They're squeezing the life out of "SpongeBob SquarePants" on Broadway.

The critically praised but often poorly attended musical is ending its Broadway run on Sept. 16, less than a year after its premiere, the show announced.

The official reason for the cancellation is listed as "previously planned renovations" to the Palace Theater, where the musical based on the long-running Nickelodeon show is performed.

But "SpongeBob" has often had trouble selling seats since its premiere last December. There have been three different weeks this year, for example, where the show didn't manage to fill even 66 percent of its capacity.

The show about a yellow sea sponge and his underwater adventures in Bikini Bottom had been performing better in the early summer, as it registered three straight weeks with over 91 percent capacity filled in June before a slight dip in the week that ended on July 1.

"SpongeBob" emerged as a pleasant surprise late last year when it premiered on Broadway with critical praise. It garnered 12 Tony nominations this year – tied for the most of any show – and won for best scenic design of a musical.


Ethan Slater, who portrays SpongeBob, and Gavin Lee, who plays Squidward, each garnered Tony nominations for their respective performances, while the show as a whole was up for best musical.

"SpongeBob has changed my life in so many ways," Slater tweeted Monday. "We must close on September 16th, and that breaks my heart. But what excites me is that we have 10 more weeks to share this thing with as many people as the #PalaceTheater will hold. Let's end this thing right."

"SpongeBob" is set to embark on a North American tour in the fall of 2019.