Nickelodeon Sets ‘SpongeBob Musical: Live on Stage!’ TV Special for December

Members of original Broadway company will reunite to film show in front of a live theater audience

spongebob squarepants musical broadway
Photo: Joan Marcus

Nickelodeon is taking you to a pineapple under the sea — and Broadway — this December with a live TV special version of “The SpongeBob Musical: Live on Stage!” set to air this holiday season, the kids’ cable channel said Thursday.

Director Tina Landau and members of the Broadway show’s original award-winning company will reunite to film the musical in front of a live theater audience with a production that “will capture all-new depths of theatrical innovation where the power of optimism really can save the world.”

Here’s the description for the musical: “Stakes are higher than ever before as SpongeBob and all of Bikini Bottom face the total annihilation of their undersea world. Chaos erupts. Lives hang in the balance. And just when all hope seems lost, a most unexpected hero rises up and takes center stage.”

“The SpongeBob Musical: Live on Stage!” cast will include Ethan Slater as SpongeBob SquarePants, Gavin Lee as Squidward Q. Tentacles, Danny Skinner as Patrick Star, Brian Ray Norris as Eugene Krabs, Wesley Taylor as Sheldon Plankton, and Christina Sajous as Sandy Cheeks. The ensemble cast includes Kyle Matthew Hamilton, Katie Lee Hill, Curtis Holbrook, L’ogan J’ones, Jai’len Josey, Kelvin Moon Loh, Lauralyn McClelland, Vasthy Mompoint, Bryonha Parham, Oneika Phillips, Jon Rua, JC Schuster, Abby C. Smith, Robert Taylor Jr., Allan Washington.

Airdate, additional programming plus further casting will be announced at a later date.

“What better way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ than to bring this wildly imaginative Broadway musical to Nickelodeon for a wider audience,” said Rob Bagshaw, Executive Vice President of Nickelodeon Live Action Unscripted and Live Events. “We could not be more excited that fans and families of all ages will now have the opportunity to experience live actors portraying these beloved characters in a whole new way with ‘The SpongeBob Musical: Live on Stage!’”

“I’m so thrilled to be able to revisit the show in a new light and with our original cast members,” Tina Landau said. “The whole creative and I are excited to go back into the world of Bikini Bottom and discover its new life in TV broadcast form. But above all, I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to share the joy and spirit of our show with a wider audience. That’s what matters most to me – the joy.”

“The SpongeBob Musical: Live on Stage!” is a musical production conceived and directed for the stage by Tina Landau, book by Kyle Jarrow, orchestrations, arrangements & music supervision by Tom Kitt, with choreography by Christopher Gattelli, produced for television by Austin Shaw with television direction by Glenn Weiss.  Nickelodeon’s EVP of Unscripted and Live Events, Rob Bagshaw, will oversee and executive produce the special. Paul J Medford, Nick’s VP of Unscripted, Current Series, and Susan Vargo, VP of Global Live Entertainment, will serve as executive producers, alongside SVP of Music and Talent, Doug Cohn.

The special will feature original songs by Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles, Jonathan Coulton, Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Flaming Lips, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, Panic! At The Disco, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants and T.I. (Clifford Harris, Jr.) Domani Harris and Darwin Quinn and a song by David Bowie and by Tom Kenny and Andy Paley. Additional lyrics by Jonathan Coulton. Additional music by Tom Kitt.

The design team for “The SpongeBob Musical: Live On Stage!” includes scenic and costume design by David Zinn, lighting design by Kevin Adams, projection design by Peter Nigrini, sound design by Walter Trarbach, hair and wig design by Charles G. LaPointe and casting by Telsey + Company/Patrick Goodwin, CSA.