“The Lightning Thief” Steals the Show

Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is on the most dangerous quest of his life, and you can dance and sing along with him. With the help of a satyr and a daughter of Athena, Percy must journey across the United States (or in this case the Winspear Opera House stage) to catch a thief who has stolen the original weapon of mass destruction — Zeus’ lightning bolt.

The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical is based on the best-selling book series by Joe Tracz, The Lightning Thief, which centers around demi-god teenager Percy (Chris McCarrell), who discovers that his father is none other than Poseidon. After a slew of misfortunate and mystical events, Percy and friends find themselves trying to prevent a war among the Greek gods.

(Photos by Jeremy Daniel)

The storyline and plot can be complicated to follow, especially if you haven’t read the books or seen the film like me. None the less, I was dancing, laughing, and singing along with the performers and audience alike. Even though the cast consists of only eight major characters, this small ensemble of actors performed flawlessly together on stage with witty dialogue and fun show-tunes that entertained both the kids and adults. The energy that Percy and his two half-blooded friends, Annabeth and Grover (Kristin Stokes and Jorrel Javier), create on-set is refreshing to see as the young trio bands together to fight the demons of this world and their own making. It’s a story about discovering your identity, worth, strength, and how to pave your own. Along their journey, they run into other familiar Greek mythology characters like Ares, Medusa, and Hades.

The set consisted no more than a few Greek columns and scaffolding, and the costumes were simple, and a bit casual, but the show’s production crew had plenty of theatrical tricks and thrills to transport you into this fictional world. The variety in musical scores – from folk to rock to pop music – had the audience chanting along with catchy tunes like “Put You in Your Place” and “The Last Day of Summer.” The minimalistic lighting design was bright and constructed a concert-like atmosphere while also being used in other subtle ways, like mimicking passing lights as the crew took an “elevator” to the Underworld. There’s even efficient use for toilet paper and leaf-blowers in this show, so if that does not intrigue you, I’m not sure what will.

The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, presented by TheaterWorksUSA and adapted by Rick Riordan, is an engaging adventure from beginning to end and a musical that makes it easy for kids and the kids at heart to connect with. You can catch shows this week at the Winspear Opera House through May 26 by booking tickets online today.

Run Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes with one intermission

Imani Chet Lytle

Imani Chet Lytle spends most of her time behind the scenes at People Newspapers handling design and marketing tasks, but you can occasionally catch her "Out and About" covering the latest museum openings, musical concerts, and delicious new food menus in the area – and all through her trusty dusty iPhone camera. Catch some of the action on our instagram page: @peoplenewspapers

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