The bestselling teen fiction novel by Rick Riordan has finally opened on Broadway. Written and directed by Joe Tracz and Stephen Brackett with music by Rob Rokicki, the musical began previews with the limited run on Sept. 20. The musical has a similar style to shows such as “Dear Evan Hansen” or “Be More Chill,” in the sense that the music has a teen pop/rock feel to each song. Before the transfer to Broadway, the show opened off-Broadway on March 23, 2017 and closed the following May.
“The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical” follows the story of teenager Percy Jackson and his struggles with the realization that he is a “half blood,” meaning that he has half mortal and half Greek God blood. His father has always been absent from his life, and he realizes that his father is one of the Gods, but must figure out which one. Percy heads to “Camp Half-Blood” after he learns he has powers and meets other kids his age who have the same circumstances as he does.
The cast is comprised of Chris McCarrell, Kristin Stokes and Jorrel Javier portraying Percy, Annabeth and Grover respectively. The ensemble includes James Hayden Rodriguez, Jalynn Steele, Sarah Beth Pfeifer and Ryan Knowles portraying multiple supporting characters.
The musical has brought about many superb reviews, and won the Theatre Fans’ Choice Award for Best Touring Production of 2019.
I had the pleasure of seeing this show on Sept. 28 and found it to be fantastic. For those already asking themselves, yes, this follows the book very closely. I myself had not read the books since elementary school, and during the show I found myself remembering many of the events that occurred in the show occurring in the book. From Percy’s mom eating tons of blue food, to Camp Half-Blood and even to the dramatic reveal of who Percy’s dad is. The music and the cast were both amazing as well. The energy that the cast had put into the acting made it so fun to watch and they truly brought the story to life in the best way. There are less than 10 actors in the musical, and yet there are more characters, with the ensemble and even Javier taking on an extra role or two. During the bows, I was surprised at how small the cast was. I was thinking to myself, “Did they forget to come out for bows?” But alas, the cast is the size that it is. My only critique of the production is that the set is not very well put together, and are reused to represent many different things; this could be, of course, because of the budget they are given. Even though I did enjoy the small cast, I almost wish there were scenes with more ensemble; this would have amplified the sound very much and made the look of it even more eye-catching.
Overall, I think this is a show you should definitely not miss. It will only be on Broadway for 16 weeks; the ticket that I purchased was only $40, and we had a great view of the stage. If you’re a big musical theatre fan but don’t have a ton of money, “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical” is a great inexpensive option for some fun weekend plans!
Vanessa Rodriguez-Mclean is a first-year student majoring in media and culture with a minor in journalism. VR925245@wcupa.edu