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July 5, 2019

From Page to Stage: Making “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical”

By Straz Center Staff

“The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical” begins with a loud thunderclap. Then, five performers move to the front of the stage, singing to punchy rock music. It’s a perfect beginning to this clever, hip and irreverent musical, which merges teenage angst with Greek mythology. Adapted from the first book of Rick Riordan’s popular series of novels, “The Lightning Thief” tells the story of Percy Jackson, who discovers not only that his absent father is the Greek god Poseidon, but that he has super powers himself.

Bookwriter Joe Tracz is a huge Percy Jackson fan, and he and his collaborator, songwriter Rob Rokicki, worked tirelessly to find the right tone for the musical. “They’re big action adventure stories,” Tracz explains, “but they have such a sense of humor and heart to them.”

You can see The Lightning Thief at the Straz Center July 9-14, 2019. Click here for ticket information.

Creating this wild, epic, ride, without the sort of special effects available to film makers, required director Stephen Brackett to come up with ingenious staging solutions to tell a story that features not only gods, but mythological monsters. The set has a rock concert vibe, with scaffolding and the stage magic being frequently visible to the audience. “We embrace that you’re actually seeing what it takes to make an effect in front of an audience,” explains Brackett.

the lightning thief
James Hayden Roderiguez and Chris McCarrell from the NYC Production. Photo by Jeremy Daniels.

 

When the show played a commercial off-Broadway run in 2017, it attracted not just super fans of the book but musical theater lovers of every age. “We were getting the millennials and families who read the books,” says producer Barbara Pasternack, “and we were getting adults who read fantasy and the comic con crowd, but we were also seeing audiences who had yet to discover Percy Jackson. These people were coming to experience an exciting rock musical and we definitely delivered.”

During the off-Broadway run, videos of some of the songs went viral on YouTube. And when the cast recording was released, “It bumped “Hamilton” and it went onto the Billboard charts and it bumped Bruno Mars and Beyoncé,” Pasternack relates.

For the creative team, the themes in “The Lightning Thief” have broad appeal: “How do you take action in your life?” says director Stephen Brackett. “How do you advocate for the world that you want to live in?” And, Brackett adds, “I think that’s a story that needs to be told.”

THE LIGHTNING THIEF: THE PERCY JACKSON MUSICAL will conduct a pre-show lottery beginning two and a half hours prior to each performance.

Lottery details:

• 20 tickets available at $20 per performance
• Entries will be accepted at the Ticket Sales Office beginning two and a half hours prior to each performance.
• A Straz representative will distribute entry cards; entrants print name and number of tickets (1 or 2) on card and return to rep who will then place it in the box.
• Two hours before curtain, names will be drawn at random for a limited number of tickets.
• Only one entry is allowed per person and two tickets per winner. Cards are checked for duplication prior to drawing.
• Winners must be present at the time of the drawing and show valid ID to purchase tickets.
• Tickets are subject to availability.

 


For tickets go to strazcenter.org

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