THE SPONGEBOB MUSCAL Comes to Theatre in the Park This Week

The show opens Friday, July 29 and runs through Sunday, July 31.

By: Jul. 27, 2022
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THE SPONGEBOB MUSCAL Comes to Theatre in the Park This Week

Remember SpongeBob Square Pants, the joyful, fun-loving, childish, and accident-prone sea sponge who starred in the Nickelodeon television series? While Kansas City is far from his ocean home, SpongeBob and his beloved friends have found their way to Theatre in the Park in "The SpongeBob Musical," the final OUTDOOR production of the 2022 summer season!

"The SpongeBob Musical" opens Friday, July 29 and runs through Sunday, July 31, with four additional performances the following week on Wednesday, Aug. 3 through Saturday, Aug. 6.

Curtain time for all OUTDOOR productions is 8:30 p.m.; the box office opens at 7 p.m. and the seating bowl opens at 7:30 p.m. In its effort to make theatre accessible for all, the first Saturday of each production is a sign-language interpretation performance.

Winner of the Drama Desk Award for Best Musical, "The SpongeBob Musical" is the story of the title character - with his best buddies Patrick, Sandy, Squidward and others living their best underwater lives until they are confronted by total annihilation. With little hope on the horizon, an unlikely hero arises to save the day. Each song in the musical is written by a different artist providing the same hodgepodge flavour of the beloved television series.

"The SpongeBob Musical'' is the culminating effort for the inaugural class of the Emerging Theatre Professional Initiative (ETPI), a partnership between Theatre in the Park and The Lewis and Shirley White Theatre at the Jewish Community Center. ETPI is the brainchild of Guy Gardner, who also directed and choreographed TIP's production of "The Spongebob Musical". The program is providing an opportunity for theatre professionals at the beginning of their careers to train and develop their leadership and production skills while creating amazing art.

Eleven emerging professionals* have been working through the summer to collaborate and create theatre, while also growing their skills as artists, leaders, humans, and professionals in the industry. Throughout the program, emerging professionals are given the opportunity to stretch their legs creatively, experience constructive feedback, tackle areas of opportunity as they arise, and work collaboratively as they experience multiple viewpoints throughout the creative process.

"'The Spongebob Musical' was created in collaboration for dozens of famous musical artists - and we took that feeling into our creative process for the show," said Gardner, the ETPI mentor. "Utilizing the Emerging Theatre Professional Initiative to create 'The SpongeBob Musical' continues the tradition of collaboration in its highest form as we tell a beloved, silly, and heart-warming story on the Theatre in the Park stage. Audience members will enjoy a great story of friendship, acceptance, and just plain silliness as they enjoy the end of summer relaxing at The Theatre in the Park."

In addition to Gardner, "The SpongeBob Musical" creative team includes Jonnie Brice (music), Patricia Berning (costume designer) and Rebekah Grieb (stage manager), all of whom have served as ETPI mentors, as well.

"The SpongeBob Musical" cast is filled with both veterans and new performers. Bryson Kendall plays the title role in his first TIP production. Kendall was a finalist in the KC SuperStar high school singing competition and is majoring in music at MidAmerican Nazarene University. The character of Sandy Cheeks is played by Cara Parisi, also a finalist in this year's KC SuperStar competition. "The SpongeBob Musical" features several repeat performers from earlier TIP OUTDOOR productions including Weston Thomas as Squidward ("Something Rotten"), Phil Howard as Eugene Krabs/Patchy the Pirate ("Something Rotten"), Nicole McCroskey as Karen the Computer ("Descendants"), and Mia Cabrera as Pearl Krabs ("School of Rock"). TIP veteran Hewleek McCoy portrays Patrick Star while twin brothers Luke and Paul Harweth as well as Jerry Birts return as dancing sensations in the ensemble. The cast even includes one "out-of-towner" - ensemble member Grayson Maples from Victoria, Texas - who is spending her summer in the metro area.

TIP goes INDOOR this fall with the production of "Always, Patsy Cline" (Sept. 30-Oct. 16) and the delightful family favorite "Seussical the Musical" highlighting the winter holiday season (Dec. 9-23.)

Park movies are free this summer!

Thanks to Arvest Bank, J.E. Dunn Construction and the Parks and Recreation Foundation of Johnson County are sponsoring the program this year and all movies are free! And we have expanded locations to include Meadowbrook and Heritage Parks. Movies

Movies at Theatre in the Park include (Gates open at 8 p.m.; movies start between 8:30-8:45 p.m.):

  • Tuesday, Aug. 2: Disney's "Encanto" (rated PG)
  • Sunday, Aug. 7: Evening in the Park, movie TBA
  • Friday, Aug. 12: "Clifford the Big Red Dog (rated PG)
  • Friday, Aug. 19: "cars" (rated G)

Movies at Meadowbrook Park (9101 Nall, Prairie Village, KS on the Great Lawn)

  • Friday, Aug. 26: "A Bug's Life" (rated G)
  • Friday, Sept. 30: "Zootopia" (rated PG)

Movie at Heritage Park (16050 Pflumm Road, Olathe, KS, near Shelter #1):

  • Friday, Oct. 28: Disney Pixar's "Monsters, INC." (rated G)

Tickets for the OUTDOOR shows are on sale now. TIP OUTDOOR ticket prices are $10 for adults, $6 for youth (ages 4-10) plus tax, and children three and under are free (ticket required for entrance). Reserved seats and parking are also available. Tickets and further details are available at

TIP is a program of the Johnson County Parks & Recreation District and is the largest community theatre in the nation. TIP produces eight musicals annually with a company of Kansas City Metro area performers, directors, musicians, designers and staff for over 40,000 patrons thereby furthering its mission to enhance the quality of life in the community by providing a variety of entertainment programs through public and private partnerships. TIP sponsors for the current season include AdventHealth and FNBO.

CAST OF "The SpongeBob Musical"

(Character, Performer's Name, city of residence)

SpongeBob SquarePants - Bryson Kendall, Shawnee

Sandy Cheeks - Cara Parisi, Kansas City, MO

Squidward Q. Tentacles - Weston Thomas, Kansas City, MO

Eugene Krabs / Patchy The Pirate - Phil Howard, Kansas City, MO

Patrick Star - Hewleek McKoy, Olathe

Sheldon Plankton - Connor Kelly Wright, Lee's Summit, MO

The Mayor/Undersea Creature - Louisa Bartlett, Shawnee

Electric Skate/Undersea Creature - Annie Hennen, Olathe

Karen the Computer/Undersea Creature - Nicole McCroskey, Overland Park

Pearl Krabs/Undersea Creature - Mia Cabrera, Overland Park

Perch Perkins/Undersea Creature - Gavin Tanner, Lenexa

Sardine Soloist/Electric Skate/Undersea Creature - Brett Oplotnik, Overland Park

Sardine Soloist/Undersea Creature - Grayson Maples, Victoria, TX

Sardine Soloist/Electric Skate/Undersea Creature - Jaden Castinado, Overland Park

Old Man Jenkins/Undersea Creature - Morgan Ball, Lee's Summit, MO

Mrs. Puff/Undersea Creature - Ellen Welander, Lawrence, KS

Undersea Creature

Beth Anderson, Warrensburg, MO

Addison Landes, Olathe

McKenna Lewis, Overland Park

Eva Smith, Olathe

Kayleen Spear, Kansas City, MO

Myles Benefield, Olathe

Jerry Birts, Overland Park

Spencer Greenwood, Lawrence, KS

Luke Harweth, Kansas City, MO

Paul Harweth, Kansas City, MO

Tristan Jacobson, Kansas City, MO

Carter Stelting, Olathe

A.J. Valle, Lee's Summit, MO


Emerging Director - Zane Champie

Emerging Associate Director - Sophia Gayoso-Nordling

Emerging Music Director - Lacey Connell

Emerging Music Director - Ahafia Jurkiewicz-Miles

Emerging Stage Manager - Daniel Vazquez

Emerging Stage Manager - Emilie Christian

Emerging Props Designer - Emily Bridges

Emerging Costume Designer - Anna Kempf

Emerging Associate Costume Designer - Isabelle Porter

Emerging Choreographer - Alex Gumminger

Emerging Choreographer - Tara Burgat