Review: For Fans of Percy Jackson, ‘The Lightning Thief’ Musical Delivers

By Grace Niesel, Junior Correspondent

If you’re a kid my age, you’ve probably read Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series in school. Maybe you hid the book under your desk while you were supposed to be doing math like me. It’s one of those rare young adult book series loved by both boys and girls that undeniably left a mark on anyone who read it. In 2017, Theatreworks USA turned Riordan’s story into an off-Broadway musical. Earlier this year, the show launched a national tour, with scheduled stops in Durham (last week) and Wilmington (in June).

Now, I must disagree with Chris Jones at the Chicago Tribune and Broadway World’s Lauren Van Hemert for calling The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical a “mix between Dear Evan Hansen and Harry Potter,” because for me, it was so much more.

Chris McCarrell reprises his off-Broadway role as Percy Jackson, a teenage boy with ADD and dyslexia being raised by a single mother. He’s been kicked out of six schools, and his stepfather is no good. Also, did I mention, he’s half-God?

After arriving at Camp Half-Blood, a camp for children of the Greek Gods run by Mr. D, aka Dionysus and Chiron, Percy embarks on a quest to find Zeus’ lightning bolt. And he’s not alone. He’s joined by his friends Annabeth and Grover. Kristin Stokes reprises the role of Annabeth, a role she originated and has played since the first TheatreWorks’ workshop.

Lee Savage’s eclectic set mixes together the architecture of Ancient Greece with a graffitied New York City. And Rob Rokicki’s rock score sounds like something out of a Panic! At the Disco album.

There are definitely some weak spots in this show, including technical failures and an overdone message of “what makes you different is what makes you special” just to name a few. But all in all, The Lightning Thief is a perfect blend of both nostalgia and musicality, which for me, makes it a must-see.

The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical plays the Wilson Center in Wilmington June 4th through June 5th. For more information visit: https://cfcc.edu/capefearstage/lightning-thief/ .

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