A New York Theatre Guide to... The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical!
Here's all you need to know about Percy Jackson's Broadway debut...
Bring on the Monsters! Following an Off-Broadway 2017 premiere at the Lucille Lortel Theatre and a National Tour that played a grand total of 32 cities and culminated in July 2019, The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical has bolted onto Broadway for a limited engagement at the Longacre Theatre. Featuring a book by Joe Tracz and a rock-infused score by Rob Rokicki, previews began on September 20, ahead of an official opening on October 16, and the family-friendly musical is scheduled to conclude its run on January 5, 2020. So, who’s ready for a “Killer Quest”?
What’s it all about?
Based on Rick Riordan’s 2005 novel, the first in the popular ‘Percy Jackson & the Olympians’ series, the musical follows Percy Jackson, who finds out he is no ordinary teenager, but a son of the great Poseidon and therefore a demi-god. Having only just begun his new life and his training at Camp Half Blood, Percy is sent on an epic quest to retrieve the lightning bolt stolen from Zeus in an attempt to prevent total war breaking out among the Greek gods. Aided by his trusted protector (a satyr named Grover) and his new friend Annabeth (daughter of Athena), Percy must battle his way through Furies, Minotaurs and even Medusa herself, on a treacherous journey to the Underworld to confront Hades and restore the lightning bolt to its rightful owner. But who, pray tell, will be uncovered as The Lightning Thief in this story of friendship, betrayal and monsters?
Who’s starring in it?
The young, 7-member cast of The Lightning Thief actually brings 47 characters to life on stage, requiring a great deal of versatility (and a chaotic amount of costume changes!). The cast is led by Chris McCarrell in the titular role of Percy Jackson, who previously made his Broadway debut in the 2014 revival of Les Misérables, also playing the role of Marius in that production. He is supported by Kristin Stokes as Annabeth and Jorrel Javier as Grover, both making their Broadway debuts. Indeed, the entire cast, with the exception of McCarrell, are making their Broadway debuts with The Lightning Thief. So, congratulations to Stokes, Javier, Ryan Knowles, Sarah Beth Pfeifer, James Hayden Rodriguez, and Jalynn Steele!
What’s special about this production?
Theatre should be for all and it is a gift when a show primarily aimed at a younger demographic is given a mainstream platform such as Broadway. Yes, there are the big-budgeted Disney productions of The Lion King, Aladdin and Frozen, but theatregoers are just as likely to leave the kids at home and enjoy those ones for themselves. I feel The Lightning Thief, with a much smaller budget in comparison, is a great introduction for kids to the innovative world of theatre. It’s not always about the lavish sets and expensive costumes, but the art of storytelling and motivating audiences to use their imaginations. Simple tricks like using leaf blowers to unravel rolls of toilet paper over the heads of the audience to symbolise gushing waves of water are part of the charm of live theatre. In this case, alongside a passion for theatre, the musical may also ignite a fascination with Greek mythology and open up a whole new world of ancient storytelling to them.
Who would we recommend it to?
This one is definitely a treat for your youngsters up to the age of around 15, we’d say. So, why not share the magic of live theatre with them and then coax them into the world of literature with the five books of the ‘Percy Jackson & the Olympians’ series as a gift for the holidays? The gods command it!
Check out our New York Theatre VIDEO Guide to The Lightning Thief below...
The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical Tickets are available now for performances through January 5, 2020.
(Photos by Jeremy Daniel)