OUTLOOK: SpongeBob Macbeth-Pants: Two ends of the stage play spectrum take to Vicksburg’s stages

Published 4:00 am Sunday, April 10, 2022

Two live performances are scheduled to open in Vicksburg — one with a story dealing with the darker side of humanity, the other playful and lighthearted. Both, however, are sure to entertain audiences.

At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 21, the curtains will rise for Warren Central High School’s production of “The SpongeBob Musical.” Shows will continue at 7 p.m. on April 22 and at 2 and 7 p.m. on April 23 at the school, located at 1000 Highway 27.

The Vicksburg Theatre Guild will kick off performances of William Shakespeare’s, “Macbeth” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 22 with shows to follow at 7:30 p.m. on April 23 and at 2 p.m. on April 24 at the Parkside Playhouse Theatre, 101 Iowa Blvd.

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Sarah Goss, who has served as the director for many of the VTG productions, said taking on a classic has been challenging.

“This play has required more homework for both myself and my cast than any play I’ve ever done,” she said. “We’ve talked a lot about how we’re not just reciting poetry or prose; we are telling an actual story.”

Therefore, Goss said, the cast has had to pay close attention to their punctuation — “Pause when you are supposed to, and voice infection is critical. A question should sound like a question.”

Goss said she realized it would be difficult for her cast to act out a part when they may not be sure what they were even talking about, so she provided them with modern language translations.

This way, Goss said, “They could have a clear understanding of what they were saying and doing in each scene.”

Goss said she had never thought about doing a classic before. It was only after someone asked her to take on the project that she considered it.

“I had someone ask me to consider directing Shakespeare. It is a huge undertaking,” she said. “I hadn’t really considered it before, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. I spent months researching it before I settled on a play and felt comfortable proposing it.”

“Macbeth” is considered a tragedy, but Goss said it does have some comedic scenes.

“Macbeth has a big focus on the supernatural. The witches are fantastic. So is Hecate, the goddess. There’s also a very entertaining scene with the Porter,” Goss said. “It adds a nice bit of comedy in the middle of a very dark story.

“The entire play is really fascinating, though,” she added. “Watching Macbeth slide into madness is kind of horrifying. Realizing that Macbeth is not the truly evil one in the story is eye-opening.”

In a different theatrical genre, “The SpongeBob Musical,” presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals, is a show that is an extension of the popular animated television series “SpongeBob SquarePants,” which first aired in 1999.

“This is a really fun production. It’s based on the TV show ‘SpongeBob SquarePants,’ but it is a completely new story written just for the musical,” producer and music director for the production Eric Johnson said.

Those familiar with “SpongeBob SquarePants,” Johnson said, will get to see all the familiar characters from the television production.

However, he said, the musical does not “try to be the show.”

“It is its own thing and is something I think kids will appreciate and for adults who never watched the show, I think they will also enjoy it, too,” Johnson said.

The musical score, in Johnson’s opinion, is one of the highlights of the show.

“There is not a single song in this production that I get tired of. I think there are some productions you listen to, and you say, ‘This song is boring, it’s not my favorite,’ but all this music is all good,” he said.

Original songs for the musical were written by artists including Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles, Jonathan Coulton, Alexander Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Flaming Lips, Lady A, Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants and T.I., and songs by David Bowie, Tom Kenny and Andy Paley.

The local production of “The SpongeBob Musical” has a cast of 40 with 25 crew members. Students, Johnson said, began rehearsals at the beginning of December.

Tickets:

Tickets for “The SpongeBob Musical” are $10 and $5 for ages 9 and younger and are on sale at www.showtix4u.com/event-details/63907 or at the door. Johnson encouraged patrons to buy tickets early.

Tickets for “Macbeth” are $15, $10 for ages 65 and older and ages 12 to 18 and $8 for ages 11 and younger and are available at the door. “Macbeth” is part of the VTG’s regular membership season.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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