It looks as though Alexander Hamilton will be facing some friendly Broadway competition from another influential leader.

A musical adaptation of SpongeBob, fittingly titled The SpongeBob Musical, is set to premiere this June in Chicago, eventually making its way to Broadway sometime during the 2016-17 season.

The casting for the production has already been announced and includes many new names to the Broadway stage. According to, Ethan Slater will be playing the title role, with Lilli Cooper as Sandy Cheeks, Gavin Lee as Squidward, Danny Skinner as Patrick and Nick Blaemire as Plankton.

So how exactly do you put a cartoon onstage? How do you take nine seasons worth of TV and turn it into one script with human actors playing famously animated characters?

Director Tina Landau has some ideas up her sleeve.

“We will present the world of Bikini Bottom and its characters in a whole new way that can only be achieved in the live medium of the theatre,” Landau said in an interview with “We’re bringing the show’s fabled characters to life through actors — not prosthetics or costumes that hide them — and we’re deploying some unconventional stage craft that will prove that anything can happen in Bikini Bottom.”

Yes, thankfully, the actors will not be in enormous mascot costumes. In fact, Spongebob won’t even be a square. The SpongeBob Musical will be taking a more minimalistic design approach. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Landau discussed her plans to have a more imaginative design instead of taking a literal approach when putting the cartoon onstage.

“There’s a bucket, and someone says, ‘That’s a restaurant,’ and so it’s [Plankton’s restaurant] the Chum Bucket,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “In our production, you might have a cluster of pool noodles and someone can say, ‘Look at that kelp,’ and it’s kelp. It’s a lot of unexpected materials that create our own makeshift, colorful, psychedelic world of Bikini Bottom.”

The creative and casting decisions aren’t the only things making this production unique. A wide array of well-known artists wrote the songs for the show, including Steven Tyler, John Legend and The Flaming Lips. There’s even a contribution from the late David Bowie.

The group of successful musicians writing for the show along with a more minimalistic design is a smart approach that may draw a more diverse audience in terms of age. The musical will be an obvious draw for children, but could also draw a lot of young adults looking to relive the days of watching the cartoon back in 1999.

Although it definitely seems like a stretch to put Spongebob onstage, maybe going a little too far is just the nature of SpongeBob itself. No one could have expected a show about an animated sea sponge that works at a fast food restaurant to become the highest rated series ever to air on Nickelodeon. SpongeBob has never been conventional, predictable or solely geared toward children (remember the episode when SpongeBob and Patrick find an abandoned baby scallop and are forced to confront the unfair and sexist realities of gender stereotypes associated with parenting?).

Moving that famous pineapple out from under the sea and onto the Broadway stage probably won’t be a smooth transition. But with an interesting concept and a stellar music writing team, maybe Spongebob will surprise us yet again.