By Alyssa Schnugg
Are you ready, Oxford?
SpongeBob SquarePants, the pineapple who lives under the sea, is coming to the Oxford High School this month, along with all his underwater friends, in “The SpongeBob Musical.”
Early access to reserved tickets is available through the OHS Theatre Arts Guild’s Grand Patrons program. General tickets go on sale on Feb. 15.
John Davenport, the OHS drama teacher, was first introduced to “The SpongeBob Musical” by a former student during a trip to Chicago a few years ago.
“I thought I am not interested in seeing a SpongeBob musical,” Davenport said. “I’ve never seen animated series. I knew nothing about it.”
However, after watching the musical, he became a fast fan.
“It was the most enjoyable and outrageous experience I’ve had in a long time in the theater,” he said. “I was smiling the whole time.”
Once the musical became available for open productions, he knew it was the kind of show his students would enjoy performing and one that any audience member would enjoy watching.
“We have a strong group of female vocals in our student body right now,” he said. “So I wanted something that was going to be able to feature that, but also something that was going to be contemporary and fresh.”
While watching an interview with the original creator of production, Tina Landau, Davenport noted that Landau said she would love to see a female in the role of SpongeBob.
“I said, ‘that’s it,’” he said.
Senior Tacie Mott was selected to play SpongeBob.
Mott, like her drama teacher, never watched the television show, “SpongeBob SquarePants,” when she was younger. She’s since watched the show in preparation for her role.
Her biggest challenge was learning to react the way the silly sponge would react.
“When we first started rehearsing I took it a very literal way, a way a normal human would react to the lines,” she said. “I had to realize that SpongeBob is kind of not very smart so he has to take things in a more happy, nonhuman way.”
Everett Heuer plays the grumpy and pretentious Squidward Q. Tentacles, a role he was hoping to get when he auditioned. He did grow up watching the television series.
“He’s the only one that keeps it real,” Heuer said of his character. “Everybody else is really happy and giddy. He’s the most relatable character.”
Heuer said his biggest challenge was keeping Squidward, Squidward without being able to rely on animation.
“On the show, they can animate his expressions,” he said. “On stage, you have to be big, which is not a Squidward trait on the show. So trying to be big but also be Squidward, it’s hard to find that middle ground.”
Miles Caradine is the student director of the show, working with Davenport and creating costumes and set designs.
The colorful costumes and set designs are a big undertaking for the drama crew but a challenge Caradine welcomes.
“This show is unlike any other show that we’ve done in a while because it doesn’t really have to pertain to real life at all. It kind of just has to give that larger-than-life cartoon feeling,” he said. “So anything that catches your eye can work here. It doesn’t have to be realistic looking at all. It’s just about having fun with the whole thing.”
“The SpongeBob Musical” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 24-26 in the Fine Arts Building on the OHS campus.
Tickets are on pre-sale for Grand Patrons this week on the ticketing website. To become a Grand Patron, type in the words, “Grand Patron” in the pre-sale access code box in the upper right corner.
Being a Grand Patron gives the first choice of desired seats before tickets are released to the general public. Each ticket costs $15 dollars and Grand Patrons will be listed in the production Playbill to this year’s musical.
Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Feb. 15. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and are available on the ticketing website.