Friday, December 1, 2017

Fixation Friday In A Pineapple Under the Sea

A few weeks ago, the soundtrack to The Spongebob Squarepants Musical was released on Spotify. I can't stop listening to it. I've literally looped it like a toddler with a VCR remote (my age is showing and I don't care). I wrote an article for Monkeys Fighting Robots while the show was still in development about how excited I was to see it come to Broadway.

Now, I've had major objections to musicals based on kids shows/movies in the past. I hated Seussical so much that it became a joke among my friends, and my bestie Sara bought me the soundtrack for Christmas. I used it as a coaster for a while. Eventually, I warmed up to it as it was our spring musical that year. How could I resist? The same team created both Seussical and Ragtime--one of the greatest modern musicals in existence--and they didn't phone it in when working on the former.

Knowing this, I should have given Shrek a chance as soon as it came out. But I resisted again, declaring it the dumbest idea for a show since Seussical. Once again, the producers chose a Tony-winning team and the score frustratingly enjoyable. I've added a few tracks to my "LOOP IT TIL YOU DIE" playlist on Spotify. It's infuriating.

Important to note: I had little to no investment in either Dr. Seuss properties or Shrek when their shows premiered. The fate of the show had absolutely no effect on me, not in any real way, except that they took up space in a theatre where I would have rather seen something more original.

Spongebob, however, has been with me for 18 years. Spongebob is my sick day TV show. When I was in middle school, my favorite tee shirt was an oversized number with a giant Super Sponge on it. So, yes, I had a knee-jerk reaction when I heard the news: "another kids show on Broadway? The second MOVIE wasn't even that good." But I've learned my lesson. Shrek and Seussical taught me not to judge a musical by its source material, but its creative team and the risks it takes (Seussical has a ton of gymnastics written in to the show, Shrek has dance numbers and plenty of visual puns).

I took a deep breath and looked up news about the show's development...and wouldn't you know it? I was excited from day one. The set design includes found objects and pieces that fold in and around themselves over and over, transforming as though they are floating on the sea floor. The costumes humanize the characters without losing their signature pieces, and makeup/hair complete the looks.

By the time the full soundtrack came out I was practically waiting at my computer for midnight.
Any now I can't stop listening. Anything ever grabbed you like that? Yanked you by the lapels and screamed "HIT THE LOOP BUTTON!"? Let me know. I need a break from all these major chords and gospel hits.

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