Burg Review: Goofiness, Joy Await As Harrisburg Theater Reopens With “The SpongeBob Musical”
âThe SpongeBob Musicalâ is Theater Harrisburg’s first production following the widespread March 2020 theater shutdown. With its cast talented to bring in general nautical (and flagship) nonsense, this return production was well worth the wait.
The 12-time Tony-nominated comedy script based on the Nickelodeon cartoon features original songs from over 15 artists, including David Bowie, Aerosmith and Cyndi Lauper. I’m too âseasonedâ to know who the other artists are, but my rolling teenager assures me they’re all groovy. They have to be, because the songs are as contagious as SpongeBob SquarePants (Nik Olson) himself. His optimism, great energy, and silly gags all permeate music and history.
But the tale is more than just silly fun.
âSpongeBob’s message is about the power of optimism,â said Kristi Ondo, artistic and production director of Theater Harrisburg. âIt’s about how anyone with the right mindset can bring a community together. “
In Theater Harrisburg’s interpretation, director Matt Spencer guides us through a heart-filled underwater journey, with an effective message of trust that is extremely inclusive and encourages everyone to reach higher, regardless of their intelligence. , their skills or if they need a bubble and oxygen pack to breathe underwater.
The fantastic experience begins immediately upon entering the Sunoco Theater at the Whitaker Center, ahem, Bikini Bottom. In the same way that the absurdity of the SpongeBob cartoon series begins with the theme song, we’re greeted with playful characters and the setting up of gags as the audience filters through. Bright colors of sets, props, costumes and decorations swirl around making the audience feel like they are inside a kaleidoscope or circus (luckily minus the usual animal smells).
Our story on the main stage begins like another day at Bikini Bottom. The SpongeBob Fry Cook aspires to be the manager of the Krusty Krab, but the greedy and cantankerous Mr. Krabs (Bryden McCurdy) underestimates his cook’s abilities. Squidward’s (Sean Adams) clarinet prowess is also overlooked, and the smart and sassy squirrel Sandy Cheeks (Becky Mease) is dismissed as a land mammal. Then the friends hear urgent news: a volcano is about to erupt all over Bikini Bottom. What follows is a hero’s journey, in which all must overcome their perceived limitations and work together to save their community.
Ondo said of the script: âThe author’s notes read, ‘Embrace the joy. No other notes.
It is clear that the actors brought this suggestion to life through their nasal streamers. You don’t have to be 7 years old to enjoy antics. Along with plenty of lessons for audience kids, the show features endearing moments and innuendo to appeal to adults. The action takes place quickly, so you may have to move to any corner of the theater to see where the actors can appear and surprise you.
While the songs are not sing-along songs, they are seaworthy, filled with fun slapstick, incorporating a range of musical genres. All – and I mean all – of the players on stage sing the score with heart and flair during the constant stream of dance numbers from the production.
My only regret for attending the opening night: not enough children in the audience. So bring your own.
“The SpongeBob Musical âruns October 22 through November 7 at the Whitaker Center, 222 Market St., Harrisburg. For more information on show times and tickets, visit Harrisburg Theater website Where Whitaker Center website.