Dean’s Review: ‘The SpongeBob Musical’ world premiere

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Sunday night was another Chicago world premiere in the downtown theater district: The official Pre-Broadway opening of “The SpongeBob Musical.”

If you’ve only seen the animated TV show, you haven’t seen anything yet.

The authorized clip that was provided to WGN by the show doesn’t even come close to letting you see what an explosion of color and creativity “The SpongeBob Musical” really is.

You can see that you get living, breathing actors inspired by their TV counterparts — not a parade of humans inside mascot-like characters,

Instead of kid-like dialogue,  the story is multi-layered for kids and adults.   It all adds up to one of the most fun, well produced, and best acted shows Chicago has seen in a long time.

Part of the experience is the colorful, giant Rube Goldberg-like contraptions on either side of the stage that’s used for some of the show’s best special effects.   It’s part of the visual feast that compliments everything else happening on the stage.,

The plot line of the an active volcano that’s about to destroy the hometown of Bikini Beach almost doesn’t matter when the 17 songs written by superstar fans of the show like John Legend, Cyndi Lauper, T.I., Steven Tyler and Joe Perry from Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles, The Plain White T’s — even David Bowie and Brian Eno.

Powerful songs that touch every emotion that are powerfully performed by this extremely talented cast headed up by Ethan Slater, born to play SpongeBob who brings a mind blowing physicality to the role along with the charming, Danny Skinner as his oaf-ish pal, Patrick, and the show stopping, Gavin Lee as the four-legged, Squidward.

It’s joyous, fun and funny for all ages. A bold and imaginative use of it’s sets and technology.

New York is in for a treat when it opens there later this year.

If you don’t over analyze what’s on the stage, you’ll love it as much as i did.

It’s a Dean’s List “A+.” 

The SpongeBob Musical will be at the Oriental Theater downtown only through July 10.


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