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Second West End SpongeBob star sends support to Woodbridge theatre company as they reprise hit show

A West End musical star who played three different parts in the original SpongeBob SquarePants: The musical has become the latest actor to reach out with words of encouragement for a theatre company in Woodbridge.

Reece Kerridge, who grew up in Woodbridge and is now starring in a lead role in the West End’s Priscilla The Party, said he was delighted to see the Company of Four reprising the SpongeBob SquarePants production and had words of encouragement for the cast, saying: “Cherish every moment and have the best time embracing the challenges of live theatre, it’s wonderful to hear that SpongeBob SquarePants is being brought to audiences in Suffolk.

“It’s amazing when you see this cartoon that we know and love coming to life on the stage. The show is colourful, vibrant and an easy watch and I know the cast will love performing it.”

Reece Kerridge as SpongeBob
Reece Kerridge as SpongeBob

Reece’s support comes after fellow West End and Broadway star Gavin Lee, who was in the original cast of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical in the US reached out to the cast.

Gavin, who first went on stage at the age of eight with the Company of Four and went on to become an Olivier and Tony award-nominated actor, was cast as Squidward Tentacles in the Broadway production, said: “The Company of Four has a special place in my heart because it was where I first experienced the buzz of being on stage, developed the confidence to grow as an actor and fostered the foundation I needed to build a career in theatre.”

As the new recruits to the theatre group get set to reprise the show with a junior production they were delighted to hear from Reece, who attended nearby Farlingaye High School and had some inspirational words for young actor Benji Hughes, 12, who will play the part of SpongeBob.

Benji Hughes will play the part of SpongeBob
Benji Hughes will play the part of SpongeBob

He said: “Go out there and have the best time, be the most incredible character and enjoy every moment. You will be amazing.”

He added: “Being part of the touring cast of this show was an incredible experience for me. I played Old Man Jenkins and I covered the parts of Squidward Tentacles and SpongeBob during a six-week stint in London.”

Company of Four actor Benji said having support from stars like Reece means the world, adding: “We are all working so hard on rehearsals so to get some words of encouragement from Recce Kerridge is really cool. He is so successful and it’s amazing to think that he started out here, in amateur dramatics like me. That inspires me to keep going and do the best job I can.”

After dancing locally from the age of three, Reece went on to attend Laine Theatre Arts in Surrey and has since starred in countless productions including The Book of Mormon in the West End, as well as shows such as Elf the Musical, Peter Pan, Shrek and many more. He was also a dancer in the film Mama Mia: Here we go again. The musical star also performs as the drag artiste Gracie Lou, a sophisticated artiste who prides herself on a polished, poised and professional persona.

Neil Thorpe, Secretary of the Company of Four, said: “We’re thrilled to have the support of both Reece Kerridge and Gavin Lee as we prepare to put on this wonderful production. We’re all hugely excited to bring SpongeBob SquarePants to the stage – the hard work will all pay off very soon.”

SpongeBob SquarePants is the musical adaptation of Nickelodeon’s long-running animated children’s sitcom of the same name and is set in the undersea city of Bikini Bottom, inhabited by happy-go-lucky and ever-optimistic yellow sea sponge SpongeBob SquarePants and his equally quirky circle of friends and neighbours.

There are just three performances of the production across June 1 and 2 at Woodbridge Community Centre with tickets available now from the Riverside Theatre booking office.