Ambitious SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS Pit Orchestra Hires Mayonnaise Player
by Matt Keeley. @reallymattkeeley.
GLENCOE, IL - As a tribute to the beloved Nickelodeon animated series, an ambitious regional production of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical is reimagining its pit orchestra instrumentation by hiring a mayonnaise player.
“This is a musical that really thrives on the eclectic voices contributing to it. Each song is written by a different composer, spanning genres from country to hip hop and pop rock, yet it comes together in a wacky celebration of the citizens of Bikini Bottom,” explained director Connie Petrillo while pushing a half-full shopping cart through the condiment aisle at Jewel-Osco. “So when Patrick asks if mayonnaise is an instrument in the seminal episode ‘Band Geeks’, I thought to myself, ‘why not?’”
Buoyed by her sense of inventive curiosity, the production team sought out the services of conceptual musician and foley artist Teddy DeLong, the company’s first self-proclaimed Aolist.
“There’s such a wide breadth of musicality when it comes to the humble mayo. There’s plops, slops, thwaps, slaps, and any manner of squelches and spreads,” DeLong noted, sitting at a station of twenty-four chromatically-tuned mayonnaise jars beside assorted breads, french fry baskets, and bowls of potato salad. “And truth be told I’m partial to making my own, but store-bought works in a pinch. Just remember to refrigerate your instruments afterward.”
In keeping with SpongeBob’s boundless optimism, the production has found an unconventional approach to a new standard for the show.
“It’s a great catch-all percussive option, but over the entire score there are so many moments that can be highlighted – flavored, if you will – by a good mayonnaise riff,” expressed music director Alex MacLeod, wiping off a splattered music stand after a particularly lively rehearsal. “Trust me: when you hear the score this way, you’ll never want to go without it again. It makes 'Super Sea Star Savior' much more savory. 'Chop to the Top' with mayo plops is a certified bop. And the way Teddy makes the radar blips at the end of 'No Control' is enough to make both David Bowie and Martha Stewart smile.”
“Plus,” he added, “if you stick the front of a trombone in a bowl of mayo and give it a few good toots, it makes the perfect sound of Squidward walking.”
While rehearsals are still underway, producers have hinted at expanding the show’s orchestration even further to include instruments of torture and horseradish as well.