A Night in a Pineapple Under the Sea
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? For two and a half hours, it was me! I was so honored to be able to attend the Broadway premiere of Spongebob Squarepants: The Musical as well, as the official after party at the Ziegfeld Ballroom. I made sure to document all aspects of my fun-filled evening so that you, too, could experience the magic that resides inside the world of a simple yellow sponge.
I knew that my outfit for the evening had to resemble the spirit of Spongebob...that meant yellow. At first, I was hesitant, as it’s not my favorite color, but I put together a look that I truly loved. I wore a yellow spaghetti strap dress with cutouts from Lovers & Friends, topped with a pink fur coat from the same brand. As for the accessories, I chose pink velvet booties from Steve Madden, and a whimsical “OMG” bag from the designer From St. Xavier. Oh, and don't forget my Miley Cyrus’ inspired crimped pigtails ;-)
Upon entering the Palace Theater, there was a blue carpet with a step and repeat behind it. Press lined up to get photographs of celebrities’ arrivals. Most of the writers, producers, and composers of the show attended, including renowned songwriter Sara Bareilles, Yolanda Adams, and Jonathan Coulton. Also in attendance were Jill Kargman (Odd Mom Out); Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan; X-Men; Spotlight); Carolee Carmello (The Addams Family and Tuck Everlasting on Broadway); Lora Lee Gayer (Holiday Inn on Broadway); Rachel Dratch (Saturday Night Live); Joe Tippett (Waitress on Broadway); and Tom Kenny (the original voice of Spongebob!).
Everyone seemed to be in awe as they surveyed the set; it was an explosion of neon colors, lights, and under-the-sea scenery that all came together to create the illusion of the audience sitting inside of an aquarium. There was a Rube Goldberg Machine hanging from the ceiling on opposite ends of the stage, which we later learned released “boulders” on to the stage that come from the “soon-to-erupt volcano.” The band and sound-effects person were on both sides of the audience, and cast members lingered around them before the start of the show. It came as a shock when the pirate right in front of me ran on the stage all of the sudden and acted like a Spongebob superfan. Sitting front row, I was able to witness that, and all of the exciting elements of the show up close.
The plot--based on the popular cartoon--centers around Spongebob Squarepants (played by the daring yet hilarious Ethan Slater) and his friends Sandy the Squirrel and Patrick the Starfish who work to save their town of Bikini Bottom from being ruined by an incoming volcano. This story is told through catchy tunes by some of the music industry’s best (i.e. the brilliantly upbeat tune “Bikini Bottom Day” by Jonathan Coulton and legend David Bowie’s song collaboration with Brian Eno, “No Control") which help advance the story.
he musical takes a sinister turn when the villain, Plankton (Wesley Taylor), devises a plan of his own to have the citizens of Bikini Bottom leave through an escape pod--where he will hypnotize them into liking the chum he serves at his restaurant--and abandon their home for good. The subplots within the show add flavor and humor, specifically Squidward (played by the witty Gavin Lee) who puts on a magnificent tap number to prove that he’s worthy of having his own show. His song “I’m Not a Loser” was the only song that received a standing ovation that night, due to Lee’s undeniably fabulous tap skills. Eighteen-year-old Jai’len Christine Li Josey--who plays Pearl, the daughter of Eugene Krabs (Brian Ray Norris), the owner of the Krusty Krabs hamburger shop--is another scene stealer. Every time she wailed during her song “Daddy Knows Best,” the crowd could not help but whistle or cheer.
The show ends with Spongebob, Patrick, and Sandy disrupting the volcano with the bubbling “Eruptor Interruptor,” saving the town of Bikini Bottom at last. The audience jumped to their feet after the final blackout and chimed in when the famous Spongebob Squarepants theme song was sung by cast members. I was pleasantly surprised that the musical, as a whole, was not overwhelmingly juvenile. It was jam-packed with humor and talent that all ages can't help but appreciate and enjoy.
After the show, it was time to attend the VIP after party at the Ziegfeld Ballroom. There was a blue carpet that lead guests upstairs to a huge event space lit up in the same hue. Giant pink jellyfish hung from the ceiling, Spongebob Squarepants pillows decorated the couches, and an enormous light-up pineapple stood in the middle of the room, surrounded by the bar. Even the drinks were served out of pineapple shaped glasses!
The food at the party was Spongebob themed, of course. Besides an interesting selection of “Krusty Krab Pizzas” (gorgonzola & fig, grilled spring vegetable, and neapolitan style margherita!), there was a huge sushi bar! If that wasn’t enough, the “Bikini Bottom Tuscan Table” served lemon-garlic shrimp, beef & parmesan meatballs, cacio e pepe rigatoni, and chicken parmesan sliders (just like they serve at The Krusty Krab!).
For dessert, guests had the opportunity to indulge in a yellow cupcake with an edible Spongebob face on top and a star shaped cookie frosted to look like Patrick. There were also pineapple-shaped cake pops and assorted tropical pastries. Can you say, “delish?”
Overall, the evening was extraordinary, filled with exciting celebrity interactions, a brilliant performance, and a sponge-tastic VIP after party. If only I could have stayed at the party for one eternity later...