Editor’s note: New York City presents amazing cultural opportunities to share with our families. We recently collaborated with Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical,” to take several NYC Dads Group members and their kids to the show (see photo above). Member Corbin Younger reviews this must-see musical.
I went with some trepidation to see SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical. My daughter actively dislikes SpongeBob SquarePants, the TV cartoon. On the other hand, she loves Broadway shows. I prepared her by showing her the online video previews of the show, encouraging her to give it a try.
As we entered the Palace Theatre in Times Square, resplendent with pink glitter and a beach theme, we were instantly transported to Bikini Bottom. The moment a pirate showed up on stage, posing as a SpongeBob groupie who security had to remove from the premises, it was clear this was going to be no ordinary show.
My daughter was laughing, dancing and shaking with delight throughout the performance. She was so impressed with the “BFF” song by Plain White T’s, as she is always talking about her own BFF. She was also enthralled with the singing of the actress who plays Pearl, whose dynamic range got the audience on their feet as she pleaded for her father to appreciate her more than the money he obsesses over.
When we left the show, my daughter declared it deserves five stars, a sentiment I wholeheartedly share! SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical is a remarkable and an unexpected delight. It’s touching, witty and features nuanced themes. Who would think you would root for a sponge to be a hero by finding his purpose in life?
David Zinn’s set and costume design for the show may be the most ambitious ever for a Broadway show. Wait until you see how they pull off a tap dancing squid! The songs are developed from many genres, including rock, folk, rap, gospel, country and even a good pirate ditty!
They love ‘SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical’
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical made us believers, and we are not the only ones. Here’s what some of the other NYC Dads Group members in attendance had to say:
- There was a moment during the show, my daughter’s first-ever Broadway musical, where I heard her go, “WHOA!” upon seeing actors with prop jellyfish coming down the aisles as the others sang and danced onstage. This is when I realized just how special a moment I’d just shared with her. She LOVED everything about the show and hasn’t stopped talking about it since we left. In particularly, she loved Sandy the Squirrel (Lilli Cooper) whose voice perfectly matched the gorgeous, fluorescent scenery and bouncy, captivating songs. We were so lucky to attend this event and are supremely grateful to the NYC Dads Group for making it happen. –– Lorne Jaffe
- The music, written by many of my favorite artists (Plain White T’s , Aerosmith, Panic at the Disco, Cyndi Lauper and more), was truly outstanding. My son and I were dancing in our seats. In fact, the tunes were so inspirational and memorable that our family was playing the soundtrack on our Alexa and singing along at the breakfast table the following morning! — Lance Somerfeld
- To say that SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical exceeded all expectations is not doing it justice. The Broadway show (unlike the Nickelodeon TV show), is clever, has memorable and meaningful songs, and wonderful actors who can pass as the human counterparts to the TV characters. There are very few quality children Broadway shows, and this is right up there with the likes of The Lion King and Aladdin. It is especially impressive because those shows come with built-in great stories, where the Broadway version of SpongeBob SquarePants seemed to take parts of multiple TV shows and create a fun and memorable 2 hours and 45 minutes. –– David Kleinman
Yes, this show is a lot of fun, but there was serious work put in to create a high-quality production. The soundtrack has evocative songs created by artists such as Sara Bareilles, David Bowie, They Might Be Giants and John Legend. Themes of immigration, friendship, family, empowerment, and overcoming adversity give this show a depth none of us expected. As SpongeBob SquarePants proudly sings, “I am not a simple sponge!”
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical can be appreciated by kids and adults of all ages. I expect this show to have a long run on Broadway.
Disclosure: The team at “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical” provided complimentary tickets for NYC Dads Group members to attend the show. The opinions expressed in this review are heartfelt, honest, 100 percent our own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Corbin Younger is a tutor and parent advocate, part-time writer and full-time dad to his 4-year-old daughter. He was previously a special education teacher for 20 years in Virginia and New York.