The Tony Awards are highlighting strong plays this year.
Like many nominees, talent is present in abundance – with one of these players donning a very familiar, and rectangular disposition. Unsurprisingly, it is none other than Ethan Slater on the helm, netting the nomination for best actor award, as Spongebob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical is one of these big players. To sum it up, and sailing on the hype from the popular Nickelodeon show, Spongebob has found a solid place among theatre’s biggest.
Last Wednesday at the announcement ceremony, Slater had this to say:
The Knockturnal: Where were you when you heard the news?
Ethan Slater: “I was up at like 5:30 in the morning. I couldn’t sleep because I was nervous. And I tried to like, be really cool and just like, make breakfast. And I made an omelet. And I just like casually put up on my computer, you know, the Facebook live stream in the background, thinking that I would be able to just soak it in. And then I stopped everything, burned all my food and watched the nominations be announced.”
Making its world premiere in Chicago in 2016, Spongebob: The Musical has seen numerous nominations – alongside its current Tony Award nominee status – for outstanding feature, outstanding featured actor and outstanding costume design. The synopsis of the undersea tale follows typical Spongebob formula up to a certain point, branching off from the typical flavor of slap-stick humor and silly antics to dealing with the eruption of an undersea volcano.
The Knockturnal: How did you prepare for this role?
Ethan Slater: I think I was really fortunate to not have much time to prepare for the audition. I got the email – or the call – on April 26th, 2012. Which I think is cool because it was just 6 years ago. But then it was for the next day. There were four pages of sides. And they asked me to prepare a physical comedy bit. So there was no singing or anything. There was just physicality. So I stayed up until 4 in the morning on the quad in front of my dorm at school, just like preparing this physical comedy routine. And then I had to do the same thing the next day for the call-back which was come up with a new routine, which was a dance to Billie Jean by Michael Jackson. Intentionally bad. And there was a bee trying to attack me, so yeah, naturally. That was my audition, which was wild.
The Tony Awards 2018 air on June 10th.