There’s a new kind of Panic! in Bikini Bottom.
SpongeBob SquarePants bears his soul with unprecedented porousness in one of the first songs from the upcoming Broadway musical based on the gap-toothed Nickelodeon phenomenon. The stage adaptation SpongeBob SquarePants — The New Musical, which premiered to huge acclaim in Chicago last summer, is swimming toward a big opening this December at the Palace Theatre.
EW has the exclusive first listen to “(Just A) Simple Sponge,” a power ballad for SpongeBob (played by newcomer Ethan Slater) written by Panic! at the Disco frontman Brendon Urie, who himself made a big Broadway debut earlier this year with a turn in Kinky Boots. In no time at all, he’ll be back on the boards represented by his part in the score for the musical.
“Anyone who knows me is aware of my love of both Broadway and animation,” says Urie. “I’m so happy I was able bring a song to life that marries two of my favorite things for the SpongeBob SquarePants Broadway musical.”
While it’ll be swell enough to see characters like SpongeBob, Patrick (Danny Skinner), Squidward (Gavin Lee), and Sandy (Lilli Cooper) onstage in the flesh (or shells or scales), one of the musical’s biggest creative leaps is director/chief conceiver Tina Landau’s imaginative choice to recruit a dozen-plus singer-songwriters to pen the show’s genre-hopping score. Urie joins an ensemble of celebrated writers including T.I., John Legend, Cyndi Lauper, Sara Bareilles, Lady Antebellum, They Might Be Giants, and many, many more. For the full list, click here. Plus, check out the show’s brand new key art below:
As Landau told EW in 2016, each musician was tasked with writing toward a specific story beat, genre notwithstanding: “We very specifically asked all of the artists to write how they write, and not try to do what they think Nickelodeon or SpongeBob would sound like. What’s amazing is, when we hear them sung by our performers, you can tell exactly who wrote which song. We really wanted that difference.”
SpongeBob SquarePants opens on Broadway on Dec. 4, with previews set to begin Nov. 6. Long before then, the show’s original cast recording will be available Sept. 22 from Masterworks Broadway.