Tuesday, June 14, 2016

REVIEW: ChiIL Mama's Adventures at the World Premiere Opening Night of Spongebob The Musical

Sunday night we had a big Bikini Bottom adventure at the World Premiere Opening Night "yellow carpet" extravaganza for Spongebob The Musical. 

ChiIL Mama, Dugan, Sage, and her friend Vanessa all had rock star seats-- 2nd row center, for an epic evening of Broadway bound fun. Even the hard to please teen demographic loved this show! Highly recommended family friendly fun (ages 5+). ChiIL Mama's Chi, IL Picks List. Check out our original photos and full review below.

"The costumes were the most amazing part. Well the set was incredible too. And the guy who played Spongebob was hilarious. The casting and acting was great" Dugan (age 15)

"I don't usually like musicals, but this one was better than I thought it would be. Of all the ways they could have portrayed Spongebob, this one was great. My favorite part was Plankton's song where they did the whip & nae nae." Sage (age 13) " 


Check out ChiIL Mama's Full Set of Photos in the Slideshow here & favorites embedded below.

Pre-show Yellow Carpet featuring arrivals including:

Tom Higgenson, Chicago native and Plain White T’s lead vocals

Yolanda Adams, four-time GRAMMY® Award-winning Gospel legend

The Flaming Lips, three-time GRAMMY® Award-winning band

Tom Kenny, voice of TV’s SpongeBob SquarePants & wife Jill Talley, voice of Karen the Computer

Tina Landau, Director and Co-Conceiver (Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s The Wheel; The Brother/Sister Plays; The Tempest)
Tom Kitt, Music Supervisor (2010 Pulitzer Prize Winner and Tony Award® winner for Next to Normal; If/Then)

Kyle Jarrow, Book Writer (Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Love Kills; A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant)

Christopher Gattelli, Choreographer (Newsies; War Paint; South Pacific; The King and I)

David Zinn, Scenic and Costume Designer (2016 Tony Award® winner for The Humans; Fun Home; The Last Ship) *not pictured

From the early sneak peek with the Plain White T's we were hooked!

I can't rave enough about how crazy amazing this show really is. The writing is fantastic, the casting is spot on, and the score is a mind blowing meld of some of rock's hottest hit makers.

The SpongeBob Musical is utterly unique and entirely awesome, with original songs by Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of AEROSMITH, Sara Bareilles, Jonathan Coulton, Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Flaming Lips, John Legend, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants and T.I., and a song by David Bowie. With additional lyrics by Jonathan Coulton.

The costumes and set were my son's favorite elements and they were indeed spectacular. I'm still dazed and amused by the two floor to ceiling "Mousetrap Game Style" boulder release chutes flanking the stage. The skate ramps along the front and sides of the stage make for a perfect arena for some quadroller and skateboard arena rock from hair brained hair band, The Electric Skates. The staging for the scaling the volcano scene was sheer brilliance. 

In the costume department, The SpongeBob Musical is what I'd envision if someone said give me Dr. Seuss at an underwater rave party, and it's absolutely fabulous! The alterna-mom in me was elated that there were boys in tutus and chorus girl getups, androgynous girls, and every reef creature inbetween. The cast is a stellar range of sizes, shapes and colors, and the actors' hilarious facial expressions, and physical comedy shine without giant character heads or bulky theme park costumes. I'm elated that scores of kids and adults who come to this show will find characters they can relate to, empathize with, and emulate.

The feminist in me was thrilled with stem girl squirrel, Sandy, who brilliantly saves the whole town with her brainy calculations, all while being hunted by an angry mom of haters who want to throw her in the volcano for being a land mammal. In one of my favorite lines in the whole show, she refers to herself as the "scapesquirrel". It's still cracking me up days later, and I could see that becoming "a thing".  

Sure, there are deeper layers here, too, about how fear can create hatred, violence and religious extremists. Natural disasters can amplify people's natural tendencies so the greedy get greedier, the needy get needier, yet the smart, strong, and kind have a chance to shine. And the unlikeliest underdog may turn into the biggest hero, like a goofy, underestimated fry cook with management skills. 

Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows we highly recommend this show as great all ages, multigenerational fun. Catch it while you can. Chicago is so fortunate to get so many Pre-Broadway world premieres. We predict this is going to be a massive, award winning hit. It's already a hit in our books! Spongebob the Musical is only in town till July 7th, so don't miss this.  

A legendary roster of Grammy Award winners. A visionary director and Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved and unforgettable characters. Turn them all loose on Broadway and what do you get? The SpongeBob Musical!  The Pre-Broadway World Premiere of The SpongeBob Musical is currently playing Broadway In Chicago's Oriental Theatre (24 West Randolph Street, Chicago, IL) through July 10, 2016.

Acclaimed Steppenwolf director Tina Landau and the groundbreaking designers behind Fun Home, Hedwig, and Spring Awakening have brilliantly reimagined Bikini Bottom for the Broadway stage, bringing the spirit of SpongeBob to life with humanity, heart, and pure theatricality. With an original score from some of the biggest names in pop and rock, The SpongeBob Musical explodes with energy.

Stakes are higher than ever before as SpongeBob and all of Bikini Bottom face the total annihilation of their undersea world. Chaos erupts. Lives hang in the balance. And just when all hope seems lost, a most unexpected hero rises up and takes center stage.

Get ready to dive to all-new depths of theatrical innovation at The SpongeBob Musical, where the power of optimism really can save the world!

The SpongeBob Musical is co-conceived and directed by Tina Landau, book by Kyle Jarrow, orchestrations, arrangements & music supervision by Tom Kitt, with choreography by Christopher Gattelli.


Tickets for The SpongeBob Musical at the Oriental Theatre are on-sale now.  A select number of premium tickets are available for many performances. Group tickets for 10 or more are available by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710. Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations and online at BroadwayInChicago.com.

ChiIL Mama's Photo Favs:

Truly a treat to meet Wayne Coyne, lead singer, lead guitar and song writer for triple Grammy winning Flaming Lips.

We love that Flaming Lips play lots of all ages music fests, so we were able to take our kids to see them a number of times when they were small, at Lollapalooza, Summer Camp Music Festival and more. My kids adored seeing Coyne get into a giant "hamster ball" and roll around the audience. They're also known for confetti cannons and setting loose beach balls and giant balloons in the audience, so he should have felt right at home at The SpongeBob Musical! All we were missing was the human hamster ball.

Big shoes to fill! Father's day fun with little Lennon and his dad, Tom Higgenson, Chicago native,  frontman & lead guitar player for the band, Plain White T's.

Look at this pair! I've shot hundreds of rock stars' feet over the years, from festivals to photo pits all over Chicago and beyond, but this is the first father/son set! I find it fascinating to see where they're grounded and connect to the earth, and how much their style and personality comes out in their shoes.

Peace, Rock, and Spongebob Musical!

THIS guy is responsible for the laugh that haunts my nightmares! 

Thanks a lot, Tom Kenny, voice of TV’s SpongeBob SquarePants. No, seriously, it was cool to meet you. My 15yo son Googled you beforehand and pulled up pages of your voice credits. Fun stuff!

His wife, Jill Talley, is also the voice of Karen the Computer. I'll bet they mortify their kids doing silly voices at home and in public, but their teens are secretly proud of them. No doubt who those kids are related to!

There was a sea yellow in the audience, but Yolanda takes the GOLD for these shoes! 

"Super Sea Star Savior" songwriter Yolanda Adams was here in Chicago on the The SpongeBob Musical yellow carpet Sunday night at Oriental Theatre


Spongebob fans for Spongebob fans!


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