The Lightning Thief That Could Capture Anyone’s Heart

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The Lightning Thief That Could Capture Anyone’s Heart

Photo courtesy of the Hanover Theatre

Photo courtesy of the Hanover Theatre

Jeremy Daniel

Photo courtesy of the Hanover Theatre

Jeremy Daniel

Jeremy Daniel

Photo courtesy of the Hanover Theatre

Rediet Tadele, Contributing Writer

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As an avid fan of the Percy Jackson series and musicals, I took my seat in the Hanover Theatre with high hopes for the show. As I looked around, I saw that the theatre was packed and buzzing with energy. The stage was empty except for two columns and graffiti showing the mesh between the two worlds in Percy’s life, one being a normal person from New York and the other being a child of a Greek God.

I was really intrigued as to how they were going to adapt the plot and how well they would be able to portray the characters. My question was answered immediately when the show began with a musical number about how Percy wished to be a regular person. In the musical Percy, played by Chris McCarrell, goes on a school trip to a museum where he sees something that starts to shatter his ‘normal’ life.

Percy sees his teacher changing into a monster, is forced to fight her, and in the end, gets expelled. He returns home to his mother and here is where one of my favorite scenes unfold. Percy’s mother, played by Jalynn Steele, consoles him and tells him that they would go to the place she met his dad.

During this scene, they almost magically transported themselves from their living room to sitting by the sea, roasting marshmallows. It seemed surreal as the sound of waves came oozing through the theater while the audience remained focused on the mother and son duo.  Focusing on her love for Percy, as well as, his pain at being different, very much resonated and it was a truly moving and beautiful scene.

This was in huge contrast with the next scene where Percy gets into a fight with a Minotaur, and is briefly knocked unconscious. This is where I first noticed the sheer genius of the director and the production itself, because when Percy was knocked out and entered a sort of daze, the audience also became a part of the process; the lights turned to face the stage and it seemed like there was dust slowly creeping towards us.

I remember turning to my friend and seeing her grin back at me in awe. This look of amazement remained a constant throughout the whole play as time and time again the cast, who often played multiple characters, were able to not only sing and act different roles with depth, but also perfectly used simple lighting, and props to create an amazing atmosphere.

This atmosphere was evident in many scenes, such as when Percy went to see the oracle who can see the future. In the book, this experience is described as dramatic and eerie and the musical was able to capture the aura perfectly. The oracle was wearing a large dress and while singing the dress had hands coming up from under the dress pulling it in different directions giving her and her dress an otherworldly look.  

There was another scene where Percy, Annabeth, and Grover were in the underworld (hell), the stage was bathed in red light, and smoke was slowly escaping from the ground adding to the audience’s experience.

Another aspect of this experience that I want to highlight was the amazing job done by all the actors and how well the relationships between them played out. Kristin Stokes, playing Annabeth, effectively conveyed to the audience the toughness, intelligence and hard work associated with her character, that was displayed in the book; while incorporating the softer, more timid traits at the same time. This was done superbly in a scene where Annabeth was telling Percy about her self-doubts and how the expectations put on her were draining.

Likewise, I really enjoyed the portrayal of Luke, played by James Hayden Rodriguez, who was the antagonist in the plot. He was accurately portrayed as someone who felt frustrated, unseen and undervalued and this is what caused him to do what he did. The reason I really enjoyed this is because I felt that in the movie, the adaptation did not dive into Luke’s actual turmoil which is essential to understanding him as a character.

I also greatly enjoyed Jorrel Javier’s performance as Grover and Mr. D. The scene where he was reminiscing about an old quest was beautiful not only in terms of his voice, but the visual effects used as well. I also found Ryan Knowles was an excellent pick for Chiron and all of the other characters he played, not only because of his impressive booming voice, but as he was able to bring a humorous air to all his characters.

Overall, the Percy Jackson Musical was a superb blend of action, humor and musical performances. Every one of the actors were able to play multiple roles successfully, and what I enjoyed the most was the productions ability to use simple props in very creative ways. I would wholeheartedly recommend everyone to watch this play, it truly is an amazing experience.