On Saturday, Nickelodeon is bringing the acclaimed “SpongeBob SquarePants” Broadway musical to TV, with a cast including a UNC School of the Arts alumnus.
“The SpongeBob Musical: Live on Stage,” airing at 7 p.m. Dec. 7, features members of the Broadway cast, including Wesley Taylor, a 2008 alumnus of the School of Drama. It was filmed in front of a live theater audience.
Taylor plays the irascible Sheldon Plankton, which he performs using an eye patch to imitate the one-eyed character. In 2017, shortly before the show started its successful run, he described it as “a clever show, and it’s for parents too, not just for kids. It’s a little tongue-in-cheek and smart and political, and winking at the parents.”
“The thing is, you can’t help it when you say ‘SpongeBob’ some people immediately think ‘that’s not art, that’s going to be tacky, cheesy, touristy,’” he told me at the time. “You can’t deny Broadway capitalism, you can’t deny a commercialism of theater. ... My job is to be cast in it and to make it truthful and to endow it with as much truth and life and make it as honest as possible.”
The play went on to earn 12 Tony nominations, the most of any musical in the 2017-18 season, and won for best scenic design of a musical. It was also named Best Musical by the Drama Desk Awards and Outer Critics Circle.
The musical also has a cameo by Tom Kenny, the actor who originated the voice of SpongeBob in the cartoons, as Patchy the Pirate, who performs an original Sara Bareilles song titled “Poor Pirates.” Starting Monday, Patchy will also appear in five original shorts that will air at various times each day interviewing cast members.
The first — and sadly only — season of the TV series “Swamp Thing” is coming to home video.
The series, which was shown earlier this year on the DC Universe streaming service, was filmed in Wilmington and had a cast that includes Jeryl Prescott, a former Winston-Salem resident. The series was an atmospheric tale set in the swamps of Louisiana, where a scientist is transformed into a hulking beast. Prescott played Madame Xanadu, a sorceress. It was canceled after a single season — even getting its order cut from an initially-planned 13-episode run to 10 episodes — but gained a loyal following and some critical acclaim.
The series will be released on Digital HD on Tuesday, available on all major digital retailers including iTunes and Vudu; it will come to DVD and Blu-ray on Feb. 11.
You never know where folks from our area will turn up on national TV. Last Monday, NBC’s music competition series “The Voice” gathered fans from around the country of the various singers who are performing on the show. A young man named Angelo from Winston-Salem was there to support singer Will Breman. His fans are known as “the Blue Crew,” a name that they take because of his blue hair. (NBC has not yet responded to a request for more details about Angelo.)
Breman, a California native, is one of John Legend’s team on the show. Breman has Asperger’s syndrome, and his story has proven inspirational to many, including Angelo, who held a handmade sign saying “The #BlueCrew is Here For You.”
“I love Will, because his voice is undeniable and he’s the definition of what a true artist is,” he told host Carson Daly. “And he’s also inspiring so many people to be themselves and to chase their dreams. He’s inspired me to do so, and I love all of that.”
Breman is described by NBC as “a one-man-band soul musician and looper who creates various beats and loops them together to sound like multiple musicians.” On Monday’s episode, he demonstrated his versatility by performing the Doors song “Light My Fire” in the style of Jose Feliciano. The whole segment starts at the 31-minute mark of Monday’s episode, which you can see at www.nbc.com/the-voice/video/live-top-11-performances/4073135.