Olathe West Theater is Set to Have Its Most Successful Show Yet

Emily Harter, Writer

Theater has put on numerous shows over the past five years, but their upcoming show, ‘SpongeBob the Musical,’ has sold more tickets and faster than any show yet. 

Male lead, Brandon Heflin and female lead, Annie Hennen sing a song from the musical together.

“This show is so recognizable,” senior stage manager Riley Keiter said. “Everybody knows SpongeBob and it’s one of the big reasons that we have sold so many tickets.”

In addition, the COVID pandemic prevented the group from putting on a traditional musical production last year, so this is their first show back. 

 “It’s getting things back to normal,” lead actress Annie Hennen said. 

Ensemble surrounds Plankton actor Stone El-Attrache as he does a monologue.

‘SpongeBob the Musical’ made waves on Broadway for gender bending the roles and Olathe West theater has taken this on even more by casting roles with a range of genders such as transgender and nonbinary people. 

Keiter shared the show notes that she is given as stage manager, “It says each production should feel free to double casted in ways that are practical, exciting and unique.” 

The show director Alisha Morris and Keiter worked together to do just that for the high school production. 

“We have a woman playing Patrick, a gender neutral person playing squidward and a gender neutral person who goes by she/they pronouns playing the understudy for patchy,” Keiter said. “We have a lot of diversity.”

Patrick (played by Lexie Eckles) sings a song with the sardine ensemble.

The last week before the production’s first show is referred to as “show week” by actors and crew. According to Hennen, the week can be stressful but she says there are more positives than negatives. 

“Honestly, it’s more fun than anything because you’re just spending time with friends and you’re doing the thing that you love and the thing that you’re passionate about,” Hennen said. “So it’s really great.”

Plankton and Karen (played by Meredith McCalmon) do a scene together.

Audiences will be able to look forward to recognizing some aspects of the tv show version in the musical according to Keiter.

“There’s one song at the very end of the musical, ‘Best Day Ever,’ that is taken from the show,” Keiter said. “And many Patrick quotes, you know that quote where he goes, ‘is mayonnaise an instrument.’”

The production will be held on Friday, Nov. 12 as well as Saturday, Nov. 13 and tickets are available at https://www.owtheatre.com/