“The SpongeBob Musical” tells the story of SpongeBob, Patrick Star, Sandy Cheeks and all the citizens of Bikini Bottom as they face imminent disaster. When the volcano of Mount Humungous threatens to annihilate the town, the friends must come together to face what may be their final moments — when a most unexpected hero rises to take center stage.
Shows are nightly at 7:30 p.m. April 13-16, with a matinee performance at 2 p.m. April 17, in the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center’s Sirote Theatre. Tickets are $15 and $20, for students $6, and for UAB employees and senior citizens $10. Call 205-975-2787 or visit AlysStephens.org.
With a score by writers including Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler, Sara Bareilles, John Legend and more, and a book by Kyle Jarrow, the play is based on the series by Stephen Hillenburg, with musical production conceived by Tina Landau.
Theatre UAB chose this show not only because it was crafted by an incredible and diverse group of writers, but also “because in these challenging times, we wanted to offer our student performers and our audiences a chance to laugh while being transported to a zany and creative world,” said director Valerie Accetta.
“What has surprised all of us in this process is how much heart there is in the show and how it inspires us to come together instead of splinter apart,” Accetta said. There are themes of government inaction, distrust in science and racism; but there are also singing sardines, a dish sponge on a mission and a tap-dancing squid.
As they tell this story of community, Accetta says, Theatre UAB wants to be mindful of our own imminent disaster: climate change.
“In that spirit, our designers have partnered with UAB Recycling and Sustainability to use recycled objects in some of the scenic elements, have repurposed pieces from previous shows for our props design, and have been inspired by Vivienne Westwood and her passion for sustainability in the costume design,” Accetta said.
The performance company has also partnered with Freshwater Land Trust, who discussed their mission of preserving the lands and waters of central Alabama on a guided hike before they started rehearsals for the show. These discussions “continue to inspire us throughout the process as we grow in our community and work together to tell this story,” Accetta said.
Student director Devin Franklin of Hueytown, Alabama, says the show’s timeliness is eerie: A community exploited, mislead and misinformed struggles to find belonging and meaning while facing a world-ending crisis.
“It should not take impending doom for us to be compassionate and supportive of one another,” Franklin said. “These old systems don’t work anymore. SpongeBob’s outlook encourages us to use our imaginations to build a new and more caring world.”
About the cast and crew
Choreography is by Jemison guest artist/scholar Tuan Malinowski of Buffalo, New York, with guest artist B.B. Stone Greensboro, North Carolina, as associate choreographer.
The cast is Troy Serena of Oneonta, Alabama, as SpongeBob Squarepants; Joe Condon of Saint Petersburg, Florida, as Patrick Star; Victoria Chaves of Florence, Alabama, as Sandy Cheeks; Thomas McFerran of Round Rock, Texas, as Eugene H. Krabs; Ford Beshirs of Huntsville, Alabama, as Sheldon J. Plankton; Tyler Arnold of Saint Petersburg, Florida, as Squidward Q. Tentacles; Madeleine Kate Erwin of Houston, Texas, as Perch; Rachel-Marie Strazza of Norwalk, Connecticut, as Karen; Sadie Farmer of Birmingham as Pearl Krabs; Kristen Hall of Cumming, Georgia, as Patchy/Electric Skate 3; Brandon Marquez of Mandeville, Louisiana, as Old Man Jenkins; Terrell Miller of Birmingham as Gary/Buster; Travis Settoon of Ponchatoula, Louisiana, as Larry; Rosie Coryell of Portage, Michigan, as Mayor; McKenna Shaw of Pittsburg, Kansas, as Mrs. Puff/Electric Skate 2; and Trevor McMullen of Birmingham as Electric Skate 1. Ensemble and understudies include Peyton Griffin of Ellisville, Mississippi; Jason Torrey of Eureka, Kansas; Nina Ballon and Cappy Elvir of New Orleans, Louisiana; Hannah Moss of Pasadena, California; Caroline Simpson of Saint Petersburg, Florida; Rose McClanahan of Lexington, Kentucky; Sawyer Luke of Birmingham; and Jackson Landreau of Columbus, Georgia.
Musical direction is by Carolyn Violi. Stage management is by Amanda Waller of Johns Creek, Georgia, with assistance by Deztonie Cunningham of Mobile, Alabama; Patrick Guyton of Auburn, Alabama; and Kaleigh Jones of Lakeland, Florida. Scenic design is by Cliff Simon, with assistance by CJ Romano. Costume design is by Kim Schnormeier, with assistance by Cade McCall. Lighting design is by Bailey Dumlao of Germantown, Tennessee. Properties design is by Marc Quattlebaum. Sound design is by Joe Zellner.