“The SpongeBob Musical”
April 19, 2023 — Outside his pineapple house on Bikini Bottom SpongeBob sat soaking wet. His eyes, barely visible, overflowed with waterfalls of tears, running rivers through his SquarePants, filling lakes, flowing into oceans.
“Come on, Bob,” urged Patrick Star, his Best Friend Forever. “It’s almost time. We should get going.”
SpongeBob didn’t move. His waterfall tears fell like Niagara.
“Why are you crying?” Patrick asked.
SpongeBob sniffled, “My friend passed away. She was an angel. Now she’s a real angel way up in heaven, a long way from Bikini Bottom.”
Patrick nodded. “She was my friend, too. But the show must go on. She’d want that.”
Patrick tossed Bob a towel. “She would. She always said the show must go on.”
“That’s just something theater folks say,” SpongeBob shook his head. “It means nothing.”
“It means everything. Like break a leg.”
Bob blew his nose. “Break a leg is mean and ugly.”
“It means ‘good luck’!” Patrick whacked him with the towel. “It’s irony, you big wet sponge!”
SpongeBob wrapped the towel around Patrick’s shoulders. “Come on,” he said.
“You said the show must go on, and we’re gonna miss it.”
“Oh yeah.” Patrick gasped, “Would you look at that?”
The first big production number filled the stage with the denizens of Bikini Bottom, all in perpetual motion in bright-colored costumes in all shapes and sizes, singing, dancing and rocking out. They had just learned their town would be demolished by a violent volcanic eruption of Mt. Humongous.
SpongeBob nudged his BFF. “You’re right. She would have loved it.”
And you will, too.
The Children’s Repertory of Oregon Workshops (C.R.O.W.) is presenting “The SpongeBob Musical” April 14-23 at the Florence Events Center. It’s a silly show filled with wacky characters, sets and costumes and lively music including hip hop and rock. Oh, the plot is serious: There’s nothing funny about an erupting volcano or rivaling merchants like The Krusty Krab and the Chum Bucket or villains with destruction on their malevolent minds or innocent lads needing encouragement to find their heroism. But it all rolls out with laughter for the Best Day Ever.
In fact, the residents of Bikini Bottom conclude the festivities by creating their own band, reminiscent in spirit to the conclusion of that iconic show, “The Music Man.” That rapscallion Harold Hill would have found himself at home in Bikini Bottom.
Speaking of music, songs in “The SpongeBob Musical” were written by a kind of committee of professional musicians including David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Sara Bareilles, Steven Tyler, Lady Antebellum, and John Legend. Chances are you’ll recognize your favorites.
Then there are the Pirates raising cane and aarghs, hilarious, singing pirates. It’s not Gilbert and Sullivan or Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow, but wherever there’s a sea story, you’re likely to come upon pirates.
Among the fabulous creatures that call Bikini Bottom home – including Tiger Fish, Jelly Fish, Spring Angler Fish, Butterfly Fish, Flapper Fish, Sardines, Lion Fish, Plankton, Carmen Miranda Fish, Pacific Sea Urchin, Seahorse, Film Noir Fish, Zebra Fish, and Clown Fish – the most inventive costume has to be Squidward Q. Tentacles’s two tentacles in trousers to match his two legs in matching trousers. Three cheers to the actor for mastering the double squid walk!
The kids are all extraordinary performers, and all deserve special recognition. But there are too many to mention here. You are referred to the beautiful program with lots of color photos and bios and fascinating text.
However, one young man must be noted to indicate the reach of C.R.O.W.’s wide wingspan to embrace the Florence community. William Owens, age 19, who plays SpongeBob SquarePants, has been a member of C.R.O.W. for the last 12 years, playing a variety of roles. Apparently, he plans to take an indefinite hiatus from theater. But given his years of participation, we can’t imagine it will be for long.
Finally, it goes without saying but must be said: C.R.O.W. kids have been guided by theatrical expertise starting with director and choreographer Melanie Heard, supported by musical director Maree Beers, assistant director Genevieve Shahan, and assistant musical director the aforementioned William Owens.
Melanie claims to have been bitten by the theater bug when she was two and a half years old, guided by the expertise of her parents, Ellen and Mike Jacobson. A week before “The SpongeBob Musical” opened at the FEC, Melanie’s mother died. The show went on, confident Ellen would have approved and not just because Melanie dedicated the show to her. Ellen would have insisted that the arts really do matter, and C.R.O.W. is committed to creating excellent theater now and in the future.
There are three more chances left to see “The SpongeBob Musical”— tonight (April 21) and tomorrow at 7 p.m. and Sunday (April 23) at 2 p.m., all at the Florence Events Center, 715 Quince Street. For tickets, live stream options and more information go to www.crowkids.com/spongebob.