Since it first aired in 1999, SpongeBob SquarePants has influenced the television habits and tastes in the humor of a generation or two of children and parents alike. So, naturally, a musical would follow.
Broadway actor Beau Bradshaw is of that generation or two mentioned above. The recent college graduate landed the role of Patrick Star, Spongebob’s loveable, if not dim-witted, partner in crime.
“I can relate to him,” said Bradshaw of his character role. It’s often the answer actors share when reporters ask whether or not they can relate to the character they are to portray. It’s one of the stupid questions I sometimes warn people I’m going to ask in interviews because the answer sounds better than coming out of my mouth. And, I could be wrong. But, the ease in which Bradshaw admitted to how he related to his character was unexpected. It begged for explaining.
“I can be slow at times,” he said. “Especially, I feel, when my friends are trying to explain something to me.”
If not for his affable demeanor, Bradshaw could be an intimidating figure on stage. Possessing a large frame, standing 6-foot 3-inches tall, he’s built like a football player. Instead, he’s magically childlike when in character. His backstage.com profile has a video of him singing “In Summer” from Disney’s “Frozen.” The earworm continued to play in my head as I spoke with him over the phone. There was boisterous laughter on his end of the line as he sat on a bus full of his fellow actors on the way to Schenectady. The thought of the entire cast of Spongebob on one bus enhanced a surreal blur between the two- and three-dimensional worlds at play. A quick glance at Bradshaw’s headshot, with bright eyes and a broad, gaping smile, looks like Patrick Star.
He darn well could be Patrick Star. Please forgive my vocabulary enhancer.
The complete cast is set for the upcoming national tour of “The SpongeBob Musical,” which launches after a string of tech performances at Proctors from Sunday, Sept. 22 to Saturday, Sept. 28.
The musical is set in the fictional community of Bikini Bottom, an underwater township inhabited by various sea creatures, and a squirrel. If that last bit threw you off, you’re a Spongebob novice. I suggested pulling up a few episodes online. If you can suspend reality enough to accept talking ocean life, you’ll push your boundaries wondering how they grill Krabby Patties in the water.
The touring production stars Bradshaw, Lorenzo Pugliese as SpongeBob SquarePants and Daria Pilar Redus as Sandy Cheeks, with Cody Cooley as Squidward Q. Tentacles, Zach Kononov as Mr. Krabs, and Tristan McIntyre as Sheldon Plankton.
Rounding out the company are Joshua Bess, Morgan Blanchard, John Cardenas, Natalie L. Chapman, Richie Dupkin, Teddy Gales, Stephen C. Kallas, Méami Maszewski, Stefan Miller, Mary Nickson, Dorian O’Brien, Caitlin Ort, Elle-May Patterson, Helen Regula, Sydney Simone, Ayana Strutz, Miles Davis Tillman and Rico Velazquez.
Additional tour stops include engagements in Boston, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Toronto, Houston, Nashville, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia and San Antonio.
Directed and conceived by Tina Landau, the musical features a book by Kyle Jarrow and a score from orchestrator Tom Kitt and a variety of pop artists: 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 and Rob Hyman, John Legend, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants, T.I., Domani and Lil’C, and songs by David Bowie and Brian Eno, and by Tom Kenny and Andy Paley.
“There’s something in this for everybody to enjoy,” said Bradshaw. “It’s not just for kids, there are things in there for adults, too.”
Tickets for “The SpongeBob Musical” are available at the Box Office at Proctors, 432 State Street, Schenectady; by phone at 518-346-6204; and online at proctors.org.