A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The show intends to entertain rather than to educate.
Though they're not the primary focus of the production, astute viewers will pick up on some socially responsible themes woven through the story. Sandy faces prejudice for being an outsider, for instance, and SpongeBob questions his own sense of worth, but both situations eventually are resolved in happy ways. The production is a testament to artistic vision and expression.
Positive Role Models
Several characters are cast as dim for comic effect, including the town mayor whose leadership skills don't impress. Sheldon plots against his neighbors and is willing to use a pending natural disaster to advance himself. On the other hand, SpongeBob's sunny disposition and determination to save his home ultimately wins the day, and Sandy doesn't let other people's impressions of her cloud her self-confidence.
Violence & Scariness
Rarely stage slaps, but no actual violence.
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Occasionally characters call others names like "idiots," "jerks," or "loser," or say something is "stupid." One instance of the suggestive phrase, "not a chance in kelp."
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Products & Purchases
This live production is inspired by the series (and brand conglomerate) SpongeBob SquarePants.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The SpongeBob Musical: Live on Stage! is a broadcast performance of the Tony-nominated musical inspired by the popular animated series SpongeBob SquarePants. Viewers need not know the show or its characters ahead of time to follow the plot, but it's helpful and does contribute to a greater appreciation of the creativity involved in adapting a cartoon to a live stage production. The costumes, sets, and musical performances are impressive, and kids will like that SpongeBob's trademark silliness transfers well to the lead actor's work in this show. Some aspects of the story touch on issues like self-esteem and prejudice, always with positive results that make the characters happy. SpongeBob's brand of entertainment isn't for everyone, but those who watch will come away with a sense of wonder at the skill and artistic passion that's required for stage performances in general. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
What this stage production offers in visual appeal offsets a story that sometimes gets lost in its own multiple directions. It begins with SpongeBob's appeals to his boss, Mr. Krabs (Brian Ray Norris), for management consideration at the Krusty Krab, then swerves unexpectedly into a volcanic devastation plot, drops in Sheldon's maniacal scheming to accelerate the disaster for his own gain and Squidward's efforts to stay relevant, distracts Patrick with a bizarre fan club of sardines, and winds up with an unexpected hero attempting to save the day. It's not a seamless story by any means, and it's often really silly, but it does entertain with quality musical performances and impressive visual effects.
Parents who (are willing to) watch alongside their kids may find The SpongeBob Musical: Live on Stage! a helpful means of introducing them to the concept of stage performances through characters they already know. This production does an excellent job recreating Bikini Bottom and its colorful inhabitants through costumes, creative stagecraft, and physical acting that truly impresses in parts. Slater is good in the lead role, and Sajous delights as Sandy, but Lee owns the stage as the multi-tentacled Squidward whenever he's around. Ultimately the story is secondary to the visual and musical components in this production that has potential to entertain a range of ages.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.