The SpongeBob Musical – Coronado or Bikini Bottom

SpongeBob ensemble - Kyler Watkey - photo by Ken Jacques
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By Kathy Carpenter

Kyler Watley- Spongebob – photo by Ken Jacques

Coronado Playhouse 76th Season Presents the San Diego Premiere of Broadway’s Award-Winning Hit, “The SpongeBob Musical,” a cartoon comes to stage. Over-the-top characters, pockets of joy, and escapism, this is the antidote for the current everyday experiences. This brings generations together. It is based on the series by Stephen Hillenburg, with Book by Kyle Jarrow, musical production conceived by Tina Landau. Co-directed and choreographed by Marc Caro and Erin Peterson as the infuse their spark of happiness into our lives.

Squidward and Spongebob – Cole Atencio and Kyler Watley photo by Ken JAcques

SpongeBob takes place present day in the underwater fictional town of Bikini Bottom with all the characters we know and love. In this story a volcano is about to erupt and destroy Bikini Bottom. The ever- overly- optimistic SpongeBob doesn’t believe the news. However, his friend Sandy has scientific proof. In the meantime the villain Plankton plans to use the disaster to his benefit by hypnotizing the whole town at once while they are on board an escape pod.

Sandy and Spongebob- Sydney Joyner and Kyler Watley – photo by Ken Jacques

Sandy is shunned by the town as an outsider, after Plankton persuades the town his way. Patrick abandons SpongeBob after becoming the great wise one to a group of fish. But SpongeBob insists he and Sandy save the town. Will the reluctant heroes save the day?

The acting is phenomenal. The principals really imbibed their cartoon namesakes. I was expecting the show to have like a sponge type costume and so forth, Halloween type outfits. But these were adult actors shining in their element. You could definitely tell who was who.

Interestingly, I brought my eight year old niece and though you might think this the perfect show to bring the kids, in my opinion not-so-much. It’s two hours and twenty minutes, a long play for adults, but very long for kids. The lights are low, and the music gentle, making it hard for kids to focus. However she delighted in seeing the characters on stage. We agreed on our favorite characters, Squidward rocked. Cole Atencio was the ultimate Squidward, perfect. His “I’m not a Loser,” was my favorite number, and even included tap dancing, my favorite show stopper. We also, loved Sydney Joyner, as Sandy, and Lauren Real y Vasquez, as Pearl. Both had incredible voices.

Pearl and Mr. Crabs – Lauren Real y Vasquez and Fred Stack – photo by Ken Jacques

Kyler Watley, took on SpongeBob, doing an incredible job, also, with amazing chops. Another of my favorites, Plankton played by Oliver Caro-Wilcox He was your over-the-top – love-em mastermind. Plankton’s sidekick Karen, played by Alyssa Salacup, the perfect co-Hort. Johnny Hayes, plays the crowd pleaser Patrick Star. Seventeen actors,filled the stage most of the show, a huge amount these days when theaters are electing to stay with small casts. The cast came together to inspire us with joy and happiness.

Plankton and Karen the computer – Oliver Caro-Wilcox and Alyssa Salacup photo by Ken Jacques

Tremendous acting, nineteen sea faring songs, a beautiful orchestra, high energy dancing, colorful costumes which fit the characters to a tee, and yet for me something was missing. I decided later it was the musicality of the show. Although filled with fabulous voices, and wonderful tunes, for me it didn’t strike joviality. However, I’m a highly audible person and I had my eight year old niece with me who was restless.

The show has already been extended. Everyone else loves the show and I enjoyed it, too. If you love great acting and over-the top performances this is definitely your show. Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

Squidward and ensemble – Cole Atencio

The Spongebob Musical

February 3 – 27, 2022

Coronado Playhouse

1835 Strand Way Coronado


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