). Patrick likes the idea of people following him and decides to back out of SpongeBob's plan so that he can bask in self-glory. This angers SpongeBob, and the two friends have a fight, ending their "BFF" status. After Patrick leaves, Sandy tries to cheer up SpongeBob, reminding him that things are bound to be okay. As the first act closes, the entire company sings about their personal thoughts and feelings about the impending disaster, and what tomorrow will bring ("Tomorrow Is").
After an intermission, Patchy the Pirate again sneaks onstage. He tells the audience that pirates are persecuted by others because of stereotypes, and how people see them. He is joined by a group of pirates, and one baseball player (one of the Pittsburgh Pirates), for a song about how hard it is to be a pirate in today's world ("Poor Pirates"). Once again, security intervenes to chase Patchy and the others away, with Patchy vowing to return.
The second act officially begins with SpongeBob once again waking up, and greeting the day ("Bikini Bottom Day Reprise 2"). Today, however, is the day the volcano is expected to erupt, so it is not particularly a cheerful morning. As SpongeBob heads into town, he finds that the streets have fallen into anarchy and chaos, with the mayor appearing to employ a dictator-like rule over the people. Additionally, an angry mob, led by Old Man Jenkins, is searching for Sandy, as they blame her for the volcano (they are under the assumption that she knows much about volcanoes due to her scientific achievements). Sandy is able to hide from the angry mob, and when they are gone, she shows SpongeBob the device she has invented that will hopefully stop the eruption. It is a bomb-like device she calls the Eruptor Interrupter. They hope to successfully climb the volcano, throw it inside, and save the town. The two begin their journey up the mountain, and there are many signs warning them of danger. However, they both press on, not letting anything stand in their way.
Meanwhile, the Electric Skates rock band finally arrives. As their fans cheer them on, they perform their signature song ("Bikini Bottom Boogie") while skating around the stage. When they are done, Squidward asks if he may perform with them as an opening act. In return for a part, the band asks Squidward to get them an extremely long list of luxury items. Squidward is determined to find each item so that he can perform in front of all of Bikini Bottom. As for SpongeBob and Sandy, they are making their way up the mountain, but not without great difficulty. Sandy tries to lift their spirits by reminding them of what they have learned in karate class about never giving up, and does her best to keep their spirits up ("Chop to the Top"). When they stop to rest, SpongeBob cannot help but think of how he misses Patrick and wishes that he was there to help them. Down below in town, Patrick is finding life as a guru unexciting, and he misses SpongeBob as well ("(I Guess) I Miss You"). Patrick leaves his followers behind, rushing off to catch up with SpongeBob and Sandy.
Meanwhile, Squidward has succeeded in obtaining all but one of the items on the Electric Skates' list. Despite this impressive feat, the band goes back on their word and refuses to let him perform. Before leaving, the Electric Skates call Squidward a loser and decide not to perform at the concert. Now alone, Squidward insists that he is not a loser, as so many people seem to think. This brings about a fantasy sequence in which Squidward performs a show-stopping song and tap dance number with a back up chorus ("I'm Not a Loser").
Back on the mountain, SpongeBob and Sandy are experiencing even more difficulty as they get closer to the peak. At one point, the two friends find themselves separated when SpongeBob falls through a crack in the mountain. They reunite, but are threatened to be torn apart once again when SpongeBob starts to fall. In the nick of time, Patrick arrives wearing a jet pack (an invention of Sandy's), and saves his best friend from falling. The two renew their Best Friends Forever status, and the three continue to make their way up the mountain. When they finally reach the top of the volcano, neither Sandy nor Patrick can make it to the rim where they need to throw the device in to stop the eruption. They turn to SpongeBob, who doubts if he can help, since he doesn't have any special skills like his friends ("Just a Simple Sponge Reprise"). They remind him that it has been SpongeBob's cheerful determination and optimism that has gotten them this far, and that his purpose in the team is to keep morale high. With new determination, SpongeBob takes the Eruptor Interrupter and makes his way to the very rim, throwing it in. The volcano is not expected to erupt for another seven minutes, so they will have to wait until then to see if their plan worked. They head back down the mountain to tell their friends what has happened.
Back in Bikini Bottom, the entire city is in anarchy, with everyone turning against everyone else, blaming each another for what is about to happen. The band is gone, so there will be no concert and no vessel for which to escape. SpongeBob, Sandy and Patrick see the citizens' frantic panicking and try to calm everyone down. The three tell them that whatever happens, Bikini Bottom is their home, and they have each other. SpongeBob tries to lift everyone's spirits with his signature song ("Best Day Ever"), and it seems to work. Finally, the time has come for the volcano to erupt, and everyone braces for their deaths. The time passes without an eruption, signaling that the Eruptor Interrupter has worked. With Bikini Bottom safe, everyone decides that they should celebrate by having a new concert. Since there is no longer a band, they decide to make their own music. SpongeBob leads the entire cast in a rousing rendition of the show's main theme ("Bikini Bottom Day Reprise 3"). Even Patchy the Pirate joins in, as he descends from above on a rope, having finally managed to sneak into the show. After the cast takes their bows, they perform one last song ("SpongeBob SquarePants Theme Song") and everyone goes home for the evening.
In April 2018, Brandon Espinoza replaced Jon Rua as Patchy The Pirate.
Music composed by John Legend, Lady Antebellum, Aerosmith, T.I, Johnathan Coulton, Plain White T's, They Might Be Giants, David Bowie, Tom Kenny, and Sara Bareilles.
The only three songs that existed prior to the musical were "No Control," "Best Day Ever," and the SpongeBob SquarePants theme song. Of these three, "No Control" is the only one to not only have had no relation to SpongeBob when first published, but is also the only song in the musical to predate the SpongeBob franchise itself, being initially released in 1995 on David Bowie's concept album 1. Outside.
When Perch Perkins reports on the citizens of Bikini Bottom leaving, on one of the TV monitors, a fiddler on the roof is seen, a reference to musical of the same name. Afterwards, the citizens sing "Bikini-tevka", in reference to "Anatevka" from the same musical.
The show contains several nods to fan favorite episodes:
At the top of the show, SpongeBob says, "Good morning, world! And all who inhabit it," like he does in Missing Identity.
Gary is portrayed as a prop on a skateboard, similar to the one he rides in Rock-a-Bye Bivalve.
Before "BFF", SpongeBob tells Patrick that they can pass the time using their "Imaaaaaaaginaaaaaations", complete with the rainbow hand gesture, like in Idiot Box.
When Patrick finds out he has attracted a cult following of sardines, he says, "The inner machinations of my mind are an enigma," which is a classic quote from The Secret Box.
After Patrick abandons SpongeBob and Sandy for his cult, SpongeBob and Patrick have an argument, culminating in SpongeBob calling Patrick "Pink!" and Patrick calling SpongeBob "Yellow!", like in The Fry Cook Games.
When Plankton's cover is blown, Mr. Krabs calls Plankton a (dolphin chirp), which is bad word number eleven in Sailor Mouth.
At the end, when several Bikini Bottomites remark the different instruments they can play, Patrick raises his hand and asks, "Is mayonnaise an instrument?" like in Band Geeks.
When the Electric Skates show Squidward their list, the list is so long it unravels, and crashes into the orchestra pit, causing chaos among the musicians, one of whom spouts this classic sound bite My leg!(which is a recording from the show.)
In the original Chicago production, the French narrator was portrayed onstage by an actor while Gary's meows were portrayed by a prerecorded Tom Kenny. When the show moved to Broadway, the reverse happened: the French Narrator's lines were prerecorded by Kenny while an actor or actress provides Gary's meows.
In the Chicago production, Ethan Slater wore a cartoonish yellow wig as SpongeBob. When it transferred to Broadway, no wig was used, and Slater's natural red hair was used. The Chicago production also had Ethan sport the same clothes Spongebob wears in the cartoon with the addition of a yellow sweater vest to represent his square body, while the Broadway production has Ethan wear a yellow button down and longer pants, trading in his sweatervest for suspenders.
The Chicago production also has Patrick sporting his floral patterned shorts from the cartoon, but this was changed in the show's Broadway run.
Fred is shown in the Chicago production, appearing entirely different from his cartoon self. In the Broadway production, this character still stays but is not called "Fred" but rather a blue tang by the Mayor.
Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler & 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, T.I., Domani & Lil'C