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14Apr

Osbourn Park High School in Manassas, Virginia, presented The SpongeBob Musical to the Cappies Critics on April 12, 2024. Here are the top two Cappies Critic reviews

Ellen Lawton

Herndon High School

 

“THE END IS NIGH,” every TV screen blares. Terrified clownfish and crustaceans are running amok in the streets. Desperate sardines search frantically for a savior. Looming over everything is the shadow of Mt. Humongous, minutes away from erupting and killing them all. In a situation so dangerous, there’s only one thing to do: gather everyone for a friendship singalong. At Osbourn Park High School’s production of The SpongeBob Musical, it’s love (not lava) that wins the day.

 

Based on the classic cartoon of the same name, The SpongeBob Musical premiered on Broadway in 2017. Its splashy, colorful score was composed by a variety of popular artists, including David Bowie and Panic! at the Disco, with a book by Kyle Jarrow and direction from Tina Landau. Audiences are washed ashore in the familiar town of Bikini Bottom, where a volcano threatens to explode in just two days. It’s up to SpongeBob and his friends to save their home, stop Plankton’s evil schemes, and maybe even prove to Mr. Krabs that SpongeBob is manager material.

 

Osbourn Park drenched its audience in the charming details of Bikini Bottom, with everything from sapphire light rippling on the ceiling to pool-noodle coral in the orchestra pit. Each costume was designed with care to look like real undersea plants and creatures. One could practically catch the scent of sea salt in the air. And the cast matched that level of devotion, creating a vibrant community of characters- from breezy kelp to bobbing jellyfish.

 

Alejandro Gonzalez Ramirez, as everybody’s favorite sponge, brought a lovable, heartfelt silliness to the show. With a bouncy walk and a bright smile, Gonzalez Ramirez energized every scene, proving why SpongeBob had been voted fry cook of the month for many years straight. Wyatt Jean, as SpongeBob’s best buddy Patrick, was just as engaging. As the town degraded into chaos, Patrick emerged as a "super sea star savior," and led his new followers in philosophical chants using his energetic tambourine skills. Completing their heroic trio was Savannah Smith as the Southern squirrel, Sandy, a scientist who mixed sweet and sassy like chemicals in a test tube. Smith’s voice paired beautifully with Gonzalez Ramirez’s in songs like “Tomorrow Is,” with harmonies as clear as sea glass.

 

Sharing the spotlight was Pearl (Alejandra Velez Ocasio), Mr. Krabs’ teenage daughter, who dreamed of becoming a singer. Velez Ocasio commanded the stage, belting note after note with unrivaled power. Megan Kaess, as Patchy the Pirate, was cheerfully ridiculous, sneaking onstage to make a "pirate copy" of the show and reminding the audience exactly who the president of the SpongeBob Fan Club was.

 

The vivid undersea world was meticulously constructed by the set team (Purnika Adhikari, Karis Judd, Patrick Manyin), whose vision included ocean trash like Stanley cups floating to the seafloor and being recycled by the residents of Bikini Bottom. The props team (Katherine Misero) gave huge matches and sporks to the villagers, as opposed to torches and pitchforks, to further make a point about environmental waste. The set team also constructed an impressive Mt. Humongous (voted most likely to kill you seven years in a row!) that reached up to the rafters and featured real rock-climbing holds.

 

Even a volcano can’t beat the power of teamwork, however. In the end, thanks to SpongeBob and company, Bikini Bottom lived to see another day. As Osbourn Park proved, anyone can be a hero- even a simple sponge.


Zoe Brennan

Westfield High School

 

Light filters down through the blue-green waves above, a golden ray of sun illuminating a vibrant orange pineapple resting upon the seafloor. Suddenly, with a jaunty ukulele strum and a cry of “Good morning, world!” Osbourn Park’s production of The SpongeBob Musical begins.

 

The SpongeBob Musical premiered at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago in 2016 before making its eventual Broadway debut in 2017, where it received twelve Tony Award nominations. It is based on the iconic Nickelodeon cartoon of the same name, which itself was created by Stephen Hillenburg. The musical’s book was written by Kyle Jarrow, and its score features music composed by some of the biggest names in pop music, including Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, and David Bowie.

 

Bikini Bottom is facing total destruction at the hands of Mount Humongous–a volcano that’s set to blow in just two short days! The only creatures with the know-how to save their town are Sandy Cheeks, a science-loving squirrel from Texas, Patrick Star, a starfish that makes up for his lack of brains with enthusiasm, and SpongeBob SquarePants himself–a fry cook with some serious management skills.

 

Alejandro Gonzalez Ramirez played the part of SpongeBob, bouncing onto the stage and immediately soaking up the audience’s attention. Gonzalez Ramirez traversed both Mount Humongous and the ups and downs of SpongeBob’s journey with the precision of an expert jellyfisher. Savannah Smith brought Sandy Cheeks–the brains of the team–to life, with acting skills ‘more serious than a guacamole shortage on Taco Tuesday!’

 

Patrick Star was played by the vivacious Wyatt Jean, who presented the audience with a faithful take on his performance by throwing himself into clever star-shaped poses at the end of his numbers and maintaining his classic, impressively accurate impression of the cartoon character upon which his role is based. Santino Stewart, who played Squidward Tentacles, executed a difficult tap routine in “I’m Not a Loser” while encumbered with twice as many legs as usual.

 

Alejandra Velez Ocasio brought the boy-band obsessed Pearl Krabs to life, with Velez Ocasio’s fiery vocals in "Daddy Knows Best" being more than worthy of a role onstage alongside the Electric Skates. Lastly, Megan Kaess did a phenomenal job as Patchy the Pirate, as well as a slew of other ensemble roles, running up and down the aisles with a ferocious glee and a gold-toothed grin as Kaess tackled the difficult measure of opening both acts of the show.

 

The backstage efforts of Osbourn Park’s technicians were evident throughout the performance, with one notable standout being the special effects team, headed by Ash Payne and Emily Ta. The bubble machines and projections featured in the show truly created an immersive atmosphere, placing the audience right in the center of the action. The show’s costuming was equally as impressive, with all costumes being made or significantly altered by Isabelle Manning, Brianna Lee, Madison Reynolds, Rylee Wyman, and their team.

 

Each actor and technician involved with Osbourn Park’s production of The SpongeBob Musical radiated joy, energy, and a clear passion for their craft, reminding the audience that with a positive attitude and the power of friendship, every day has the potential to be the best day ever!

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