Percy Jackson Is Coming Home

A literary sensation of Olympic proportions heads to Broadway

With+an+official+opening+date+of+Oct.+16%2C+Percy+Jackson%27s+show+will+begin+previews+Friday.
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Percy Jackson Is Coming Home

With an official opening date of Oct. 16, Percy Jackson's show will begin previews Friday.

With an official opening date of Oct. 16, Percy Jackson's show will begin previews Friday.

PHOTO COURTESY OF JEREMY DANIEL

With an official opening date of Oct. 16, Percy Jackson's show will begin previews Friday.

PHOTO COURTESY OF JEREMY DANIEL

PHOTO COURTESY OF JEREMY DANIEL

With an official opening date of Oct. 16, Percy Jackson's show will begin previews Friday.

By MARIELLE SARMIENTO, Features Editor

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On March 31, the energy outside of the Beacon Theatre was electric. The crowds of people waiting to enter were dotted with bright orange Camp Half-Blood T-shirts, donned by enthusiastic children and excited adults alike. Demigods young and old were all ready to experience “The Lightning Thief (TLT): The Percy Jackson Musical.” Six months later, Percy Jackson is finally coming back home to New York City. 

Adapted by Joe Trucz (“Be More Chill”) from the first book of the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series by Rick Riordan, and with music by Rob Rokicki, “TLT” is about demigod Percy Jackson and his friends as they battle modern-day monsters of Greek mythology.

The show opened off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theater in March 2017 with a limited 3-month run. The national tour kicked off in January of this year, returning to New York at The Beacon Theater for a 3-night run.  

“TLT” gained traction, and an active social media following during the national tour, when positive reviews started popping up in the young adult book community. Percy Jackson fans raved about how accurate and true the musical was to the essence of the book series in comparison to the movie adaptation of “TLT” in 2010. The show’s official Twitter’s bio even states, “Maybe you’ve heard of a movie with a similar title — we’re not that, we’re based on @camphalfblood’s book.” 

Nearing the end of the national tour in late July, fans started tweeting #BringTheBoltToBroadway. “TLT’s” social media accounts entertained the fans’ shenanigans, even posting Broadway memes themselves. 

On Aug. 12, less than two weeks after the national tour ended,  “TLT” announced it was headed to Broadway. “TLT’s” Twitter account has sinced changed its name to “The Percy Jackson Musical is GOING TO BROADWAY!!!” in honor of its scheduled 16-week run starting Sept. 20 at the Longacre Theatre.

W. 48th Street should be renamed Greek row. “TLT” will be right across the street from the Walter Kerr Theatre, the home of “Hadestown,” a musical that reimagines the myths of Orpheus and Eurydice and Hades and Persephone (and is the Fordham Family Weekend show at the end of September). “Hercules,” an adaptation of the Disney version, ran at the Public Theater this August, adding to the Greek mythology revival of the New York theater scene.

“TLT” was originally an hour-long musical in concert before receiving an updated score and expanded script for off-Broadway and the tour. The entire original national tour cast, including leads Chris McCarrell (Percy) and Kristin Stokes (Annabeth) are returning for Broadway — a testament to the success of the musical so far. 

As a book-inspired production, “TLT” falls in the same category as Team Starkid’s college production of “A Very Potter Musical” and off-Broadway’s “Puffs,” rather than serious Olivier-award winning “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” “TLT” very much embodies the genuine humor and plotlines that are true to the book. “TLT” is a hard book to adapt. The 377-page novel’s numerous side quests translate perfectly as a musical montage number. 

If the Broadway version of the show doesn’t stray from the national tour, audiences can expect a fresh reimagining of Rick Riordan’s characters made to sing — much of the dialogue is word-for-word from the chapters of the “Lightning Thief” book. Unlike most adaptations that age up their adolescent characters to teens and young adults, “TLT” remains true to the book and makes it explicitly clear that Percy and Annabeth are 12. The designers made innovative choices in their colorful costuming and scrappy props when it came to visually representing the fantastical monsters and larger-than-life gods of Greek mythology. The show’s industrial, dark scaffolding set is an adaptive backdrop to assist audiences as the show jumps between Manhattan, Camp Half-Blood, Los Angeles and the Underworld. The grungy feel of the production fits the rock music score as well as the folk songs reminiscent of the nostalgia of summer camp. 

The audience at the Beacon Theatre in March was fully invested on this “Killer Quest,” every musical number ending in whoops and applause and almost every character having to pause their lines for laughter and clapping. The outpouring of support from fans since the Broadway announcement hints that the Longacre audiences will react the same way.