The SpongeBob Musical Brings Bikini Bottom to Proctors
But not Daria Pilar Redus, the actor who will portray Sandy Cheeks next week. Redus grew up loving the television show and was unabashed in her adoration during a recent interview.
“I basically grew up with Spongebob. My morning routine with my brothers was to get up, eat cereal, get ready, and watch Spongebob before going to school,” Redus reminisced.
So when she was approached with the opportunity to appear on stage as Sandy Cheeks, the “brilliant scientist squirrel who is so brave, strong, loyal and selfless,” Redus explains, “of course I said yes.”
Redus grew up knowing and loving these characters and notes that the musical is more than a children’s television show come to life. It is a well-written musical that brings the characters more into reality, solving real crises while also singing, laughing and dancing along the way.
The show has the technology to make the sets as magical as the cartoon imagined Bikini Bottom. Set underwater in the Pacific Sea, The SpongeBob Musical ‘s set design uses current technology to transport the audience deep into the sea.
Redus anticipates that fans and lovers of Spongebob will find the show “light, goofy, but also suspenseful as it pulls at your heartstrings.”
Redus is a classically trained “legit” vocalist who graduated from Otterbein College in Ohio with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Acting May of 2018. She finds singing Sandy’s songs particularly challenging, as Sandy “lives in the belty, pingy land of a squirrel from Texas.”
Admiring her character’s sass and spunk, Redus was up for the challenge. She trained with vocal coach Kiana Willis, who helped her to learn what her voice can and can’t do. This allows her to really tap into popular music sound while also demonstrating vocal control and achieving clear pitch.
Redus admitted she wasn’t sure at first if she wanted to sing and dance after graduation from college, and was focused more on acting. After performing with the Utah Shakespeare Festival (Redus confessed she’s a huge Shakespeare lover), she started to explore musicals like “Repairable” in Las Vegas and a short run with “Aida.”
“I loved traveling, and I love Spongebob. I want to see different places in our country, and this show allows me to tie my love of the original show into my love of great music.”
The music is award-winning, in fact. It earned 12 Tony Award nominations when it first opened in 2018 and won for both the score and overall outstanding musical. The score is filled with music written by Top 40 Artists, including Sara Bareilles, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, John Legend, Panic at the Disco!, Plain White Ts, and David Bowie, among others. Redus explained the score sounds less like a broadway score “and more like a mash-up of rap, gospel, and pop music.”
Redus was enthusiastic about her role as Sandy, noting her favorite song is at the end of Act I. “Tomorrow Is” sums up who Sandy really is, both hopeful and courageous. Redus gushed about her enthusiasm to play such an iconic character who can comment on not losing hope during hard times. Although it may appear to be a musical with a younger theme, it echoes a lovely commentary on not losing faith during major crises.
Redus predicts this is a show we will be seeing “for a long time.” Nostalgic for the television show, but also palatable for adults and children, the show is reimagined into the musical, including older elements but adding enough new to garnish new fans beyond the original television program.
The SpongeBob Musical opens at Proctors next week on September 22, and runs through September 28th. Schenectady has the honor of being the first stop on the long-running tour; predicted to run through next July, Redus encourages readers to keep an open mind and check it out.
Just like Spongebob needs Sandy, Redus thinks we all need a little courage and hope in our lives inspired by Bikini Bottom residents.
Proctors Theatre has tickets on sale now. Advance purchase is highly recommended.