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'SpongeBob Musical' features tunes by Steven Tyler, Cyndi Lauper

"We're deploying some unconventional stage craft that will prove that anything can happen in Bikini Bottom," says director Tina Landau.

By Karen Butler
'SpongeBob Musical' features tunes by Steven Tyler, Cyndi Lauper
The stage show is inspired by the animated TV series "SpongeBob SquarePants" and his life in Bikini Bottom. File Photo by Heinz Ruckemann/UPI | License Photo

CHICAGO, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- The world-premiere production of The SpongeBob Musical is to begin performances June 7 at Broadway in Chicago's Oriental Theatre, producers announced Monday.

The limited engagement is to run through July 3. Inspired by the animated TV series SpongeBob SquarePants, the stage show was co-conceived and directed by Tina Landau, with a book by Kyle Jarrow and music supervision by Tom Kitt.

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"The end is near. Only one sponge can save the day. But he's going to need help from some of the greatest songwriters in rock and pop music history," a synopsis said.

The SpongeBob Musical will feature original songs by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Jonathan Coulton, Dirty Projectors, The Flaming Lips, John Legend, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T's, They Might Be Giants and T.I., with an additional song by David Bowie and additional lyrics by Jonathan Coulton.

Following its engagement in Chicago, the musical will open on Broadway during the 2016-17 theater season.

Casting for the Nickelodeon-produced show will be announced shortly.

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"I was drawn to this project not only for its wild theatrical possibility, but also because I felt SpongeBob, at its core, is a layered and hilarious ensemble comedy," Landau said in a statement.

"SpongeBob himself is, of course, its center and beating heart -- the eternal innocent in a sea of cynics. He's also the classic underdog hero, and so our production sets him on a hero's journey with real stakes, all the while retaining the show's trippy humor and irreverence. We're taking our leads from the TV show but this is an original story, with an original design approach, and original songs written just for the occasion by an amazing array of songwriters. 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 theater. 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."

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