From Bikini Bottom to the BLS Stage


BLS Theatre makes waves through Bikini Bottom. (Source: Alex Strand (II))

Nickelodeon’s beloved cartoon character comes to life in Boston Latin School Theatre’s rendition of The SpongeBob Musical. Everyone’s favorite sponge, squirrel and starfish have to save the day as Bikini Bottom faces destruction by a volcanic eruption.

The original Broadway musical features songs from a range of artists including Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles and more. The playlist features pop, punk, rap, gospel and various other genres, combining them in a cohesive manner. 

“Every song is extremely strong,” says Sam Ringrose (I). “They all complement each other despite the fact that they were written by different artists.” Ringrose played SpongeBob SquarePants in the production and brought incredible energy and musicality to his role.

As the Head of the BLS Theatre Department, Mr. Joseph Gels is always looking for exciting shows and ways to expose audiences to new pieces of art. He landed on SpongeBob, saying, “I loved how it played with the world of SpongeBob and the types of design choices that it pushed forward, and then last year, it was announced that the rights were available for high schools to produce. I also figured it would have some appeal to help bring new students into doing theatre here at BLS.”

This selection was met with excitement by members of BLS Theatre. Ringrose says he was “extremely excited to hear that this year’s musical was Spongebob. [He] had been interested in the show prior to the announcement because of the massive amount of energy it had, as well as the fantastic music.” Similarly, director Haley Regan (I) remarked that she “jumped at the opportunity” to direct this musical because SpongeBob SquarePants was a show she loved as a kid.

With this year’s musical returning to in-person performance, the cast was hopeful for a renewed sense of normalcy following quarantine. While digital production has showcased the creativity of BLS Theatre and made shows more accessible, the ability to engage with the audience is at the heart of performing. The cast is thrilled to be able to do that again, even if it means performing with masks.

 Production began in early April, and the cast and crew worked diligently on perfecting the choreography, intonation and gestures to bring these characters to life. This is crucial because the immersive nature of the show revolves around worldbuilding, the process of constructing an imaginary world in real life. Since most, however, were already familiar with the fictional world of SpongeBob, the crew had to figure out how to best fit the characters into that world. 

Choreographer Ash Albert (II) comments, “From a performance perspective, this means a lot of character development to understand how each fish lives their life down in the sea. From a technical perspective, this means creating an immersive experience in which our Black Box becomes a slice of Bikini Bottom itself, through our set, props, lighting, sound and costumes.”

Walking into the Black Box, a viewer immediately meets Patchy the Pirate, SpongeBob’s biggest fan. In fact, he is such a big fan that his collection of SpongeBob merchandise is featured on the stage. After taking a seat under a cascade of seaweed hanging from the ceiling, the next thing one notices is the new world around them. The Black Box has transformed into an immersive interpretation of Bikini Bottom. As each character makes their debut, their mannerisms, facial expressions, accents and costumes make the show a treat. 

After two hours of singing, dancing, a karate lesson, shadow puppets, jetpacks, a tap number and bubbles, SpongeBob teaches us the importance of confidence, trust and loyalty in a thoroughly enjoyable musical. Congratulations to everyone involved with the production for putting on an awesome show!