There’s a reason kids like gummy vitamins. They’re fun and sweet and colorful, with all their vital nutrients cleverly disguised. The SpongeBob SquarePants musical — which, yes, opened on Broadway last night — is loads more fun than mere chewy candy, and about a million times more colorful: hardly an inch of the Palace Theatre isn’t covered over by some vibrant, shiny thingamabob or another. (The genius psychedelic set and costumes are by David Zinn.)
But the wildly entertaining new musical also offers sage lessons in how to save civilization in the face of doom. So. Listen up, it seems SpongeBob’s got our playbook.
Fans of Stephen Hillenburg’s Nickelodeon franchise will be happy to see the gang’s all here, brilliantly sprung to life by visionary director Tina Landau. Along with book writer Kyle Jarrow, a host of pop-rock songwriters contributed their talents, including John Legend, Cyndi Lauper, The Flaming Lips, Panic! At the Disco, Sara Bareilles, David Bowie, and Brian Eno, to name just a few. It’s a buoyant and rollicking score that flows together remarkably well, thanks to music supervisor Tom Kitt.