NEW YORK — The optimistic sea sponge many have come to love has transported his undersea home to Broadway.
"Spongebob Squarepants" splashes onto the Great White Way, with its first preview at the Palace Theater. This time, what starts out as the “Best Day Ever” quickly changes when Bikini Bottom is threatened by a volcano. The whole community comes together to figure out how to save their town.
"We’re fish and we’re sponges, but it's really this human-rounded show about community," said Ethan Slater, who's making his Broadway debut as the title character.
Conceived and directed by Tina Landau, the musical features original songs from artists including Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, Sara Bareilles, John Legend and David Bowie, to name a few.
"The show itself is such a mash up of characters and visual references. We’ve planted a lot of easter eggs and things that they will know that I think they will take great delight in," Tina Landau said.
Tony Award-winning composer Tom Kitt gelled them together to make a cohesive score and Broadway vet Christopher Gattelli’s dances bring the show to life.
"At the end, I mean its like a party for the whole audience," said Gavin Lee, who plays Squidward, Spongebob's ornery neighbor.
For Spongebob fans, their favorite characters are all involved.
"Patrick Star is Spongebob's best friend so theres’ a lot of shenanigans that go on," Danny Skinner said.
"I remember turning on the television, and Patrick rolls out and I said, 'Oh my gosh, that’s a character that looks like me! That was such a big moment when I was a kid," Skinner said.
Slater said much of the cast grew up watching the cartoon.
"My earliest memories of middle school and elementary school is going over my friends houses and watching Spongebob," Slater said.
And it seems like Spongebob may have popped up at just the right time.
"It's optimism and joy and diversity and celebration," Tom Kitt said.