Behind the Curtains of The SpongeBob Musical


Kelsey Hamilton, Staff Writer

After almost two years, Seattle Prep’s Drama Department was finally able to do their first musical in two years.  

Set in Bikini Bottom and based off the well-known cartoon SpongeBob, the musical was full of hilarity that kept the audience wanting more the entire time. The energy radiating from the actors filled the theatre. Rachel Fry ’24 went to see the musical on opening night and was immediately invested in the plot. “It was clear the cast members were excited and happy to be performing and that added a lot of fun to the experience and made it more enjoyable as an audience,” said Fry. 

It certainly is true that the energy in the theatre created by the actors truly enhanced the performance. By having an exhilarated cast, the audience fed off that and became even more energized and intrigued. Mai Nguyen ’22, who played the role of Squidward, felt that energy on stage. “You can build off the energy of the live audience, you want to keep singing and acting. It makes everything worth it,” said Nguyen. 

A challenge that Nguyen noted having was how the live orchestra that accompanied the musical had only been practicing with them for a week before the show, and that it was very nerve-wracking. However, in the end it worked out perfectly, and the live orchestra was the cherry on top of a hilarious musical. “It was so amazing because it tied the whole show together. It made people more motivated and made the show more alive and real,” explained Nguyen. 

The live orchestra contributed to the onstage performance by emphasizing certain parts of the show. While the orchestra was comprised of several people who did not go to Prep, there were a couple of Panthers among them. Ben Jammes ’24, played the cello. It’s important in a musical to have a live orchestra instead of a soundtrack. Jammes explained, “The energy that it gives off is better and easier to act off and sing with because it is live. We can adapt to each other and to each other’s mistakes. A live orchestra has more expression in general because it is less about playing perfectly and more about sound.” 

Another essential part of the musical was the lighting and the sound that accompanied the different acts. They both helped to create a visual of the scene and had the ability to transport the audience to Bikini Bottom. It takes a lot of people to pull this off, and the entire crew did an amazing job. Conor Gent ’22, head of tech, explained why lighting and sound are such a crucial part of pulling off a musical. “Lighting has a huge impact. It is already programmed, and it helps different scenes. Spotlights help focus on which character is important in that moment.” 

“The SpongeBob musical” was a big hit but might seem like an unusual choice to some. Adam Othman, director, and producer of the show, first saw the performance on Broadway and knew that he wanted to direct it one day. Coming back from COVID, he had a specific vision in mind for his future shows. “I wanted to do shows that were fun and people laugh and smile because I think that’s what we need in the world,” Othman explained.  

The musical did not disappoint in laughter or creativity. The hard work and effort that everyone put in could be seen in the performance.  “When it all comes together it is a beautiful thing,” said Othman.