Are you ready, kids? Draper Arts Council presents ‘The SpongeBob Musical: Youth Edition’Jul 03, 2023 09:32AM ● By Katherine Weinstein
From left to right, Taylor Fairbourn as SpongeBob, Jackson Hughes as Squidward and Kason Seamans as Patrick rehearsed a scene in the Draper Arts Council production of “The SpongeBob Musical: Youth Edition.” (Photo courtesy of Erin Forchuk/Draper Arts Council)
This month, the stage of Draper City Amphitheater will be transformed into the underwater realm of Bikini Bottom, home of SpongeBob SquarePants and friends. Draper Arts Council will present a special youth edition of the award-winning Broadway show, “The SpongeBob Musical” July 21 through 26.
Based on the animated Nickelodeon series, “The SpongeBob Musical” brings to life characters such as SpongeBob’s not-too-bright but lovable sea star pal Patrick, miserly Mr. Krabs and his conniving nemesis Plankton, the adventurous underwater-dwelling squirrel Sandy Cheeks and many more. “There are a lot of familiar faces,” said producer Erin Forchuk.
“It’s the classic SpongeBob plot where people don’t expect much from him, but he saves the day,” Forchuk added. When Bikini Bottom is threatened by the imminent eruption of an underwater volcano, the characters have to come together to save their town.
The enthusiasm of the young cast was palpable at a morning rehearsal. Director Lisa Noyes said, “These kids are so excited! They are having so much fun with this show. The music is so diverse, that’s what makes it so fun.”
The entire score is comprised of songs written for the show by a variety of pop, rock and hip hop artists. One of the music directors, Averie Forchuk, said, “The music is a lot more like what you hear on the radio.” Brendan Urie of Panic! At the Disco, Cyndi Lauper, Plain White T’s, and TI contributed songs as did The Flaming Lips, They Might Be Giants and many more.
Izie Copier, who plays Larry the Lobster, had to think for a little while before deciding on which song was his favorite. “They’re all so catchy,” he said. “I’d have to say ‘I’m Not a Loser,’ it’s such a funny song.” The song, by They Might Be Giants, is the dour Squidward’s show-stopping number in which he gives himself a pep talk.
In the musical, not everyone in Bikini Bottom is ready to help as the town faces catastrophe. Some, like Mr. Krabs and Plankton, come up with ways to exploit the worried sea creatures to make money.
A group of sardines decide that the unwitting Patrick is the wise leader who will save them from the volcano. In a gospel music-tinged number, “Super Sea Star Savior,” the sardines’ choreography reflects how they all think alike. Nick Chase, as Sardine #3, said, “I love that all the sardines get to be in sync!”
Sandy, the squirrel, tries to come up with a scientific solution to save everyone, but her ideas fall on deaf ears. “Here we’ve got Sandy who’s a land mammal,” Noyes explained. “They don’t want her to help. It’s not until they all come together that they save Bikini Bottom.”
The lead role of SpongeBob SquarePants is played by Taylor Fairbourn. Fairbourn talked about the show’s overall message of optimism and about the characters coming together to save the day. “We all sing ‘Best Day Ever’ together in the face of disaster,” he said.
Kason Seamans, who plays Patrick Star, noted that the musical’s themes are about friendship and inclusion. Those themes extend to the real life experience of the cast. Making new friends is one of the main reasons that he and other actors auditioned for the show.
“It’s just a really fun environment, everyone is so nice,” Raiden Yocom, who plays Plankton, said. “Two weeks ago I didn’t know these guys.”
“And now we’re like best friends,” Averie Forchuk said.
The cast and production team are eager to present “The SpongeBob Musical: Youth Edition” to the public. They will perform excerpts from the show on the kids stage at Draper Days.
Brynlea Forchuk, who plays Electric Skate #3, said, “It’s a really fun show filled with songs that will get stuck in your head.”
Seamans added, “If you liked SpongeBob as a kid or if you want to see a show that’s about friendship and inclusion, give it a try.”
“The SpongeBob Musical: Youth Edition” will be held July 21, 22, 24, 25 and 26 at the Draper City Amphitheater, 944 Vestry Road. Curtain time is 8:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale two weeks before the show opens and may be purchased via buyyourtix.com. λ