Briarcliff High School will present “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical,” a family-friendly, high-energy show with a big cast, upbeat rock & roll music and state-of-the-art special effects.
The show, which is based on the book series by Rick Riordan, is about Percy Jackson, a demigod and the son of Poseidon. According to director Paul Kite, it is a coming-of-age story as Percy deals with coming to terms with the fact that his parents have left him a world that he may have to fix and that may not be as good as he thought it was.
“It is about teens understanding that they are in a world that isn’t exactly perfect and figuring out how they can negotiate that,” Kite said.
Kite is looking forward to producing a big show.
“We have 20 students in the cast, and we will do amazing projections and use a fog machine,” he said. “Plus, the music is really fun – very contemporary rock & roll.”
According to Kite, he was especially interested in putting on a show that is familiar to both the students who will be watching the show, as well as to the students performing in it.
“I wanted to bring people back to the theater,” he said. “It is a great story that could very much resonate even with kids as young as first grade. The show has a ton of heart – there’s something in it for everyone across all ages.”
Senior Zach Hoyer plays 12-year-old Percy Jackson.
“Although Percy is significantly younger than I am, the idea of embodying the coming-of-age perspective is fun,” he said. “It is a journey of self-discovery: he changes his perspective and I can show his inner struggles.”
Junior Gordon Beckler, who plays the role of Grover, said the music adds another dimension to the story.
“I love how the songs develop the story and push the plot forward,” he said. “The songs provide a lot of important information about the character and tell us about who they are.”
“The music gives insight to how the characters are feeling and what they are thinking,” said senior Jennifer Burnette, who plays Percy’s and Grover’s friend, Annabeth.
All three students read the book. Gordon even saw the show on Broadway, so he is especially excited to do his own version of it.
“It’s fun to make it our own,” he said. “We have to stick to the script, of course, but we make it our own with the delivery. We might even be doing more in terms of tech stuff than in the original show.”
“As an actor in a show, seeing this amazing tech behind you, such as the scenery, inspires you to really get into your part,” Jennifer said. “I am so excited to be doing the show. I have been working with Kite throughout high school and he is really creative and brings a new energy to the show.”
Reading the book before the performance is not necessary, although, according to Kite, seeing the show could very well inspire kids who have not yet read the book to ask for it and perhaps be curious to learn more about Greek mythology.
“The musical is a gateway to the book, which is a gateway to the Greek mythology stories,” Kite said.
Friday, March 10 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, March 11 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, March 12 at 2:30 pm