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"The SpongeBob Musical" is set to hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

When Nickelodeon’s “The SpongeBob Musical” was advertised as one of the upcoming performances at WVU’s Creative Arts Center, students jumped at the chance to get tickets to see their childhood hero perform in real life.

But just how did WVU secure the 2018 Best Musical winner of the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards?

“It is a bit of a complicated process,” said Kristie Stewart-Gale, marketing and advertising manager for WVU Arts and Entertainment.

The highly-anticipated event will show at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theater of the Creative Arts Center.

Stewart-Gale is the contact between WVU and all of the national performances it hosts.

“I work with all of the tours that come in to help them marry their marketing strategy that they are doing nationally with our local market, so what works here may not work in a larger market, and what works in a larger market may not work in our market,” she said.

However, Arts and Entertainment must receive the dates available for productions from the Creative Arts Center before the process can begin.

After it has those dates, Stewart-Gale said the next step is to look into what productions are nationally touring near Morgantown and West Virginia. WVU Arts and Entertainment also takes input from its season subscribers, as they have the option to buy a package for all of the shows.

“What factors into that is what sells in this market, and so Broadway shows are our No. 1 seller, which is why you see a lot of those in the lineup,” Stewart-Gale said.

“The SpongeBob Musical” fits the criteria completely.

“The tour was out there, we knew it was a show that would be popular with students and it has never been here before, so that makes it a good show to try to book,” Stewart-Gale said. “It fit into a date that we had available, and being that it is a Broadway musical, we felt pretty certain that it would sell well.”

Although its season is halfway over, the Arts and Entertainment office still has many productions still to come.

Mountain Stage, the Little River Band, Celtic Woman and Indigo Girls are the upcoming musical acts traveling to WVU, while “Rent,” “Vicki Lawrence and Mama: A Two Women Show” and “Finding Neverland” are the shows still on schedule to hit the stage.

Students can purchase tickets to all shows for a discounted price either in person, online or over the phone as long as they know their student identification number.

Discounted tickets are limited to one per student identification, however, one student can purchase tickets for other students if they have their identification number.

Stewart-Gale highly encourages students, as well as the public, to take time to attend an upcoming performance.

“We get so caught up in all of the technology that we have that we forget the live performance is just a really special experience,” she said.

For more information, visit https://www.events.wvu.edu/.