Are you ready, kids, for “The SpongeBob Musical?’’

Posted 10/27/21

Nickelodeon’s ‘’Sponge-Bob SquarePants’’ tells the adventures of a personified sponge. The television cartoon premiered in 1999. Over twenty-two years later, new seasons are still being …

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Are you ready, kids, for “The SpongeBob Musical?’’


Nickelodeon’s ‘’Sponge-Bob SquarePants’’ tells the adventures of a personified sponge. The television cartoon premiered in 1999. Over twenty-two years later, new seasons are still being crafted. The most recent episode aired on July 9, according to Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Nickelodeon is expected to release at least ten more new episodes. This would round out the 13th season of ‘’SpongeBob SquarePants.’’

Since the series was released, media inspired by it has been produced. Ninety- three works have become available on Amazon’s Kindle eBooks. Four Nintendo Switch games have been listed on the market. Paramount+ offers six films and series on their platform, in addition to the authentic show. Considering the massive amount of content that has evolved from Nickelodeon’s ‘’SpongeBob SquarePants,’’ it only made sense that ‘’SpongeBob SquarePants, The Broadway Musical’’ opened on Dec. 4, 2017.

The script is an adaptation; its plot is not a copy of an existing story. ‘’SpongeBob, Patrick, Sandy, Squidward, and all of Bikini Bottom face total annihilation—until a most unexpected hero rises to take center stage. This new musical features the musical stylings of Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler, Sara Bareilles, Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, David Bowie, Panic! At the Disco, T.I. and more!’’ describes the official website of The Loft Stage.

Readers have read that correctly. The Loft Stage at East Ridge High School (ERHS) in Woodbury, MN is preparing ‘’The SpongeBob Musical’’ for their annual musical. On Monday Oct. 18, The Journal was welcomed into one of their rehearsals. After an exchange with Musical Director Kajsa Jones-Higgins and conversations with parts of the cast, it is clear that their version is friendly to kids, adults, newbies, creativity, and the environment.

‘’SpongeBob SquarePants’’ debuted erelong before Layla Bagal was born. The ERHS freshman has memories of being entertained by it. ‘’It was a really fun show that I always remembered growing—like when I was four, or five, or younger.’’

Likewise, the musical is targeted towards juvenile audience members. Jones-Higgins justified, ‘’I think it’s a lot of fun. And it’s just a really sweet story about friendship and getting along with other people and caring about our community.’’

Jones-Higgins thought that ‘’adults will really enjoy it,’’ as well.

Select American adults do not fancy ‘’SpongeBob SquarePants.’’ Brooklin Giddings is an 11th grader at ERHS. She is a contributor of the ensemble for ‘’The SpongeBob Musical.’’ To The Journal, she remarked, ‘’I actually didn’t watch a lot of SpongeBob as a kid… we didn’t really have the network that let us watch it and my parents just thought it was kind of stupid.’’

Perhaps it was ‘’The Immediate Impact of Different Types of Television on Young Children’s Executive Function,’’ that prompted parents similar to Giddings’s to frown upon ‘’SpongeBob SquarePants.’’

The study was facilitated in 2011 by Angeline S. Lillard and Jennifer Peterson. At that time, Lillard had a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), and Peterson, a Bachelor of Arts (BA), in the Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia. They developed, performed, and analyzed the following procedure: Sixty 4-year-olds either viewed a fast-paced cartoon, viewed an educational cartoon, or drew for nine minutes. Next, they were assigned executive function tasks. One of these was to touch their toes every time that they were asked to tap their head and vice versa. Lastly, parents responded to surveys regarding their child’s media consumption and personality.

The experiment and its results were published in ‘’Pediatrics: Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.’’ It discovered, ‘’Just 9 minutes of viewing a fast-paced television cartoon had immediate negative effects on 4-year-olds’ executive function. Parents should be aware that fastpaced television shows could at least temporarily impair young children’s executive function.’’

‘’SpongeBob SquarePants’’ is a fast-paced program. On average, its scenes alter with every 11 seconds. This is based on Lauren Effron’s coverage on the study for ABC News.

Jones-Higgins recognizes that there are locals who dislike the television series. She voiced ‘’that even if you’re not a fan of the TV show, there’s a lot to love about the musical…I wasn’t necessarily a huge fan of the TV show and I have been finding myself really loving it.’’

The Loft Stage’s version of ‘’The SpongeBob Musical’’ has touched new thespians. Making this possible was the fact that every character is a creature or object. Auditioners did not need to identify as a particular gender to be cast for a particular role. Jones-Higgins outlined the second way her musical has been ideal for first-time actors: ‘’And there’s just a lot of flexibility around how many people, so we were able to get more people involved.’’

Although Bagal has always loved music, drama is a new concept for her. ‘’This is actually my first musical production,’’ she disclosed. ‘’…So, I’ve never been in any musical productions like this before. So, it’s really interesting to see how all of this work comes together into one final product. That’s really inspiring…It’s a really fun experience.’’

Being a Minnesotan is a new venture for Bagal as well. In fact, auditioning for ‘’The SpongeBob Musical’’ was the first thing that she did upon arriving. ‘’I figured out on the website,’’ recounted Bagal about try-outs, ‘’and I was really excited because I had just actually seen the show. I had just seen it at my old school. I moved here from Pennsylvania…And I [thought] I should audition because I thought it would be really fun—especially as a first show.’’

Bagal will be featured in nearly every musical number of ‘’The SpongeBob Musical.’’ For most of the performance, she will interpret a sardine. Even so, as an ensemble member, Bagal will portray several characters.

This is one example of how The Loft Stage is embracing creativity. A second instance is that Benjamin Sanders has been forming his own version of SpongeBob SquarePants. ‘’Yes, I’ve watched SpongeBob, just as kind of a base idea…I’m not trying to imitate the voice or anything. I take aspects of it; I take his intonation. But, it’s not an imitation by any means; its own take on a character,’’ insisted the ERHS senior.

‘’My take on Sponge-Bob?’’ He elaborated, ‘’… Unlike the kids show—you know, the kids’ show doesn’t show SpongeBob as being necessarily doubtful or even intelligent, but my take on SpongeBob is…I’m not saying he’s a genius or anything, but he’s smarter than…he seems. So, my SpongeBob, sure, he’s mostly optimistic, but he deals with doubt. He deals with the same things everyone else deals with and he just chooses to look on the bright side.’’

The Loft Stage is piecing together a set—sustainably. Behaving as a friend to ecosystems like Bikini Bottom is the ‘’goal,’’ communicated Jones-Higgins. ‘’We’ve been collecting; everyone in the cast and crew has been bringing in bottles. I think that’s probably something that sets us apart, too.’’

Upcycled hula hoops, pool noodles, oil drums, water coolers, jugs, sports balls, used tires, cardboard boxes, CDs, beach balls, workout balls, a small kiddie pool, clear plastic bottles, and a tractor tire are some of the items that audiences may notice on-stage during ‘’The SpongeBob Musical.’’

Upon reading about The Loft Stage’s efforts to make ‘’The SpongeBob Musical’’ friendly, one may wish to witness it. ‘’The SpongeBob Musical’’ will open on Nov. 5, run for two weekends, and close on Nov. 14. Tickets can be purchased using this link: event-details/56604 . Admission for senior citizens and students is $8; adults must pay $10. In regards to COVID-19 prevention practices, social distancing will not be enforced, but the use of facial masks is strongly encouraged.

Giddings invited the public to attend ‘’The SpongeBob Musical.’’ To The Journal, she reasoned: ‘’I feel like it relates a lot to kind of what’s happening in our world nowadays, just because there’s…a lot of craziness that’s going on…and people are trying to figure out who to blame and trying to put a blame on people. But really, the thing that I like about the show is it really teaches the importance of family and friends and community, and the importance of having them, and how having that sort of strong bond can help you get through things.’’