(Posted March 2, 2023)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Southeastern High School’s spring stage production is sure to make a splash.
The Trojan theater department will present “The SpongeBob Musical” on March 10 at 7 p.m. and March 11 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. The show is based on the animated children’s television series, “SpongeBob SquarePants.”
“We chose this musical because, first off, as an art teacher, there’s not a day that goes by that someone isn’t drawing or mentioning something about SpongeBob episodes,” said Laura Madden, director.
“Plus, the show really fits our situation as a small school because it has gender flexible casting. All of the parts can be cast as male or female. We typically have more girls than boys going out for our shows, so this makes it easier to do casting.”
Madden also loves the show’s music. All of the songs are written by famous singers and bands, such as John Legend, David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, They Might Be Giants, and Panic at the Disco.
“The songs are very catchy. There are a lot of earworms that get stuck in your head very easily,” she said.
The show’s storyline takes place in the undersea city of Bikini Bottom. All is good until the residents find out the nearby volcano, Mt. Humongous, threatens to erupt in the next 48 hours and destroy the city.
SpongeBob SquarePants, played by senior Ethan Heskett, and Sandy Cheeks, played by senior Ella McCombs, try to save the city through science and invention. Meanwhile, Sheldon J. Plankton (junior Cody Clark) works on a scheme to hypnotize the residents into loving his chum burgers, and Patrick Star (junior Peyton Hamilton) finds an adoring cult of sardines that treat him like a leader.
“Ethan has been in shows since he was a freshman. He is amazing. He has lines in just about every scene,” Madden said.
McCombs is lending her strong singing voice to the production in her second year on stage. Hamilton, who has been in shows since eighth grade, has nailed Patrick’s personality and voice. Clark is prepping to perform a speed rap.
Among the others in the cast are sophomore Trenton Davis, who has learned to tap dance with two extra legs attached for his role as Squidward Q. Tentacles. Justin Callicoat is another sophomore getting his feet wet on stage as Mr. Krabs.
Freshman Elizabeth Beam plays Karen, Plankton’s computer wife; she also sings in the chorus and dances with the ensemble. Senior Caitlyn Marshall plays Pearl, Mr. Krabs’s daughter. As someone who has been in stage productions since her freshman year, Marshall helps less experienced castmates find their way on stage.
Madden says the cast as a whole is getting a kick out of the show selection.
“I think they think it’s great now that they are seeing it all come together with the props and costumes. They are enjoying all the references to the various episodes they are familiar with,” she said.
Speaking of props and costumes, the sets are fun and funky, using balloons to represent bubbles, umbrellas to evoke jellyfish, and pool noodles to create coral reefs. The costumes aren’t what most might guess. Instead of looking like the cartoon characters, the actors are the human embodiment of the characters, Madden said.
“They will be wearing clothes that remind us of the characters. For example, Ethan will be wearing a yellow shirt, brown pants, and a red tie as SpongeBob. For Patrick, Peyton will be wearing a pink shirt and green beach shorts with purple flowers, and he’ll have pink hair.”
Joining Madden in putting on Southeastern’s production of “The SpongeBob Musical’ are David Kestner, Southeastern band and choir director, and Rachel Kestner who are serving as the musical directors and choreographers.
Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students. Students can purchase tickets in advance during the school day in the guidance office. Tickets also will be available at the door at show times. Doors open 30 minutes prior to each show.