CHICAGO (March 18, 2023) – Kokandy Productions is thrilled to announce its 2023 season, including two fully produced musicals, plus plans for the return of the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival.
This summer, Kokandy will dive into Bikini Bottom with The Spongebob Musical, directed by JD Caudill. This “spectacular, effervescent” show (with original songs from Sara Bareilles, David Bowie, Aerosmith, John Legend, Cyndi Lauper and more) will have audiences swimming and with one of our most beloved contemporary pop culture icons. Ready to soak it in?
Breaking the surface and gasping for breath, Kokandy will then indulge ‘80s excess and “pure, decadent pleasure” with the Chicago premiere of American Psycho: The Musical, directed by Producing Artistic Director Derek Van Barham. Just in time for Halloween, the Chopin basement will be awash with outward appearances, inner demons and (maybe) a little blood.
The 2023 season will be produced at The Chopin Theatre, 1543 W Division St. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Single tickets for both shows are now on sale at www.kokandyproductions.com.
Producing Artistic Director Derek Van Barham comments, “We’re so excited for a season with a splash zone! We will continue to push the boundaries of the Chopin space, creating unique and immersive experiences for our audience. With The Spongebob Musical and American Psycho, opposites will attract! From Bikini Bottom to an NYC highrise, we’re exploring how an individual’s disposition can impact the world around them. Spongebob wants to save the world; Patrick Bateman wants to burn it down. Either way, let’s party.”
Kokandy also continues planning for the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival (CMTF), a showcase of new musicals from Chicago and around the country, Originally produced by Underscore Theatre Company, CMTF is designed to highlight emerging musical theatre creators. With an aim for a full return for the festival in 2024, Kokandy will announce more details (including the opening for submissions) later this year. Stay tuned.
Kokandy Productions’ 2023 Season includes:
June 22 – August 20, 2023
The Spongebob Musical
Based on the series by Stephen Hillenburg
Book by Kyle Jarrow
Musical Production Conceived by Tina Landau
Directed by JD Caudill
Press opening: Friday, July 7 at 7 pm
Plunge into this stunning all-singing, all-dancing, dynamic stage show! When the citizens of Bikini Bottom discover that a volcano will soon erupt and destroy their humble home, SpongeBob and his friends must come together to save the fate of their undersea world. With lives hanging in the balance and all hope lost, a most unexpected hero rises up. The power of optimism really can save the world!
The SpongeBob Musical is based on the beloved animated series created by Stephen Hillenburg and features a book by Kyle Jarrow, with original songs by Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles, Jonathan Coulton, Alexander Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Flaming Lips, Lady A, Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants and T.I., and songs by David Bowie, Tom Kenny and Andy Paley. Additional lyrics are by Jonathan Coulton, with additional music by Tom Kitt. The musical production was conceived by Tina Landau.
An exciting new musical featuring irresistible characters and magical music, this deep-sea pearl of a show is set to make a splash with audiences young and old. The future is bright, the future is bold, the future is The SpongeBob Musical.
September 14 – November 12, 2023
Book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Music and Lyrics by Duncan Sheik
Based on the Novel by Bret Easton Ellis
Directed by Producing Artistic Director Derek Van Barham
Press opening: Friday, September 29 at 7 pm
American Psycho is a ruthless and daring musical from Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening) and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Riverdale, The Picture of Dorian Gray). Based on the electrifying novel by Bret Easton Ellis, the musical tells the story of Patrick Bateman, a young and handsome Wall Street banker with impeccable taste and unquenchable desires. Patrick and his elite group of friends spend their days in chic restaurants, exclusive clubs and designer labels. But at night, Patrick takes part in a darker indulgence, and his mask of sanity is starting to slip…
About the Directors
JD Caudill (they/them) is a queer director, artistic director, literary manager and music director, whose recent direction includes I Promised Myself to Live Faster (Hell in a Handbag), After the Blast (Broken Nose Theatre), Southern Comfort (Pride Films and Plays), Bechdel Fests 4-6 + 8 (Broken Nose Theatre), Book of Shadows (Broken Nose Theatre), and other plays at The New Colony, Haven Theatre, The Runaways Lab Theatre, New American Folk Theatre, Hobo Junction, 20% Theatre, Paragon Theatre, Otherworld Theatre, Arc Theatre, 16th Street Theatre, Stage Left, The Syndicates and Red Theatre. They are interim artistic director of Broken Nose Theatre, where they’ve served as a literary manager and ensemble member for the past 5 years, and a proud ensemble member of Hell in a Handbag of seven years. As a director, their mission more than ever is to create queer art for everyone, for they want queer audiences to see themselves onstage more authentically than ever before, and to help non-queer audiences build empathy and understanding for our community.
Derek Van Barham (he/him) is a queer director and choreographer based in Chicago. He is the Producing Artistic Director of Kokandy Productions. He previously served as Associate Artistic Director of Pride Films & Plays (now PrideArts) and Artistic Director of The Ruckus. Directing credits include Children of Eden in Concert (Broadway In Chicago), Sweeney Todd and Head Over Heels (Kokandy); The View Upstairs (Circle Theatre); Three Days of Rain(Boho Theatre); Baby with the Bathwater (Eclipse); Miracle by Dan Savage, Poseidon, Skooby Don’t (Hell in a Handbag); Hot Pink, TRASH (New American Folk); Taylor Mac’s A Walk Across America for Mother Earth (CCPA); From These Fatal Loins (The Ruckus); Homos, or Everyone in America, Perfect Arrangement, Angry Fags in Steppenwolf Garage Rep, Songs from an Unmade Bed (Jeff nomination), and PRISCILLA, Queen of the Desert (PFP). He was named one of Windy City Times 30 Under 30, recognizing individuals from Chicago’s LGBTQ community. IG @ dvbarham. www.derekvanbarham.com
About Kokandy Productions
Founded in 2010, Kokandy Productions seeks to leverage the heightened reality of musical theater to tell complex and challenging stories, with a focus on contributing to the development of Chicago-based musical theater artists, and raising the profile of Chicago’s non-Equity musical theater community.
The company’s artistic staff is comprised of Derek Van Barham (Producing Artistic Director), Scot T. Kokandy (Executive Producer), Jeff Meyer (Web Manager/Graphic Designer), Adrian Abel Azevedo and Leda Hoffmann (Artistic Associates).