There’s a SpongeBob Squarepants musical coming next year, and the beloved Nickelodeon character and all his friend will be getting help from some A-list musicians. David Bowie, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, The Flaming Lips, T.I., and others will create original songs for the stage production, according to Entertainment Weekly.
“SpongeBob long ago transcended the TV screen to become a pop culture icon inspiring everyone from kids and families to artists and musicians, pro athletes, movie stars, fashion designers, social media mavens and even the President,” explained Viacon exec Cyma Zarghami in a statement.
The production is being described as “a rousing tale of a simple sea sponge, who faces the unfathomable.” Tina Landau is slated to direct, Kyle Jarrow will write, and Tom Kitt will be the music supervisor.
“We’re taking leads from the TV show, but this is an original story with an original design approach and original songs written just for the occasion by an amazing array of songwriters,” continued Landau. “We will present the world of [SpongeBob‘s] Bikini Bottom and its characters in a whole new way that can only be achieved in the live medium of the theater.”
As Consequence of Sound notes, it’s not Bowie’s first time working with SpongeBob. In 2007, he played the role of Loyal Royal Highness in the franchise’s 2007 made-for-TV movie SpongeBob’s Atlantis SquarePantis.
The musical, which premieres in Chicago next summer before hitting Broadway in the fall, is expected to follow in the footsteps of the SpongeBob franchise’s success. The Emmy-winning animated TV series debuted in May of 1999 and has since had nine seasons and two feature film spinoffs. Most recently, the 2015 box office-topping film The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water grossed $311.6 million and received favorable reviews.