Reds’ Votto lends voice to Children’s Theatre production of ‘SpongeBob Musical’

The Reds baseball season might be coming to a close, but one of the team’s all-time legends is helping The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati open its 2023-2024 season.

Former National League MVP Joey Votto is lending his voice to the theater’s season-opening production of “The SpongeBob Musical: Youth Edition.” He’s playing the role of “French Narrator” in the show, introducing the audience to the world of Bikini Bottom.

A native of Toronto, Ontario, Votto grew up in Etobicoke, Canada. He’s fluent in French.

Votto pre-recorded his lines for the show and won’t appear live at the Taft Theatre for any of the performances this October. But this will be the first time he’ll have a featured role in any Children’s Theatre production.

The involvement of the Reds icon may take on extra meaning as Votto’s future with the team remains uncertain. As of Monday, Cincinnati is not in a playoff position and the six-time All-Star’s contract expires at the end of the season.

Joey Votto poses for a picture while recording his lines for upcoming performances of "The SpongeBob Musical" by The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati.
Joey Votto recording his lines for the upcoming production.

The show opens Oct. 14 and runs through Oct. 23. A sensory-friendly performance will take place Wednesday, Oct. 18. It’s intended for individuals on the autism spectrum, as well as children and adults with other special needs who may benefit.

Tickets start at $10. A complete schedule is below.

“We are so thankful to Joey Votto and his team for being a part of thebTCT season,” said Managing Director and CEO Kim Kern. “Our audiences will enjoy hearing a Cincinnati icon bring this character to life.”

Beyond the inclusion of Votto, “The SpongeBob Musical” allows the Children’s Theatre to open its season with a “splash,” according to Artistic Director Roderick Justice.

The 60-minute stage show is a musical adaptation based on the beloved animated series created by Stephen Hillenburg.  Audience members will go along for a ride as the residents of Bikini Bottom discover that a volcano will soon erupt, putting their humble home. It’s up to SpongeBob and his friends to come together to save the fate of their undersea world. 

The overall theme is optimism can save the world, per the Children’s Theatre.

Josh Galloway plays the role of unsuspecting hero SpongeBob SquarePants. Expect appearances from his friends and common counterparts from the long-running Nickelodeon cartoon.

Local 12-TV personality Bob Herzog stars as Sheldon J. Plankton and Aaron Marshall assumes the role of SpongeBob’s best friend, Patrick Star.

Other main characters include Henry Howland as Squidward Tentacles; Tommi Lea Harsch as Sandy Cheeks; Alec Harrison as Perch Perkins; Bobby Montaniz as Mr. Krabs; Makenzie Ruff as Karen; Kristen Das as Pearl Krabs and Brandi La’sherrill as Mayor of Bikini Bottom.

The book is by Kyle Jarrow. Tina Landau conceived the musical production. The show includes original songs by Yolanda Adams; Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith; Sara Bareilles; Jonathan Coulton; Alex 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. It also features songs by David Bowie, Tom Kenny and Andy Paley. 

Stage direction and co-choreography are led by Maddie Jones.

The show spans an hour without an intermission, so is ideal for children ages 4 and up.

“With songs from Cyndi Lauper to T.I. to Lady A, this musical brings to life the characters of Bikini Bottom,” added Justice, who also serves as co-choreographer. “This show will have the whole family singing and dancing out of the theater.”


  • Saturday, Oct. 14 at 2 p.m. (ASL interpretation offered)
  • Saturday, Oct. 14 at 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 15 at 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct.18 at 1 p.m. (Sensory-friendly performance)
  • Friday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 21 at 11 a.m. 
  • Saturday, Oct. 21 at 2 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 22 at 2 p.m.

Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati: SpongeBob the Musical

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