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 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.