SpongeBob on Broadway?? My conversation with Tom Kitt. Spoiler alert: Yes!

While Grab Your Group and Go dabbles in all sorts of activities that are one off in nature – think working out at the zoo with IronStrength – one regular thing some permutation of this NYC based group does each month from September through June is go to the theater.  Originally called the 1st Tuesday of the Month Club (see post),   it has now been dubbed Grab Your Group and Go….to the Theater.

This is how it works:  I, or another member of the club, selects a show and a date and shares the info with the group.  Those who want to attend self select and buy their own tickets and presto we have a group assembled at the theater.  This fall we are seeing A Doll’s House, Part 2 on September 12th and Tiny Beautiful Things on October 10th.

In the interest of “trying new things”, this November we are experimenting with group ticket sales.  I put in an order for 50 seats at first, then the group grew to 70, and finally 100 tickets for none other than SpongeBob SquarePants were needed to accommodate the demand.  Group pricing affords us a bit of a break on the cost and simplifies the ticket buying process.  This is all well and good, but once we hit the 40 mark…I started to get a little nervous.  These people are spending their time and their good money to go see a show based on an innocent email from me that landed in their in box.  My trepidation increased concomitantly with the increased count.  What if it is a bust?  What if everyone hates the show?  I have nice friends and my friends have nice friends so I am certain they’d still love me in the morning, BUT STILL, what if???

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Luckily one of said friends happens to be married to the man who wore many musical hats in creating the music that is SpongeBob SquarePants: Tom Kitt.  Literally so many hats! Look what it says when you google the show:

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My friend was nice enough to allow me to interrupt Tom’s summer for a few moments with some questions that would help me sleep better at night knowing my friends would not only enjoy themselves at the show, but perhaps be better for the experience.  Here’s what I learned from speaking with the amazingly gracious and ridiculously talented Tom…

Tell me about your role with this show? 
Each artist was asked to write for a specific moment.  My job was to integrate their compositions into the score and to oversee how the songs might need to adapt to the changing nature of the story.  The director would begin the process by reaching out to the artist and then they would write the song, create a demo recording of their own, and send it back.

The array of musicians who gathered to create music is impressive and reason enough for me to see the show.  What was it like to work with these artists and what inspired them to contribute? 

Unbelievable!  Each artist has an obvious passion for SpongeBob.  SpongeBob represents qualities that are both hilarious and heartwarming.  He is positive and optimistic and sees the good in everyone.  He takes great pride in his job treats everyone with respect and kindness.  Most importantly, he inspires people with his compassion and empathy.  I think his voice is very important to have in the world right now.

Why should people see this show?  Where does it fit in the scheme of new offerings on Broadway?

This show sits in a sweet spot – young kids will come to see it and love it.  But at the same time, I think it will really appeal to an older audience as their are many themes and jokes directed squarely at them.  I also think that the fact that you have all of these brilliant artists who have never written for the theater before makes it very exciting for everyone.  The world of SpongeBob is this magnificent underwater world, but at the same time it is also very grounded.  Our wonderful cast is certainly a sight to see…as is the dynamic and mind blowing set design.

Who will this show appeal to?

I think it will appeal to a wide variety of theatergoers.  Certainly, I find the tone and the humor to be universal.  And on top of that, we have a wonderful choreographer, Chris Gatelli, who has brilliantly staged the numbers.  So for people who love dance and movement, they’ll have a great time.

What would you like people to get out of seeing SpongeBob on Broadway?   What do you think is the takeaway of the audience?

First and foremost, I believe that everyone will have had a fantastic time at the theater.  You will have laughed a lot.  But you will also be moved.  Like any beloved source material, people will come into this show with their own preconceived notions.  But whether you know SpongeBob or not, I believe this show will bring a lot of unexpected delights to the audience.

I am sold!  And am now counting the minutes until November 19th where I am now confident my group will enjoy their time together with SpongeBob Square Pants.  Of course, I will let you know and then perhaps you can grab your group and go too??  Or don’t even wait for that…. just Grab Your Group and GO!

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