Photographer Jenny Anderson (who shot our fabulous Classic New York Films and Tony Awards Parties photos) brings BroadwayBox backstage for an exclusive new series capturing Broadway companies getting ready to take the stage. For the next chapter, BBox goes under the sea and to the historic Palace Theatre to watch as the company of the inventive new hit SpongeBob SquarePantstransforms into their beloved cartoon counterparts.
The musical's unstoppable, breakout star Ethan Slater arrives to the theatre early and begins his extensive, 90-minute pre-show warmup to play SpongeBob.
If you've had the pleasure of seeing Ethan's truly athletic performance as the not-so-simple sponge, you get how important a good stretch is.
BRB, making this my new cover photo.
As we leave Ethan's dressing room, we run into the musical's "big" villain, Wesley Taylor.
How about how the Krabby Patties are actually stored in a Chum bucket?
Next we pop in to take in the colorful, fan-art-filled dressing room of Danny Skinner, who makes his debut as Patrick Star.
Over in her dressing room, the fabulous Lilli Cooper begins her prep to become Texas squirrel Sandy Cheeks.
Like the other stars, Lilli has a whole fan art section to her dressing room as well.
Beware of jelly fish as you wander the Palace Theatre.
Or you might find people warming up. Hey, Kyle Matthew Hamilton!
Oh my gosh, celeb sighting. It's the musical's genius director and conceiver, Tina Landau!
Any guess whose dressing room is next?
It's Tony and Olivier nominee Gavin Lee! His performance as Squidward Q. Tentacles is BEYOND next level. He taps with all four of those feet, people!
Gavin shares a laugh with his dressing room neighbor, Wes "The Situation" Taylor.
So much self-restraint not to throw on a jacket and kickline to "I'm Not a Loser".
Brian Ray Norris makes his Broadway debut as the Krusty Krab's money-hungry owner, Mr. Eugene Krabs.
Next stop is the ladies' ensemble dressing room, where we find Abby C. Smith applying her wild, blue Mrs. Puff eye makeup.
Likewise, Oneika Phillips knows a thing or two about creating a fierce SpongeBob look.
Over in the guys' dressing room, one of Broadway's most captivating dancers, Curtis Holbrook strums his guitar. In addition to his wild, roller Electric Skates number, Curtis also understudies the lead role of SpongeBob.
Hamilton and Hands on a Hardbody alum Jon Rua enjoys a bite before prepping for his entrance as Patchy the Pirate, the character who kicks off the whole show.
Kelvin Moon Loh (who plays reporter Perch Perkins) is very on brand right now.
JC Schuster (who has appeared on B'way in Soul Doctor and Fiddler on the Roof) brings the LOLs as Old Man Jenkins.
With crunch time approaching, it's time for Kyle Matthew Hamilton and the guys to get Bikini Bottom ready.
Allan K. Washington smiles on as Robert Taylor Jr. paints for the opening number.
This fish repping the ocean for the entire SpongeBob crew.
It's Abby C. Smith again, serving a big warm-up smile.
Wig time! Danny Skinner's Patrick transformation looks nearly complete.
Now he can take a moment to chill with Ethan Slater.
Wes Taylor is dressed, face beat, and ready for his Plankton ponytail and eyepatch.
We leave you and the SpongeBob gang with this photo of Lilli Cooper in full Sandy Cheeks drag because it is EVERYTHING! See her and the magnificent company live at Broadway's Palace Theatre.