Spongebob Squarepants ensemblist Kelvin Moon Loh takes us inside last night's invited dress rehearsal of the new Broadway musical.
While many in New York City were focused on the marathon this past weekend, the newest citizens of Bikini Bottom were focused on a different kind of run.
SpongeBob Squarepants, the Broadway musical, starts previews this week at the legendary Palace Theatre. A tradition in the theater community is to share our final dress rehearsal with our supportive friends and family- known as “the Gypsy Run”. Everyone who works for the production were allowed to invite guests before we presented our shows to the public.
My personal criteria for who I was going to invite-
1. Someone who understands that this is indeed a rehearsal and many elements of the show are still being worked on.
2. Someone who I was sure would return to see the show once we had a “final” product. (I say “final” because I believe theatre is a living breathing art form that never really finishes developing ever.... but that’s a longer conversation)
3. Someone who is really supportive and just sends great vibes to the stage.
I invited my boyfriend, Anthony Fett, and dear friend, EJ Zimmerman. They are theater gypsies themselves. In fact, on a night of a Gypsy Run, everyone in the audience is a gypsy- beautiful, creative, celebratory, loving gypsies.
During the rehearsal process and putting together a show, we are assembling all the important elements to make a successful musical- the words, the music, the dance, the costumes, the set, the props, the lights, the sound, etc. But not until the Gypsy Run do we add the final, and arguably, the most important element to any theatrical production- THE AUDIENCE.
“Theater Magic” has different meaning for everyone. For me, I believe that the magic is when the actors, musicians, crew, and audience all breathe together to create one perfect musical experience. The laughter and applause are just as much a part of the score as every note sung and played.
Having been part of an audience during other Broadway show’s Gypsy runs- I know how important this first impression is. The generosity of a truly supportive and positive spirit filled the Palace this Saturday night to capacity. The audience energy was the best “Welcome to Broadway!” gift we could have ever received. The lovable SpongeBob has always been a purveyor of optimism and sunshine- something that I could feel radiating throughout the entire building.
I didn’t think the lights of Broadway could shine any brighter. Apparently, a loving community can summon the sun as well.