Review: The Lightning Thief off Broadway2 min read

The Lightning Thief: Half Blood Teenage Angst on a Quest

Kristin Stokes, Chris McCarrell, George Salazar. Photo by Jeremy Daniels.

With a flash and a bang, this rock musical of Greek God mythology aspirations without the proportions roars into the Lucille Lortel Theater in Greenwich Village. It’s a stellar beginning, full of feisty energy and excitement.

Based on the best-selling novel by Rick Riordan (which also was made into a movie a few years ago), The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical loudly trumpets the story of a young modern teenage boy on a quest of self-discovery.

The show centers on a misfit desperate to find his place in the world, curious about his heritage, and eager to discover his worth in the eyes of himself and his peers. It’s a typical high school outcast story layered with an action-packed Greek mythological story (book: Joe Tracz). On the most part, as directed by Stephen Brackett, it’s innocent enough and a fair amount to fun, although moments border on the ridiculous and silly.

The story is told by a mostly talented cast performing a high voltage rocking soundtrack (music & lyrics: Rob Rokicki; orchestrations: Wiley Deweese & Rokicki; music director: Deweese) delivered with a big wink and a smirk. The teenage girls in the audience lapped up this over the top musical with glee, smiling and applauding with abandonment, while the adults enjoyed themselves well enough, but not entirely enough to see this show without teen accompaniment.

Chris McCarrell. Photo by Jeremy Daniels.

Percy Jackson, played with a big grinned boy band angst by Chris McCarrell (Les Miserables Broadway revival) has quite the voice.  At times, he sings with a rock star/glee cast-member greatness, while other times it hovers somewhere on the side of a whine, but he commands the stage with his teenage discomfort coupled with an appealing blend of fun and energy.  We happily get on board with him and his crew as they venture out on a killer quest to try to stop an epic war between the Gods.

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At the same time and during the adventure, he slowly learns that the weaknesses he once viewed as a burden, might actually be the clues to his strengths; a great nod to positivity and embracing our uniqueness, something these kids in the audience gladly take in.

To feel a sense of community and friendship is what Percy longs for and finds with Grover, played by the always appealing George Salazar  (tick, tick,…BOOM!) and Annabeth, a wonderful perky Kristin Stokes (Fly by Night) at the camp for half bloods. (for the full review: click here)