‘The SpongeBob Musical’ Cast, Crew, and Musicians Dive into the Wacky Show


Katharyn MacDonald, Contributor

One legendary cartoon that spans generations and has influenced pop culture for decades has been reborn in a new form: a musical as bizarre and hilarious as it is fantastic! Double Edge Productions, the theatre company of Calvert High School, is wowing the community with a “Bikini Bottom Day” overflowing with fun, laughs, and plenty of heart in The SpongeBob Musical. Performances began on Friday, March 17 and continue through Saturday, March 25. 

Nearly a year after the beloved animated series’ finale aired in June of 2015, The SpongeBob Musical premiered on Broadway at the Palace Theatre. The show certainly made waves (pun intended). Critics acclaimed the “super-bubbly musical” for its “genius working of characters” and “impressive design” (The Washington Post). With a whopping twelve nominations, “it tied with ‘Mean Girls’ for the most-nominated production” at the 2018 Tony Awards (Playbill.com). 

The SpongeBob Musical is a show of high stakes and even higher energy. When the citizens of Bikini Bottom discover that a volcano will soon erupt and destroy their humble home, SpongeBob and his friends, Patrick and Sandy, must come together to change the fate of their undersea world. With lives hanging in the balance and all hope lost, a most unexpected hero rises up (Concord Theatricals). 

Double Edge Productions Director Mrs. Stephanie Thom has been encouraging everyone involved in the production to “embrace the silly” to make the imaginary world of Bikini Bottom come to life on the stage. 

The actors have had the challenge of taking on well-known characters and figuring out how to honor their original versions as well as give them a new flair fitting in the musical. 

“The musical is different from the cartoon,” said Mrs. Thom. “They are human versions of the characters.” 

Still, the recognizable trademarks of the characters are present, such as Squidward’s four legs, Sandy’s pink flower, Plankton’s one eye, Old Man Jenkin’s cane, and Mr. Krabs’ claws. 

Stepping into the shoes of these characters can be a reflective and therapeutic experience for the young actors. At theatre rehearsals, they can temporarily leave other stresses behind and focus on immersing themselves in a fictional world. 

When thinking of the SpongeBob Squarepants television series, sophisticated might not be the first word that comes to mind. The musical, however, explores a creative, original storyline and contains numerous unique details that make up the musical adventure. 

Senior Faith Humphreys is starring in the role of the iconic, optimistic sponge who has ambitious dreams, a big heart, and a trademark red tie. 

“SpongeBob is a role that goes against what I normally do,” said Humphreys. “I’m excited to step out of my melodramatic tone and play something more upbeat. I’m not normally a comedic relief character, and now I get to do that and be a lead.” 

The colorful characters of SpongeBob’s world have big personalities, which require a lot of energy and endurance through long rehearsals. The actors have rehearsed for a total of eleven weeks, working meticulously to make every detail right. 

Student actors Patsy Surez, Sam Carroll, and Jillian Fluharty cooked up some cool choreography for the biggest numbers in the musical. For instance, the gospel-style song devoted to Patrick Star is a favorite among the cast and musicians, and a certain pessimistic clarinetist squid even gets his own singing debut. 

The cast had the opportunity of working with vocal coach Jessie Jordan while in the rehearsal process for the show. She previously worked on Southern Maryland Children’s Community Theatre’s productions of Newsies Jr. and The Christmas Story. 

“This musical is completely different than anything I’ve worked on before,” Jordan said. “It just has so many different genres packed into one show. It’s very unique.” 

The students, many of whom aren’t in a formal chorus class, have been working hard on splitting up their vocal parts and singing and dancing simultaneously. 

Freshman Makaela Clark remarked that the rehearsal process for the musical numbers is stressful, but through everyone putting in the work, they are getting the hang of it. 

Jordan said, “This music is very complex. It has a lot of moving parts, and at some points everyone is singing something different.” 

When all of the pieces come together, the students are an ensemble of spectacular singing sea creatures (plus one squirrel). 

The set of the musical includes many moving pieces, including a large surprise revealed in the second act that reaches new heights. 

The stage crew has worked together to physically create the scenery of Bikini Bottom and its landmarks, including the Krusty Krab and Mount Humongous. Builders, painters, prop creators, and lighting and sound technicians have made the vision come to life through their hard work and dedication from Day 1. 

For Calvert’s performances of The SpongeBob Musical, senior Maia Nerby and freshmen Chrystelle Cortez, Samantha Potter, and Miles Reid accompany the music tracks with all kinds of percussion and wacky sounds. As foley artists, they bring a funny element of the cartoon to the stage, from boxing ring bells to squeaky dog toys that articulate SpongeBob’s steps. Sometimes they even have surprise interactions with the actors and audience! They can be seen from their colorful setup at the far-left side of the stage. 

A group of musicians was committed to serving as the pit orchestra for the musical, playing instruments during the songs as well as little bits during and between scenes. Unfortunately, the pit orchestra had to be dissolved due to a lack of necessary instrumentation. 

Band director Mr. Derek Dillman stated that multiple piano and guitar parts were vital roles within the music that led the other musicians and singers. Without any students or professionals able to fill those empty roles, Mr. Dillman and Mrs. Thom made the difficult decision to use pre-recorded music tracks played over the sound system for the performances instead. Everyone involved in the production is very grateful for the musicians’ dedication and work towards making the musical the best it can be. 

If seeing fellow students recreate legendary cartoon characters and having some laughs along the way sounds like fun, come to see a closing weekend show! Performances are at 6 pm on Friday, March 24 and 1pm and 6 pm on Saturday, March 25.