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SpongeBob on stage

Anyone who remembers the popular TV show The A-Team may well remember the catchphrase used by Hannibal Smith (played by George Peppard): ” I love it when a plan comes together!”

That has certainly been the case for us this summer as we have worked to put on a summer musical. It started with the realization we had quite a few students who were new to theatre, combined with several veterans who just graduated and at least three former actors in college who were willing to give up a portion of their summer to help. Along the way we picked up a recent college graduate as our lead, who is heading to law school! With that much willing talent we just had to produce a show this summer.

Of course, when people are giving up hours and hours of their summer, you owe it to them to put on something fun. So, we decided to tackle a very new, fast paced incredible comedy: Spongebob the Musical! It won the Tony for Best Musical in 2018. Unfortunately the Covid pandemic did not allow it to stay on Broadway very long.

Several things happened to make this “plan” come together beautifully. First, we went as a group (15 of us) to see the show performed live at UAB. Because of a connection we made with a friend in Birmingham who is a professional actor, the wonderful folks at UAB gave us a backstage tour! The next day they followed it up with an email saying how wonderful it was to meet our kids! They offered assistance in the form of costumes and props! They have loaned us about 90 percent of the costumes needed for the show!

Then, last month another boost came in the form of a Zoom call. Kathy and I have a former student in Los Angeles who is an actor, writer and producer for the Buzzr network. He worked years ago with Gaelen Gilliland, who originated the role of Mayor in the Broadway production. We were able to Zoom call with her for the better part of an hour! She was incredibly supportive and helpful to our young budding actors.

The “plan” has come together in 100 incredible ways. We have the voices, the actors, the costumes and the props we need. A very new Broadway show is not without some steep expenses. We are happy to say we were able to completely fund this show through summer activity monies provided by our assistant superintendent Dr. Kelli Hendon and by funds procured by Greg Foster, our superintendent, and through donations by local businesses.

So, we can offer this fun evening of entertainment to the public free of charge. It would be a great way to wind down your summer and get ready to start the school year. There will be one evening performance and that is Thursday, Aug. 11 at 6:30 in the Handley Auditorium. Please make every effort to come out and support the young actors who have given so much of their summer. You will not be disappointed – guaranteed!! Spongebob would say, “Could be the best day ever!”

Perch Perkins the news reporter (left, played by Jesse Baldwin) argues with Mayor (right, played by Naomi Champion) during a rehearsal of Handley High School’s summer theater show SpongeBob the Musical.

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