'SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical' closes on Broadway as Palace Theater undergoes renovations

Fans of "SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical" won't be able to see the show on Broadway anymore, since the production closed at the Palace Theater on Sept. 16, but the good news is that the show is going on tour sometime in 2019. Meanwhile, the Palace Theater will also be closed temporarily, since the venue is undergoing extensive renovations that will include lifting the theater above street level to make way for retail space on the ground level, according to the New York Times. The Palace Theater is expected to re-open in 2021.

"SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical," which opened on Broadway in December 2017, is based on the long-running Nickelodeon animated series that has been on the air since 1999. Although the musical got mostly good reviews and was nominated for 12 Tony Awards (and ended up winning one Tony, for scenic design), it wasn't a big-enough hit at the box office to remain on Broadway. According to the New York Times, the show's capitulation was about $18.35 million, but was playing to less than 70 percent of its gross potential each week, and was losing money for investors. Even with Palace Theater closing, if the show had been a hit, it would have easily found another Broadway home. "SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical," directed by Tina Landau, had 327 regular performances and 29 previews on Broadway.

Kyle Jarrow wrote the book for "SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical," which features Tony-nominated original songs by a variety of music stars, including Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of AerosmithJohn Legend, Sara Bareilles, T.I., Cyndi Lauper, Yolanda Adams, Plain White T's, the Flaming Lips, Lady Antebellum and Panic! At the Disco. Ethan Slater earned a Tony nomination for his lead role in the musical, while Gavin Lee received a Tony nod for his featured role.

Tour dates and cast members are to be announced for the touring production of "SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical." The New York Times reports that Nickelodeon, the show’s lead producer, will also make rights to the musical available to school and youth groups sometime in 2019.

Meanwhile, "The SpongeBob Movie: It's a Wonderful Sponge," the third feature film in the series, has a release date of July 31, 2020.