“SpongeBob SquarePants” is heading to Broadway.
Nickelodeon’s cartoon about a sentient yellow sponge is being adapted into a stage musical that aims to open on Broadway for the 2016-17 season, following a limited run at Chicago’s Oriental Theater next June.
The score will feature original songs by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Jonathan Coulton, Dirty Projectors, The Flaming Lips, John Legend, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants and T.I. and David Bowie.
“The SpongeBob Musical” is co-conceived and directed by Steppenwolf veteran Tina Landau (“Superior Donuts”) with a book by Kyle Jarrow, and music supervision by Tony-winning composer Tom Kitt (“Next to Normal”).
The design team includes scenic and costume design by David Zinn, lighting design by Kevin Adams, projection design by Peter Nigrini and sound design by Walter Trarbach. It is produced by Nickelodeon.
“I was drawn to this project not only for its wild theatrical possibility, but also because I felt SpongeBob, at its core, is a layered and hilarious ensemble comedy,” Landau said in a statement. “SpongeBob himself is of course its center and beating heart–the eternal innocent in a sea of cynics. He’s also the classic underdog hero, and so our production sets him on a hero’s journey with real stakes, all the while retaining the show’s trippy humor and irreverence.”
“SpongeBob long ago transcended the TV screen to become a pop culture icon inspiring everyone from kids and families to artists and musicians, pro athletes, movie stars, fashion designers, social media mavens and even the President,” said Cyma Zarghami, President, Viacom Kids and Family Group. “This character has achieved a level of global popularity that we could never have imagined, and bringing him to Broadway is a way to give him a new platform, literally, to reach audiences of all ages who are looking for an engaging, funny and innovative musical theatre experience.”
The production will begin performances on June 7, 2016, at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre and run through July 3, 2016.