Review: The Lightning Thief – Strikes On Target At Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theater

The company of The Lightning Thief at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre. (Photo Credit - Jeremy Daniel)

The company of The Lightning Thief at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre. (Photo Credit – Jeremy Daniel)

The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical running at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre through April 28, 2019. Get tickets and more info here.

The Lightning Thief is a musical based on the Percy Jackson literary series. It’s a fun musical that teaches children the basics of mythology, while giving young adults something to enjoy. Currently playing at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre, The Lightning Thief is here for a short time. Bolt to get tickets as it’s playing for a short run, and will be gone in a flash.

The story line follows young Percy Jackson, a high school student that has trouble in school and has been expelled several times previously. On a school outing to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Percy finds himself attacked by a monstrous fury. Afterwards, he finds himself expelled – yet again. When his mother finds out, she tells him the secret she has kept from him: his father (previously unknown to him) was a Greek god. She sends him off to “Camp Half-Blood”, a place for kids who are half-mortal and half-god, so he can learn about his heritage. At the camp, he finds other kids that are waiting for a sign from their divine parentage to be ‘claimed’ and thus sent on a quest. When someone frames Percy for stealing Zeus’ lightning bolt (which will start a war among the gods), he must go on his quest to find the actual thief. The adventure takes him across the country to L.A. – the residence of the Gates to the Underworld. Percy must find out who is framing him before the creatures from mythology hunt him down and kill him and his friends.

The cast of The Lightning Thief is relatively small with a cast of only seven. Many of them double up roles and do it well without any confusion of crossing over. Ryan Knowles plays (among others) “Chiron”, the centaur. Mr. Knowles uses a prosthetic horse’s tail and moves about the stage in a comical prancing trot. His transformation from human teacher to mythological one is smooth and adds a touch of comedy to the show. Mr. Knowles’ voice is deep and he again uses what tools he posses for both emphases and comedy.

Sarah Beth Pfeifer (who actually understudies the role) plays “Annabeth”, the daughter of Athena on opening night. She presents herself as a strong determined character waiting for a sign of acceptance from her divine mother. Her voice is strong and she does a good job playing the platonic “female best friend” to Percy Jackson.

Jorrel Javier plays “Grover” and “Mr. D-aka Dionysius”. Someone needs to call the police on Mr. Javier because he steals this show! His character is the son of Pan, half goat and half man, with fuzzy goat legs and all (Although no horns, hmmm). The character of Grover is part bungler, part best friend, part guide, and consistent comic relief. Throughout the show his smile is firmly planted and is highly contagious.

On the flip side of his acting persona, Mr. Jorrel Javier plays “Mr. D”, the wine god that is an administrator at Camp Half-Blood and is not happy about it. His frustration at having to deal with teenage ‘half-bloods’ is exemplified in the song “Another Terrible Day”, and the audience immediately sympathizes with him. His voice is strong and with the dual characters Mr. Javier (especially) shows the polar opposites of stage personalities.

Chris McCarrell in The Lightning Thief. (Photo by Jeremy Daniel)

Chris McCarrell in The Lightning Thief at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre. (Photo by Jeremy Daniel)

Chris McCarrell plays Percy Jackson. Recreating his role from the original production (as do several others), Mr. McCarrell’s comfort in the role is evident. He shows the character’s angst and frustrations not only of growing up, but also of trying to understand what it means to be the child of a god.

The Lightning Thief is a fun musical that is a great introduction (or continual support) for those younger audience members. The show is definitely geared towards a younger crowd (I’d say pre-teens to early twenties) but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something for all ages to enjoy. There is no foul language (although a few situations might be scary for the extremely young) and it is something for any family to enjoy and share together.

The Lightning Thief originated as a one-hour musical (2014) before receiving a revamping and expansion to the script. The show opened (with a limited run) on March 23, 2019 with a set closing date for May 06, 2019. Based on the 2005 book (which started a series) by Rick Riordan (who also wrote the music and lyrics for the show – book by Joe Tracz), the book would inspire a film in 2010 and a sequel in 2013.

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Eric Andrews-Katz

Eric Andrews-Katz

Eric Andrews-Katz has short stories included in over 10 anthologies. He is the author of the Agent Buck 98 Series (“The Jesus Injection” and “Balls & Chain”), and the author of the Greek myth series beginning with the novel TARTARUS. He has conducted celebrity interviews with some of the biggest and best names on Broadway, Hollywood and in literature. He can be found at: http://www.EricAndrewsKatz.com

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