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'SpongeBob SquarePants' Broadway musical sets closing date

Tony Award nominee Ethan Slater, center, who plays

Tony Award nominee Ethan Slater, center, who plays SpongeBob SquarePants on Broadway, may not be jumping for joy after the news that the show is ending. Credit: Joan Marcus

“SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical” will end its run on Sept. 16, producers announced Sunday. 

With an original score by pop stars like John Legend, Sara Bareilles, Cyndi Lauper, and Joe Perry and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith,  the high-spirited show, under the direction of Tina Landau, brought the popular Nickelodeon series to life, winning a Tony for best scenic design and six Drama Desk awards including best musical.  

Producers attributed the closing to long-scheduled plans for a major renovation at the show’s home, the 105-year-old Palace Theatre, which will be raised nearly 30 feet to allow for retail space at street level, along with a new lobby and dressing rooms.     

However there's no denying that the show, despite the imaginative Bikini Bottom playground that delighted even the toughest critics, floundered at the box office, with its highest grosses coming only during peak vacation and holiday weeks. When it closes, the musical will have played 29 previews and 327 regular performances.  A North American tour is planned for fall 2019. 

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