Lauren Worsham and Kyle Jarrow on Sky-Pony and SpongeBob

The married performers spill the secrets of their latest projects.

Lauren Worsham (center), Kyle Jarrow (seated right), and their band, Sky-Pony.
Lauren Worsham (center), Kyle Jarrow (seated right), and their band, Sky-Pony.
(© Jennifer Walkowiak)

Like most theater people, Lauren Worsham and Kyle Jarrow are multi-hyphenates. Worsham is a Tony-nominated and Drama Desk Award-winning musical-theater actress, best known for her performance as Phoebe D'Ysquith in A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder. Jarrow is a book writer-composer-lyricist, whose works include the Obie Award-winning A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant.

They're also rock stars on the side, masterminds behind the indie-glam band Sky-Pony. With Worsham as lead vocalist and Jarrow as songwriter, the group has performed in venues from Rockwood Music Hall to TheaterMania's Kitchen and recently released their debut LP, Beautiful Monster.

If an album release and a busy slate of concerts aren't enough, the real-life couple is prepping a new Sky-Pony stage show, The Wildness, a "rock fairytale" that will be presented as a collaboration between Ars Nova and The Play Company from February 16-March 19. Amid all of this, Jarrow is also the book writer for one of the more hotly anticipated new Broadway shows of 2016-2017 season: The SpongeBob Musical.

How do they create a "rock fairytale" for the stage and turn a beloved animated series into a full-on musical? The pair clued us in to their big plans for 2016.

Lauren Worsham and Kyle Jarrow are the masterminds behind the indie pop band Sky-Pony.
Lauren Worsham and Kyle Jarrow are the masterminds behind the indie pop band Sky-Pony.
(© David Gordon)

For those unfamiliar with Sky-Pony, how would you describe your style?
Kyle Jarrow: We sometimes call it art-pop. We've gotten a lot of comparisons to Blondie-meets-The Smiths-meets-Idina Menzel. [laughs] There's obviously a theatrical vibe to it.

'''Lauren Worsham'': [The songs are] Hooky and they make you want to dance. So it's definitely pop. Add an adjective onto that.

Kyle: There is some cleverness and some darkness to the lyrics. I think that's why a lot of people compare us to The Smiths. The music doesn't really sound like The Smiths, but it's got that lightly off-kilter humor.

Along with your new EP, you're also developing a new musical with Ars Nova and The Play Company. What is The Wildness?
Lauren: It's pretty wild. [laughs] What is the tag that we came up with?

Kyle: "Sky-Pony's Rock Fairytale."

Lauren: We [first] did a lab with The Play Company. We threw together this bizarre evening and were going to do four performances, but Hurricane Sandy hit. The impetus was for that was, "How do we take existing songs and cobble them together?" We saw a lot of strains in our work of religion and ritual, and female sexuality, and we started to put that together. Three years later, the idea has become much more refined, but basically still has the same root in exploring the relationships between different types of audience. Specifically, theater audience, religious ritual audience, and concert audience.

Kyle: Essentially, there's a fairy tale that is told. It's about two girls, one of whom is played by Lauren. They live in this cloistered, weird community, and they're surrounded by this forest called The Wildness. They venture out one day and what they find in The Wildness blows their minds and changes their lives. That's the frame story.

Lauren: But it's not a narrative, theatrical, "I step on stage and I'm playing this person." We're playing ourselves. It's Sky-Pony putting on a show that we step in and out of.

Kyle: We took a lot of inspiration from The Wall and a lot of Genesis' concept-album concerts from the eighties. As the evening continues, you start to realize there are a couple of levels on which the story is happening. One is the story that they're telling; the other is the story that's happening between the members of the band.

Lauren: Just like in any concert.

Kyle Jarrow will bring the classic characters of SpongeBob SquarePants to life in The SpongeBob Musical.
Kyle Jarrow will bring the classic characters of SpongeBob SquarePants to life in The SpongeBob Musical.
(© Nickelodeon)

Kyle, how is work going on The SpongeBob Musical before its Chicago premiere this summer?
Kyle: I think it's going to be pretty rad, to be honest. Tina Landau is directing. Tom Kitt is music-supervising, but all the tunes are by different rock bands. What Tom is doing is taking the Aerosmith song, and the Lady Antebellum song, and the T.I. song and making it sound like a score that has some cohesion to it. David Zinn is doing the set and costumes, and obviously visuals are really key. It's not like foam suits; his visual sense is very cool and a little unexpected.

Is it a kid's show?
Kyle: SpongeBob has a family appeal, but also has a hipstery fan base, so the idea is to make a show that appeals to both. It really can have that quirky hipstery humor to it, but is also awesome for kids. I think that we've done it. You can tell me when you see it!

Featured In This Story

The SpongeBob Musical

Closed: July 10, 2016

The Wildness

Closed: March 26, 2016