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Show # 8
St. Pius X High School
The SpongeBob Musical
Director: Anna Seguin

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Hayel Abu-Amdan, Critic

Hayel Abu-Amad, Critic
Colonel By Secondary School

Under the sea and onto the stage, St. Pius X High School brought the whimsical world of Bikini Bottom into vibrant reality with their production of The SpongeBob Musical. Bursting with colour, energy, and a sea of familiar faces, this rendition of the beloved animated series made waves with its lively performances and imaginative production elements.

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The SpongeBob Musical is a theatrical adaptation of the beloved Nickelodeon cartoon conceived by Stephen Hillenburg. Set in the fictional underwater city of Bikini Bottom, the musical portrays the residents grappling with a significant threat: the imminent eruption of Mount Humongous. Protagonist SpongeBob, alongside his companions Patrick and Sandy, unite in a collective effort to stop the impending disaster and safeguard their beloved home. Crafted by Kyle Jarrow, the musical’s narrative is underscored by original compositions contributed by notable figures such as Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Cyndi Lauper, and Jonathan Coulton.

Bella Lortie’s portrayal of SpongeBob was nothing short of magnificent. With boundless energy and infectious enthusiasm, Lortie captured the essence of the iconic character, bringing him to life with charisma and charm. Throughout the performance, Lortie maintained a captivating stage presence, embodying SpongeBob’s optimistic spirit and unwavering determination. This performer’s rendition of the beloved sponge was a standout highlight, anchoring the production with flair and finesse.

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The SpongeBob Musical
(From Left to Right) Shahed Lababidi as Plankton, Miles Boode as Squidward, Bella Lortie as SpongeBob, Em Roach as Patrick and Raevyn Viner as Sandy in The SpongeBob Musical performed at St. Pius X High School on March 23, 2024. Photo by Jesse Whitteker /Student

Em Roach shined as SpongeBob’s loyal friend Patrick Star. Roach’s comedic timing and endearing portrayal perfectly captured Patrick’s lovable goofiness and charming innocence with every well-delivered line. Raevyn Viner rounded out the trio as the resourceful Sandy Cheeks, infusing the character with spunk and sass. Together, Lortie, Roach, and Viner formed a dynamic trio, each contributing to the show’s overall success with their impressive performances.

Nestled in the bustling Bikini Bottom business hub was the iconic Mr. Eugene Krabs, portrayed by Micheal Sammurtok-Akerolik. With an insatiable appetite for money, Sammurtok-Akerolik’s portrayal of Mr. Krabs was spot-on, infusing the character with the greed and charm that defines Mr. Krabs in the world of Bikini Bottom. The Electric Skates and Sardine ensembles brought additional depth to the production, showcasing a range of talents and abilities. From lively dance numbers to memorable musical performances, every member of the cast contributed to the immersive experience, creating a cohesive and engaging ensemble dynamic.

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The St. Pius X Technical Theatre Guild excelled in their execution of props and costumes. The glow-in-the-dark sponges featured in “(I Guess I) Miss You”, were a visual delight, adding an extra layer of magic to the performance. Additionally, the skillful manipulation of lighting by Georgia Malpass and Keegan Tittarell added an enchanting element to the production. Their thoughtful attention to detail, highlighted by moments like Plankton’s green spotlight, enhanced character appearances and contributed significantly to the overall spectacle of the show.

The sound department, led by Alessa Ciliberto, Matteo Calvano, and Tanner Emad, made clever use of sound effects to enhance comedic moments and underscore key scenes. The incorporation of iconic dolphin sounds to cover up Mr. Krabs’ colourful language added a humorous touch, enriching the show’s playful atmosphere.

St. Pius X High School’s rendition of The SpongeBob Musical was a whirlpool of delight, immersing audiences in the world of Bikini Bottom from the first bubble to the final pineapple under the sea. With performances that sizzled hotter than a Krabby Patty on the grill, and production elements as colourful as a rainbow jellyfish, the cast and crew brought SpongeBob’s underwater antics to life with the energy and enthusiasm of a “Best Day Ever”.

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Calia Hare

Calia Hare, Critic
Colonel By Secondary School

Welcome to Bikini Bottom, where a southern squirrel, a musical cephalopod, a simple starfish, a singing sponge, and other aquatic anomalies navigate the end of the world. Seamlessly transferring the depths of the ocean to the stage, St. Pius X High School’s production of The SpongeBob Musical was whimsical and wondrous, capturing the essence of this underwater adventure with delightful charm.

Adapted from the 1999 Nickelodeon cult-classic animated series, The SpongeBob Musical features songs written by mainstream musical icons such as David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants, and more. Along with a stacked musical score, The SpongeBob Musical tells an engaging story about SpongeBob, along with his friends Patrick and Sandy, who have to save their home of Bikini Bottom from a volcano set to erupt in 36 hours. Meanwhile, the evil amoeba Plankton and his computer wife Karen attempt to foil the trio’s plan by turning the townsfolk against them.

Raevyn Viner embodied the role of the Texan scientist Sandy Cheeks with ease and jaw-dropping precision, emulating the beloved rodent’s light southern drawl and nerdy mannerisms to a tee. Viner’s portrayal of Patchy the Pirate was equally stunning, and the ability to flip between the two characters at the drop of a pirate’s hat was seamless and a true demonstration of Viner’s flexibility as a performer. Similarly, almost every other performer was playing multiple roles, and their execution of switching between characters was equally as impressive.

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The lighting team, led by Georgia Malpass, was able to perfectly illuminate the set in a way that remained faithful to the whimsical atmosphere of the source material while still being unique and visually stunning. The projections on the ceiling of light dancing on the surface of the water added an extra dimension to the set and production.

Bella Lortie gave a delightfully energetic performance as SpongeBob SquarePants. With a wide smile and boundless enthusiasm, Lortie perfectly embodied the sponge’s ability to smile no matter how frightening things got. With a larger-than-life stage presence and the ability to pull all eyes to the character at any moment, Lortie brought an element of whimsy to every scene. Em Roach played SpongeBob’s best friend, Patrick Star, delivering iconic one-liners with perfect comedic timing. The pair had a natural chemistry, highlighted in songs like “BFF” and “(I Guess I) Miss You”.

St. Pius X High School’s rendition of The SpongeBob Musical was a delightful blend of talent and creativity, capturing the essence of the beloved characters and their underwater world with whimsy and charm, leaving audiences thoroughly entertained and enchanted.

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Safya Khan

Safya Khan, Critic
Colonel By Secondary School

Ladies and Gentlefish, boys and gills, steady your sails for St. Pius X High School’s oceanic production of The SpongeBob Musical, where SpongeBob proves to himself and Bikini Bottom that he’s much more than just a simple sponge. Accompanied by adored characters from the classic Nikelodeon franchise, the fate of SpongeBob’s underwater home rests in his absorbent, yellow, and porous hands.

In the zany deep-sea town of Bikini Bottom, its inhabitants get wind of sea-shattering news: the long dormant volcano, Mount Humongous, is going to erupt and obliterate all they know and love. Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, our unlikely hero SpongeBob and his idiosyncratic allies must navigate the choppy waters of this impending disaster, as well as the enigmatic inner mechanisms of their minds – exploring teamwork and overcoming insecurities.

The SpongeBob Musical
Raevyn Viner as Sandy and Bella Lortie as SpongeBob in The SpongeBob Musical performed at St. Pius X High School on March 23, 2024. Photo by Jesse Whitteker /Student

It was all hands on deck with the cast of iconic and endearing characters, led by Bella Lortie as good-natured and enthusiastic fry cook SpongeBob SquarePants, making waves with contagious energy, physical comedy, and charm. Accompanying Lortie was Em Roach in the role of amusingly dimwitted Patrick Star, and Raevyn Viner as Texan genius and landlubber Sandy Cheeks. The trio’s vocals, notably in “Hero is My Middle Name,” delivered a steady euphony. Micheal Sammurtok-Akerolik was the greedy capitalist Mr. Krabs, and Megan Rola portrayed his teenage daughter Pearl Krabs. The duo worked collaboratively, with Sammurtok-Akerolik’s mannerisms accentuating Krab’s comedic arrogance and Rola’s bold vocals capturing Pearl’s yearning for independence in “Daddy Knows Best.”

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The choreography was as playful as the Bikini Bottom townsfolk, and the lively and vibrant set illustrated the brilliant underwater atmosphere, with small handcrafted details resembling barnacles, kelp, and anemones on the ocean floor. Vivid hues of light washed the set in dynamic and fluid colour: with a sea-sponge yellow representing SpongeBob, a coral pink for Patrick, and a bright seaweed green for Plankton.

Optimism in the face of adversity: staying true to Stephen Hillenburg’s delightful and beloved sponge, at the end of the day everything was shipshape and Bristol fashion. In an ode to teamwork and friendship, St. Pius X High School’s production of The SpongeBob Musical was as comical as it was nautical.

Manita Gautam

Manita Gautam, Critic
A.Y. Jackson Secondary School

The world’s favourite underwater sponge came to life in St. Pius X High School’s production of The SpongeBob Musical.

Based on the iconic TV show developed by Stephen Hillenburg, The SpongeBob Musical first premiered in 2016 and has earned 12 Tony nominations. A volcano will soon erupt in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom and the residents each handle the imminent apocalypse in their own unique ways. The focus is on SpongeBob SquarePants, with his close friends Patrick Star and Sandy Cheeks, as he tries to save the town and prove he’s more than a simple sponge. The story also follows other fan-favourite characters such as Plankton, Mr. Krabs, Squidward, and Pearl as they go through their own wacky apocalypse plans.

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The St. Pius X Technical Theatre Guild brought Bikini Bottom to life with vibrant sets and enjoyable props. The set pieces were detailed and colourful, as if taken directly from the TV show. Pieces such as the giant Krusty Krab sign and cut-up pool noodles decorating the front of the stage stood out. Props like the whimsical umbrella jellyfish, Pearl’s clam phone, and the rolling Gary the Snail fit right into the cartoon world aesthetic.

If SpongeBob were a real person, he would act just how Bella Lortie portrayed him in this musical.  Lortie matched SpongeBob’s energy spectacularly, with expressive and animated body language and a powerful stage presence. Even while not the main focus of a scene, the actor remained in character, reacting how SpongeBob would. Always with a joyful smile, Lortie also matched the sponge’s cadence while speaking. Finally, Lortie sang beautifully, effortlessly reaching all the high notes and singing with a lovely powerful voice.

What is SpongeBob without his BFF? Similarly to Lortie, Em Roach embodied the airheaded and dopey Patrick Star stunningly. The actor had great comedic timing, a powerful voice, and good energy. Roach and Lortie also harmonised pleasantly in their duets together. In general, Roach had great chemistry with Lortie, making their friendship very believable. Comparably, Raevyn Viner gave a delightful performance as Sandy Cheeks. Viner’s impression of Sandy was extremely accurate and the actor had a beautiful singing voice. Altogether, the show had a nice cast of supporting actors.

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Along with the sets, the lighting was immersive.  Lights on the ceiling mimicked waves, adding to the underwater atmosphere. The colours of the stage lights represented both the emotions of a scene and  symbolised character relationships. For example, pink and yellow lights were used interchangeably  during the song “BFF” when the sponge and star duo were singing happily together.

The costumes for SpongeBob, Patrick, Sandy, and Pearl stood out with appropriate colours and matched their characters well. Sandy even had little ears! SpongeBob and Patrick matched the silhouette of their respective cartoon characters and had a beach vibe to them. Pearl’s outfit was adorable and fit her teenage-girl personality.

Overall, the cast and crew of St. Pius X High School’s version of The SpongeBob Musical put on a lively show, nicely representing the original material.

Lara Kylas, Lead Critic, Merivale High School

Lara Kylas, Critic
Merivale High School

“Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?” Why, it’s everyone’s favourite sponge and all of his beloved friends of course! St. Pius X High School’s rendition of The SpongeBob Musical is sure to take you on a fun-filled ride all the way down to Bikini Bottom.

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Tina Landau and Kyle Jarrow’s The SpongeBob Musical is a creative take on the hit television series with a thought-provoking message on the resilience of friendship during hardship. With songs written from the minds of David Bowie, John Legend, Cyndi Lauper, and more, this musical is filled with hits; jolly tunes and profound melodies alike.

The students of St. Pius X High School navigated adversities throughout the making of their production and embodied the meaning of the phrase, “the show must go on”. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Abby Pstross and Miles Boode took on the roles of Squidward and Karen at the last minute, and they represented the infamous grumpy squid and the witty computer with the finesse of long experienced performers.

Despite some technical issues with microphones, each member of the cast did a fantastic job at not missing a beat with their lines and projecting well; the work put into polishing their roles was clear as they could not be deterred.

Executing the iconic childlike personality of SpongeBob SquarePants is no easy feat, but Bella Lortie brought the beloved character to life. Lortie’s undeniable energy was spot on. Even when not taking centre stage, Lortie’s passion was kept at a maximum throughout the production, nailing the role of the fun-loving fry cook. In songs such as “(Just a) Simple Sponge” and “(I Guess I) Miss You”, Lortie proved that this sponge has depth with their sorrowful and impressive singing. Raevyn Viner’s soft and graceful voice was a great fit for the misunderstood and cast aside role of Sandy Cheeks, resident landlubber. Em Roach nailed Patrick Star’s simple yet effective jokes, perfecting the comedic timing of everyone’s favourite loveable airhead. The three actors did justice to the longtime friendship between the sponge, starfish, and squirrel.

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The SpongeBob Musical
The Sardine Cult worshiping Em Roach (Patrick) in The SpongeBob Musical performed at St. Pius X High School on March 23, 2024. Photo by Rob Ciliberto /Volunteer

This multi-talented cast proved you don’t need numerous actors to pull off numerous roles. The ensemble took on many roles, switching between a boy band, Patrick Star’s cult like followers, the classic fish friends from the cartoons, and more. Choreographer Caitlyn Kearney did a fantastic job at utilising the cast’s varied talents and levels of experience to create punchy choreography perfect for the show.

When tackling a musical based on an animated show, bringing cartoon physics to life is no easy feat. However, Stage Managers Alessa Ciliberto, Miles Boode, and Abby Pstross had creative solutions to these unique challenges. The stage management crew kept the audience on their toes with the incorporation of props when least expected, with humorous references to the show coming from every which way. Lighting, carried out by Georgia Malpass, was done tastefully, enhancing the colourful world of the deep sea. The thoughtfully incorporated colour schemes accentuated the playful feel of the musical.

F is for friends who do stuff together, U is for you and me, and N is for St. Pius X High School’s noteworthy rendition of The SpongeBob Musical, the result of a hardworking cast sharing their joy for theatre with the audience.

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About the reviews:

The St. Pius X High School production was reviewed by 33 critics representing 6 schools. The critic discussions were mentored by teacher Shoshana Keller of St. Francis Xavier High School and student reviews were edited and selected for publication by teacher Rebeca Ricardo also of St. Francis Xavier High School, who could see only the reviews, not the names or schools of the reviewers.

Next review: All Saints High School’s production of Mean Girls.

About the Cappies:

The Citizen and 21 high schools are participating in the Cappies, a Washington, D.C. based program that uses high school critics to review high school theatre. The program is a unique partnership between the Ottawa Citizen, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and the Ottawa Catholic School Board. Two schools from other boards in the region and one private school have also joined. The four winners of the lead acting categories will receive a bursary provided by the international law firm Gowling WLG Canada LLP. Follow Canada’s Capital Cappies on X (formerly known as Twitter) and Instagram @OttawaCappies.

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