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SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical (originally titled The SpongeBob Musical, later retitled as such for the national tour) is a stage musical, co-conceived and directed by Tina Landau[1] with songs by various artists and a book by Kyle Jarrow.[2] It is based on the Nickelodeon animated television series SpongeBob SquarePants and made its world premiere in June 2016 at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago. The musical premiered on Broadway at the Palace Theatre in December 2017.

SpongeBob SquarePants
The Broadway Musical
SpongeBob Squarepants Playbill.jpeg
Playbill of the Broadway production
BookKyle Jarrow
BasisSpongeBob SquarePants
by Stephen Hillenburg
PremiereJune 7, 2016 (2016-06-07): Oriental Theatre, Chicago
Productions2016 Chicago
2017 Broadway
2019 North American Tour
AwardsDrama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical
Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Broadway Musical
Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Score

The musical opened to critical acclaim.[3] With twelve Tony Award nominations, it tied for most-nominated production at the 2018 72nd Tony Awards with Mean Girls.[4]

The show closed at the Palace Theatre on September 16, 2018. At the time of its closing, it had played 29 previews and 327 regular performances. A North American tour opened on September 22, 2019 at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady, New York.[5]



Patchy the Pirate, SpongeBob's #1 fan, sits on the stage after the audience has taken their seats. He reveals he has traveled from Encino, California, to catch the musical. Two security guards tell Patchy to leave, as the show is about to begin. Patchy objects, but gets kicked out as Patchy claims he is a victim of pirate discrimination and sings a protest chant. One of the guards apologizes, then tells the audience to enjoy the show.

Act OneEdit

SpongeBob SquarePants awakens and welcomes the day with his pet snail, Gary ("Bikini Bottom Day"). He greets various friends in his hometown of Bikini Bottom— including his best friend Patrick, his neighbor Squidward, and his friend Sandy Cheeks — as he walks to the Krusty Krab restaurant. At work, his boss Mr. Krabs tells his daughter Pearl that she will manage the restaurant one day. With Pearl uninterested, SpongeBob hints his desire of being the manager. Mr. Krabs laughs at the idea, telling SpongeBob he is "just a simple sponge"("Bikini Bottom Day" (Reprise 1)). Then, a violent tremor suddenly rocks the entire town.

A news report reveals that the tremor was caused by a nearby Mount Humongous, a volcano that will soon erupt ("No Control"). SpongeBob cheers up an upset Patrick by reiterating that they are best friends forever ("BFF"). With the town in a panic over the impending doom, married villains Plankton and Karen try to convince the citizens to enter an escape pod that ensures safety. But, the two have a secret scheme planned as they will hypnotize the citizens in the pod into liking the chum that they serve at their restaurant, the Chum Bucket ("When the Going Gets Tough"). The townspeople, unknowingly, support this idea and decide to hold a last-minute music concert to raise money. Squidward's idea of his one-man show is immediately shut down. Instead, Pearl suggests that the famous rock band, the Electric Skates, play at the concert. Everyone agrees and Squidward is named manager of the event.

SpongeBob, however, is against the idea of leaving town and believes the citizens should save Bikini Bottom. SpongeBob thinks back on Mr. Krabs' words from earlier and wonders if he could save the town ("Just a Simple Sponge"). He goes to Patrick and Sandy for help. Mr. Krabs sees the upcoming disaster as a money-making opportunity, holding an "apocalypse sale". Pearl worries about her father's greed, believing that it overshadows his care for her ("Daddy Knows Best").

Meanwhile, SpongeBob convinces Patrick and Sandy to team up, climb the volcano, and stop it from erupting with an invention Sandy will build. The friends are determined to succeed ("Hero Is My Middle Name"). Before they start their plan, a group of cultist sardines appear. They found wisdom in Patrick's thoughts at the town meeting and decide to make him their new leader ("Super Star Sea Savior"). Patrick likes the idea and decides to back out of SpongeBob's plan so that he can bask in self-glory, angering SpongeBob. The two fight and end their "BFF" status. After Patrick leaves, Sandy reminds SpongeBob that things are bound to be okay. The entire company reveals their personal thoughts and feelings about the impending disaster ("Tomorrow Is").

Act TwoEdit

Patchy again sneaks onstage, telling the audience that pirates are persecuted by others because of stereotypes ("Poor Pirates"), supported in song by a group of pirates he discovered during the show's first act, wandering into a dive bar in nearby Hell's Kitchen. The theater's security again intervenes to chase Patchy away. SpongeBob wakes up and greets a new day: the day when the volcano is expected to erupt ("Bikini Bottom Day" (Reprise 2)). Bikini Bottom has fallen into anarchy and chaos: the mayor has employed a dictatorship over the people and an angry mob has started to hunt down Sandy, thinking her science is the cause for the volcano's impending eruption. Sandy hides from the mob and shows SpongeBob her invention, the Eruptor Interrupter. They plan to throw it inside the volcano and save the town.

Back in Bikini Bottom, Plankton worries Sandy and Spongebob will successfully climb up the mountain and save the town, but Karen tells him that she found his avalanche maker. She says they can use it to create an avalanche that Spongebob and Sandy won’t survive. The Electric Skates finally arrive ("Bikini Bottom Boogie"). Squidward asks if he can perform with them as an opening act. The band will only allow it if Squidward buys every item on a long shopping list. Meanwhile, SpongeBob and Sandy make their way up the volcano with great difficulty. Sandy tries to lift their spirits by reminding them of what they have learned in karate class about never giving up ("Chop to the Top"). SpongeBob cannot help but think of how he misses Patrick and wishes he was there to help them. In Bikini Bottom, Patrick finds life as a guru unexciting and misses SpongeBob as well, prompting him to leave his followers behind to help SpongeBob ("(I Guess) I Miss You").

Squidward obtains all but one of the items on the Electric Skates' list, so the band refuses to let him perform despite his pleas, calling him a "loser" in the process. Their use of this word causes Squidward—constantly called a loser in childhood to snap back at the band in anger; The band quits. Now alone, Squidward insists that he is not a loser and performs a song with a tap dance number and back-up chorus in his imagination ("I'm Not a Loser"). Back on the mountain, Plankton and Karen use the avalanche maker to make the avalanche. SpongeBob starts to fall when Patrick saves him with the jetpack Sandy invented. The two reaffirm their friendship and follow Sandy to the summit of the mountain. When they reach the top, neither Sandy nor Patrick are able to reach the rim where they need to throw the device in. They turn to SpongeBob, who doubts his skills ("Just a Simple Sponge" (Reprise)). They remind him that he is the only one who can squeeze through tight areas and that his optimism has gotten them this far. With new determination, SpongeBob throws the Eruptor Interrupter in. They head back to Bikini Bottom and see if their plan worked.

Due to the band being gone, there will be no concert or escape pod, which causes anarchy. SpongeBob tries to calm everyone down, insisting that whatever happens, they have each other ("Best Day Ever"). When the time comes for the volcano to erupt, everyone braces for their deaths. The time passes without an eruption, signaling that the Eruptor Interrupter has worked. With Bikini Bottom safe, everyone decides that they should celebrate by having a new concert with Pearl and Squidward being the leads. Patchy descends from above on a rope, having finally managed to sneak into the show, making the cast reluctantly agree to let him be a part of the finale as the townspeople welcome the brand new day ("Bikini Bottom Day" (Reprise 3)).

During the curtain call, the cast performs one final song ("SpongeBob Squarepants Theme Song").


Lyrics for the show were being written by January 2014, as The Flaming Lips' lead singer Wayne Coyne mentioned through Twitter on January 16.[6] Plans for developing the show were first announced at Nickelodeon's upfront on February 25, 2015.[7] The upfront presentation included a performance of the musical's opening number, "Bikini Bottom Day."[8] On February 26, Nickelodeon's chief operating officer Sarah Kirshbaum Levy told the Associated Press that the show was "not definite."[9]

In August 2015, Nickelodeon announced that the show would premiere in Chicago before a Broadway run in late 2016.[10] Its director, book author, and several of the musicians involved were also announced. The full cast list was released in April 2016.[11] The majority of the cast members play more than one character.[12] Rehearsals for the show's debut in Chicago began on April 11 in New York.[13] Throughout early 2016, Nickelodeon executives met with Broadway theater owners to arrange its Broadway premiere. Michael Reidel of New York Post stated that Broadway representatives were "impressed" after seeing a presentation of the show.[13]

In late May 2016, technical rehearsals for the show were conducted.[14] Chris Jones of Chicago Tribune stated that Nickelodeon was concerned about "an incomplete SpongeBob costume [making] it into a photograph, spoiling a planned big reveal."[15] In June 2016, Gordon Cox of Variety reported that the musical's budget was between $15 and $20 million.[14]


SpongeBob SquarePants opened at the Oriental Theatre, Chicago, on June 19, 2016.[14][16] The musical premiered on Broadway at the Palace Theatre on November 6, 2017, in previews, officially on December 4, 2017. Choreography was by Christopher Gattelli, musical supervision by Tom Kitt, music direction by Julie McBride, Tom Kitt’s Whatever by Tim Hanson,scenic and costume design by David Zinn, lighting design by Kevin Adams, projection design by Peter Nigrini, sound design by Walter Trarbach and hair and wig design by Charles G. LaPointe.[17] The musical closed on September 16, 2018, after 327 regular performances, without recouping its $18 million cost. Its Broadway run was cut short due to the renovation of the Palace Theatre according to its producers, though the musical had also not met financial expectations.[18][19]

A non-Equity US national tour began in September 2019.[20] The tour opened September 22, 2019 in Schenectady, New York at Proctors Theatre.[21][22]

Musical numbersEdit


The show's Tony-nominated orchestrations by Tom Kitt utilized an orchestra of 18 for the Broadway production. In addition, during "Finale: Bikini Bottom Day" each of the company played their own instrument onstage (Spongebob: ukelele, Plankton: crash cymbals, Karen: glockenspiel, etc.)

SpongeBob SquarePants Original Cast recordingEdit

On June 28, 2016, it was announced that the Chicago cast would record a cast album in early August with Masterworks Broadway producing the album. On September 14, 2017, the full cast recording was made available on the NPR website.[23] The cast recording was released in its physical form in stores as well as on streaming sites on September 22, 2017, two months prior to the show's Broadway premiere.[24][25]

SpongeBob SquarePants: Original Cast Recording
Soundtrack album cast recording by
Original Cast of SpongeBob SquarePants
Released22 September 2017 (2017-09-22)
RecordedAugust 2016
GenreShowtunes, Musical comedy, Indie rock, Alternative rock
LabelMasterworks Broadway

All tracks written and composed by various artists listed below (additional music, arrangements and orchestrations by Tom Kitt; additional lyrics by Jonathan Coulton.)

2."Bikini Bottom Day" (Jonathan Coulton)6:12
3."No Control" (David Bowie and Brian Eno)3:17
4."BFF" (Plain White T's)2:41
5."When the Going Gets Tough" (T.I.)2:47
6."(Just a) Simple Sponge" (Panic! at the Disco)3:57
7."Daddy Knows Best" (Alex Ebert)2:53
8."Hero Is My Middle Name" (Cyndi Lauper and Rob Hyman)3:15
9."Super Sea Star Savior" (Yolanda Adams)4:44
10."Tomorrow Is" (The Flaming Lips)3:31
11."Poor Pirates" (Sara Bareilles)3:49
12."Bikini Bottom Boogie" (Steven Tyler and Joe Perry)2:11
13."Chop to the Top" (Lady Antebellum)2:26
14."(I Guess I) Miss You" (John Legend)3:41
15."I'm Not a Loser" (They Might Be Giants)4:38
16."Best Day Ever" (Andy Paley and Tom Kenny)4:19
17."Bikini Bottom Day (Reprise)" (Coulton)2:04
18."SpongeBob SquarePants Theme Song" (Derek Drymon, Mark Harrison, Stephen Hillenburg and Blaise Smith)0:47
Total length:57:19


Character Original Chicago Cast (2016)[26] Original Broadway Cast (2017)[27] North American Tour Cast (2019)
SpongeBob SquarePants Ethan Slater[28] Lorenzo Pugliese
Patrick Star Danny Skinner[29] Beau Bradshaw
Sandy Cheeks Lilli Cooper[27] Daria Pilar Redus
Squidward Tentacles Gavin Lee[26] Cody Cooley
Sheldon J. Plankton Nick Blaemire[26] Wesley Taylor[27] Tristan McIntyre
Karen Plankton Stephanie Hsu[30] Caitlin Ort
Eugene Krabs Carlos Lopez[26] Brian Ray Norris[27] Zach Kononov
Pearl Krabs Emmy Raver-Lampman[31] Jai'len Christine Li Josey[27] Méami Maszewski
Mrs. Puff Abby C. Smith[32] Natalie L. Chapman
Gary the Snail Tom Kenny (prerecorded) Allan K. Washington Dorian O'Brien
Patchy the Pirate Jason Michael Snow[30] Jon Rua[33] Morgan Blanchard
Mayor Gaelen Gilliland[33] Helen Regula
Perch Perkins Kelvin Moon Loh[33] Richie Dupkin
Old Man Jenkins Mark Ledbetter[26] JC Schuster[33] Stephen C. Kallas
Larry the Lobster Allan K. Washington[33] Dorian O'Brien
Fred the Fish Curtis Holbrook TBD
The Electric Skates Curtis Holbrook[34]
L'ogan J'ones
JC Schuster[26]
Curtis Holbrook
L'ogan J'ones
Kyle Matthew Hamilton[33]
Joshua Bess
Stefan Miller
Miles Davis Tillman
French Narrator Mark Ledbetter Tom Kenny (prerecorded)
Sardine Corps Oneika Phillips, Jon Rua, Lauralyn McClelland, Robert Taylor Jr., Elle-May Patterson, Sydney Simone, Ayana Strutz, Rico Velazquez TBD
Notable replacements
  • Catherine Ricafort replaced Stephanie Hsu as Karen Plankton on June 19, 2018.
  • Christina Sajous replaced Lilli Cooper as Sandy Cheeks on July 24th, 2018.

Critical responseEdit

The Chicago production received positive reviews. Dean Richards of WGN-TV gave it an A+, writing that "the story is multi-layered for kids and adults. It all adds up to one of the most fun, well produced, and best acted shows Chicago has seen in a long time."[35] Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune praised the cast (particularly Slater, Skinner, Cooper, and Lee) and the production values. He wrote positively of the show's songs, writing that the musical's "biggest gamble—a score made up of singles by different songwriters and unified by orchestrator Tom Kitt—works quite beautifully." Nonetheless, he warned "the transition to Broadway now needs to involve a dialing back of excess and more attention to truth—Bikini Bottom truth, sure, but metaphoric human veracity."[16] Similarly, Steve Oxman in Variety magazine praises the entertainment, invention and "terrifically talented cast" but argues for a "slight shift in world view" to truly engage the broadest audience.[36] In the Chicago Sun-Times' review, Hedy Weiss expressed praise for the set design's creativity and the coherency, but felt that it was almost too extravagant; she wrote that the musical "exhausts itself long before it's over."[30] Kendall Ashley of Nerdist described the set as "pretty darn impressive" and called the decision not to use extensive makeup on the actors "interesting."[37] Barbara Vitello of the Daily Herald also commended the actors' costumes and performances, stating that the "imaginative costumes that add a punch of color to the glittering sea green and aquamarine backdrop are among the delights."[38]

The Broadway production was equally praised. Ben Brantley of The New York Times, called it a "ginormous giggle of a show", and particularly praised Slater's performance as the titular character.[39] Marilyn Stasio of Variety stated the show provided a good amount of "giddy, goofy fun" for all audiences.[40]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Original Broadway productionEdit

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
2018 Outer Critics Circle Awards[41] Outstanding New Broadway Musical Won
Outstanding Book of a Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway) Kyle Jarrow Nominated
Outstanding New Score (Broadway or Off-Broadway) Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Sara Bareilles, Jonathan Coulton, Alex Ebert, The Flaming Lips, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper, Rob Hyman, John Legend, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T's, They Might Be Giants, T.I., Domani, Lil' C, David Bowie, Brian Eno, Andy Paley, Tom Kenny, Derek Drymon, Mark Harrison, Stephen Hillenburg, Blaise Smith & Tom Kitt[42] Won
Outstanding Director of a Musical Tina Landau Won1
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Ethan Slater Won
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Gavin Lee Nominated
Outstanding Choreographer Christopher Gattelli Nominated
Outstanding Set Design (Play or Musical) David Zinn Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design (Play or Musical) Nominated
Outstanding Lighting Design (Play or Musical) Kevin Adams Nominated
Outstanding Orchestrations Tom Kitt Nominated
Drama League Awards[43] Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical Nominated
Drama Desk Awards[44]
Outstanding Musical Won
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Ethan Slater Won
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Gavin Lee Won
Outstanding Director of a Musical Tina Landau Won
Outstanding Choreography Christopher Gattelli Nominated
Outstanding Book of a Musical Kyle Jarrow Nominated
Outstanding Orchestrations Tom Kitt Nominated
Outstanding Set Design for a Musical David Zinn Won
Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical Nominated
Outstanding Projection Design Peter Nigrini Nominated
Outstanding Wig and Hair Charles G. LaPointe Won
Chita Rivera Awards for Dance and Choreography Outstanding Choreography in a Broadway Show Christopher Gattelli Nominated
Outstanding Ensemble in a Broadway Show Nominated
Outstanding Male Dancer in a Broadway Show Gavin Lee Nominated
Tony Awards
Best Musical Nominated
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical Ethan Slater Nominated
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical Gavin Lee Nominated
Best Book of a Musical Kyle Jarrow Nominated
Best Original Score Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Sara Bareilles, Jonathan Coulton, Alex Ebert, Edward Sharpe, The Flaming Lips, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper, Rob Hyman, John Legend, Panic! at the Disco, Plain White T's, They Might Be Giants, T.I., Domani & Lil' C Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Tina Landau Nominated
Best Orchestrations Tom Kitt Nominated
Best Choreography Christopher Gattelli Nominated
Best Sound Design of a Musical Walter Trarbach and Mike Dobson Nominated
Best Scenic Design of a Musical David Zinn Won[45]
Best Costume Design of a Musical Nominated
Best Lighting Design of a Musical Kevin Adams Nominated
Theatre World Award Ethan Slater Honoree

1 Tied with Bartlett Sher for My Fair Lady


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  2. ^ "'SpongeBob' Musical Will Open in Chicago, With Sights on Broadway". The New York Times. August 31, 2015.
  3. ^ Chen, Wei-Huan (February 16, 2018). "'SpongeBob' musical underscores nautical nonsense of art vs. entertainment". Houston Chronicle.
  4. ^ "2018 Tony Award Nominations: SpongeBob SquarePants and Mean Girls Lead the Pack". Playbill. May 1, 2018.
  5. ^ "The Bash is a smash! Proctors and Capital Repertory Theatre announce 2019–2020 subscription series!". Proctors Collective. March 4, 2019.
  6. ^ Wayne Coyne [@waynecoyne] (17 January 2014). "Doing more lyrics for SpongeBob Musical!! Maybe as high as a star!!! #freaks #flamiglips…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  7. ^ Steinberg, Brian (February 25, 2015). "With Ratings in Flux, Nickelodeon Puts Upfront Focus on Shows". Variety.
  8. ^ Zuckerman, Esther (February 25, 2016). "SpongeBob musical has eye on Broadway". Entertainment Weekly.
  9. ^ "Nickelodeon announces mobile service Noggin for pre-K children". New York Daily News. February 26, 2016.
  10. ^ Calia, Michael (August 31, 2015). "'The SpongeBob Musical' Will Premiere in Chicago Before Broadway Bow". The Wall Street Journal.
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  12. ^ Vincent Waller [@VincentWaller72] (28 December 2016). "@kargjuniordenhe All the Cast for the musical were new. Almost everyone in the musical, play multiple characters, &they're great #SpongeBob" (Tweet). Archived from the original on April 8, 2017. Retrieved April 8, 2017 – via Twitter.
  13. ^ a b Riedel, Michael (April 12, 2016). "Could 'SpongeBob' be the next great Broadway musical?". New York Post.
  14. ^ a b c Cox, Gordon (June 15, 2016). "'SpongeBob SquarePants' Hits the Stage to Soak Up Broadway Spotlight". Variety.
  15. ^ Jones, Chris (June 2, 2016). "How SpongeBob SquarePants got his own musical in Chicago". Chicago Tribune.
  16. ^ a b "Young SpongeBob saves the day, in a big, loud way". Chicago Tribune. June 19, 2016.
  17. ^ Hetrick, Adam. " 'SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical' Opens December 4" Playbill, December 4, 2017
  18. ^ Paulson, Michael (July 8, 2018). "'SpongeBob' Musical Will Close on Broadway and Plan for a Tour". The New York Times. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  19. ^ Hetrick, Adam. ' 'SpongeBob SquarePants' Will End Broadway Run in September" Playbill, July 8, 2018
  20. ^ Curtis, John (May 13, 2019). "Current and Upcoming National Tours". Playbill. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  21. ^ McPhee, Ryan. "The SpongeBob Musical National Tour Finds Its Cast of Bikini Bottom Residents" Playbill, August 21, 2019
  22. ^ Robinson, Mark A. "The Spongebob Musical Announces Tour Stops", May 21, 2019
  23. ^ "First Listen: 'SpongeBob SquarePants: Original Cast Recording'". Retrieved 2017-09-20.
  24. ^ "Breaking: SpongeBob Musical Will Record Cast Album Pre-Broadway". Playbill. July 28, 2016.
  25. ^ "SpongeBob SquarePants - The New Musical Original Cast Recording Available September 22 From Masterworks Broadway". PR Newswire. August 18, 2017.
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  27. ^ a b c d e McPhee, Ryan (December 4, 2017). "What Did Critics Think of Broadway's SpongeBob SquarePants Musical?". Playbill. Philip S. Birsh.
  28. ^ "Meet Ethan Slater, the boy who would be SpongeBob". Entertainment Weekly. May 27, 2016.
  29. ^ "Introduce Yourself(ie): 10 Questions with SpongeBob Squarepants Star Danny Skinner".
  30. ^ a b c Weiss, Hedy (June 19, 2016). "Feel-good 'SpongeBob Musical' rumbles, toils and bubbles". Chicago Sun-Times.
  31. ^ Gelt, Jessica (August 10, 2017). "From chorus girl to leading lady: Emmy Raver-Lampman, the Cinderella of 'Hamilton'". Los Angeles Times.
  32. ^ Johnson, Joshua (September 9, 2016). "Singing with SpongeBob and Playing Mrs. Puff". Harding University.
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  34. ^ Holbrook, Curtis (September 27, 2017). "Curtis Holbrook on Instagram". Instagram. Archived from the original on December 31, 2017.
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  41. ^ "2018 Outer Critics Circle Nominations Announced". 2018-04-24. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
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  43. ^ "Breaking: THE BAND'S VISIT, ANGELS IN AMERICA, MEAN GIRLS, FROZEN, And More Earn Drama League Nominations; See The Full List!". 2018-04-18. Retrieved 2018-04-19.
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  45. ^ [1] Playbill

External linksEdit