2’s Review: “The SpongeBob Musical”

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — A lot of energy and enthusiasm is gracing the stage at Florida Rep as Theatre Conservatory Presents “The SpongeBob Musical.”

The vibrant performance is based on Stephen Hillenburg’s SpongeBob Square Pants Nickelodeon cartoon and it’s filled with a cast of local young actors who give it their all and truly take you under the sea complete with bubbles filling up the theater.

It’s a fun and colorful performance and while it can be a challenge to pull off cartoon characters, these young actors nailed it by springing to life all of the characters complete with southern accents and outlandish and at times dimwitted behavior just like the TV show.

For those of you not familiar with the show, it takes place somewhere under the Pacific in an underwater village known as Bikini Bottom.

SpongeBob, played brilliantly by Actor Landon Mass, lives in a pineapple with his pet snail which meows like a cat. Mass has great vocals and convincingly portrays SpongeBob’s optimism and childlike attitude which could best be described as Pee-Wee Herman’s character.

Joe Dafeldecker / Florida Repertory Theatre

SpongeBob’s best friend is a dim-witted starfish Patrick, played by Actor Michael Shelley who has starred in a number of conservatory shows. Shelley remains true to character complete with his pink hair. He does a fantastic job.

Joe Dafeldecker / Florida Repertory Theatre

Another friend is the Texan squirrel Sandy played by Actress Sophia Gurulé who lights up the stage with her bigger-than-life character and stunning vocals. She portrays a scientist who comes to town with a plan to save their town from doomsday as a volcano is about to erupt and wipe them all out.

Joe Dafeldecker / Florida Repertory Theatre

As you might expect, chaos ensues, and just like in real life and not everyone is so believing in the science to prevent the apocalypse.

Actor Matthew Eakins plays the outlandish Squidward, the green squid who wants to make it big in show business before life as he knows it comes to an end. Eakins, too, pulls off the character’s pessimism and over-the-top personality.

Joe Dafeldecker / Florida Repertory Theatre

Another well-known face on stage is actor, producer, and education director Kody C. Jones, who turns in his final performance as the dastardly antagonist Plankton along with his scheming friend Karen played by Grace Ryan and the duo tries to undermine science and the townspeople. That includes SpongeBob’s boss at an underwater Burger joint, the greedy Mr. Krabs played by Actor Scott Wells.  However, he comes to see the light thanks to his daughter Pearl played by Actress Mia Zottolo who displays some amazing vocal performances.

No Broadway show is complete without a little tap dancing which is led by Gigi Lieze-Adams, Annika Milhous, and Danae Teblum who received some cheers for their toe-tapping Sardine Devotees performance.

The show is no doubt perhaps more timely than ever as the townspeople learn the importance of trust, friendship, and community.  Assistant education director Christina DeCarlo brilliantly turns the “Rep kids” into stars.

Are they able to save the planet from annihilation?  You’ll have to get your tickets to find out.

The show runs May 25 through the 28 in the historic Arcade Theater. There are both matinee and evening performances.

Tickets are $15 for students. You call the box office at 239-332-4488 to purchase your tickets for this magical performance.

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