SpongeBob, The Musical?

By: Ruben Borjas, Jr., Columnist, Montgomery County News
| Published 03/18/2024


CONROE, TX -- “Oh! Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SpongeBob SquarePants!” Yes, kids into their thirties will have a vivid memory of the cartoon, and The Players Theatre Company production of “SpongeBob The Musical” has hit Conroe and your memories of the friendly sponge will be rekindled in this song and dance packed undersea adventure.

And even before the curtain is pulled back, Patchy the Pirate (Hunter Hovorka). A crusty mariner from Encino, takes a selfie with the audience, then is soon rushed off the stage by security guards, who warn the audience of cell phone usage. Then a French accented narrator begins, waking you up to a fresh day under the waves of Bikini Atoll.

We then meet SpongeBob (David McNight), the ever optimistic sponge who awakes, and starts up with ‘Bikini Bottom Day,’ which generally introduces the cast of characters. Prime among them are Patrick (Connor Evers), a starfish; Squidward (Kyle Hamsher), the ever grumpy, and constantly migrained octopus; and Sandy (Veronica Amandola), a homestate expat sharp as a tack land mammal squirrel.

You gotta love SpongeBob with his pacific blond hair and effervescent optimism. He looks at life through rose colored glasses, and why not? The World needs more joy, and he’s just the sponge to spread it.

The whole production is chock-full of vivid colors, brilliant costumes, and all manners of wigs/headdress, and jellyfish that best embody an animated scene from down below. It’s a complex show, with some ensemble cast members performing in so many musical numbers, that it’s hard to keep track. The cast is made up of dozens of very unique individuals, some quirky, well, in fact, most; but they come together and make an extraordinarily entertaining musical.

Older folk might be reserved at first, but I say “go with it.” I did, and I left the theater younger. A lot of pop and rock big names contributed songs. Cyndi Lauper, David Bowe, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry & Steven Tyler, Lady Antebellum, John Legend amongst others. The magic of the SBM is the mishmash of styles and voices, shapes and sizes, which melds to a coherency as a whole making for a great show.

The musical story is pretty simple. The rumblings of the nearby Mount Humongous signals an impending eruption that threatens to destroy Bikini Bottom. So it’s up to SpongeBob, Sandy, and Patrick, to stop the volcano and save their hamlet from total destruction. Sandy uses her smarts and comes up with a plan to stop the volcano. Will it work? Veronica Amandola captured the essence of her squirrel character, playing it perfectly.

Squidward’s (Kyle Hamsher) nasally voice and mannerisms in portraying Squidward were spot on. Plankton (Mark Doreza), impressed with 8 months of preparation. His rap and dance in ‘When The Tough Going Gets Tough’, were exciting to watch, as well as his backup dancers. Pearl (Victoria Tonsfeldt), the frustrated daughter of Mr. Krabs (Elijah Flanery), really impressed with her vocals in ‘Daddy Knows Best,’ and sang a memorable performance.

David McKnight played an impressive SpongeBob, and the amount of material he has had to absorb, no pun intended, is remarkable. He really knocked songs like ‘(Just A) Simple Sponge’ out of the park. His singing and acting are exceptional, and that goes for many in the cast as well.

The gospelly ‘Super Sea Star Savior’ performed by Patrick and the Sardines (Julia Brumfield, Mariah Graves, Colton Land, Victoria Tonsfeldt, and Mekhi Allen), will have you dancing in the isles.

Choreographer Meika Phillips did a wonderful job. The arranged movements were exciting to watch, and accommodated all the cast, no matter their ability. I appreciated the tall entertaining scenes with Plankton and his computer wife, Karen (Isabel Flanery), which took place on a platform above the stage. The homes of SpongeBob, Patrick, and Squidward were well constructed. The interpretation of the mountain and volcano by set designer Alyson Miller was very commendable. Sound designer Phil Harris made sure all marks were hit. The Music Director Brandon Christian, Costume Designer Dee Willis, and Hair/Makeup Designer Maddie Driver, should be lauded for all of their efforts as well.

Director Ashlie Driver did an amazing job with dozens of cast members. She’s not afraid to pray with her players, and I respect that. Her teaching style is one of bucking up her actors to get the best out of them, and they were at their best. She chose the cream of the crop for her production, and it worked.

The kids in the audience were well entertained. Little things like the friendship dance of SpongeBob and Patrick, put smiles on all faces. The quirky sounds brought joy, and the lighting was tops.

The SpongeBob Musical is more than a trip back in time for your 30 year old. It’s a reminder of good times spent with your kids, then and now. Because those kids are now taking their kids to the theater.

I give SpongeBob a big thumbs up. The cast certainly deserved their standing ovation.

See you at the Owen Theatre!

‘The SpongeBob Musical’ runs at the Owen Theatre until March 24th. or 936-539-4090.

Ruben can be reached at:

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