Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Flying demons, golden swords, quarreling gods, a goat-legged companion - and you thought your teenage years were rough! Grab your questing backpacks and head off to Camp Half-Blood with St. Andrew's Episcopal School's mystical production of The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical.
Originally staged Off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in 2014, the musical adaptation of Rick Riordan's beloved 2005 novel follows Percy Jackson, a kind-hearted and unsuspecting teenager whose life is turned upside down when he's suddenly called to the aid of his divine parent: the Greek sea god, Poseidon. Infused with all the mythological shenanigans and wise-cracking humor of the bestselling series, The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical has delighted audiences on small and large stages alike, breathing new life into the ancient hero's tale.
The cast of St. Andrew's production brought a lively energy to each role, from the largest god to the smallest squirrel, creating a well-rounded ensemble of plucky demigods ready for their next adventure. Each member of St. Andrew's The Lightning Thief worked in unison, resulting in a lighthearted, enjoyable performance.
At the helm of the production was Joel Crump, with his show-stealing performance as loveable misfit Percy Jackson. Crump fully embodied Percy's hyperactive and child-like energy, with a broad stance and ever-bouncing movement that captured the character's drive for action. Whether singing alone or with the ensemble, Crump's incredible vocals carried the heart of the production. In the song "Good Kid," Crump expertly utilized both a soft falsetto and powerful belt to convey the character's inner conflict, demonstrating an impressive understanding of both vocal and emotional nuance. Grounding Percy's frenetic inexperience was Charlotte Lobringfs more serious, dryly sarcastic Annabeth. Lobring's beautiful singing and more severe, measured delivery balanced Crump's brave yet uncertain Percy, creating a dynamic duo that brought the show's adventurous spirit center stage.
Lara Alarapon shone as Sally Jackson, managing to convincingly portray a loving yet exhausted mother with an emotional complexity beyond high school experience. Alarapon's powerful yet soothing voice blended well with Crump's, the two actors navigating both their solo and duet lines during the song "Strong" in perfect harmony. Just as entertaining was Gabriel Martinez's performance as the child-hating Mr. D, Camp Half-Blood's very own godly director. Each half-blood's complaint during "Another Terrible Day" was matched by Martinez's increasingly desperate, overdramatic energy, with his movements becoming more and more comically melodramatic as the song went on.
Throughout the production, the lighting team, led by designers Christina Rowe and Rebecca Piercey, utilized consistent color themes to represent various characters and emotions. Percy, often represented by a single blue spotlight, was illuminated with the addition of green and purple when joined on his quest by Grover and Annabeth, respectively. Lila Segal's props team created everything from a working Camp Half-Blood megaphone for Mr. D to a transforming pen-sword for Percy, each piece laden with detailed references from the original source material. Large monsters came to life with Ella Smith's props, and included a winged Fury and red-eyed Minotaur that were worn by the performers themselves.
With its contagious energy, fun-loving spirit, and heartwarming message, St. Andrew's production of The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical was a worthwhile adventure, reminding us that it's our differences that make us who we are, and that true strength lies in embracing them.
Herndon High School
School's out, and the sunny days of summer camp are here- but if you're Percy Jackson, you might be running from minotaurs instead of roasting marshmallows! At St. Andrew's Episcopal School's production of The Lightning Thief, the story of one hero came to life with all the power of the gods.
The Lightning Thief premiered Off-Broadway in 2014 and went on to have two national tours and a Broadway run by 2019. Written by Joe Tracz and with music by Rob Rokicki, it's an adaptation of Rick Riordan's most popular book series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians. The titular Percy is the son of Greek god Poseidon and must go on a quest with other demigods to save the world. St. Andrew's embraced the rock-infused score and myriad of magical effects, creating ingenious puppets and memorable scenes.
Giving a mythic performance as Percy was Joel Crump, backed by a bright ensemble of campers, gods, and forest animals. Each character established themselves, even with only one or two lines, as a part of the fantastical world of the show. Their energy was only matched by that of the main trio- Percy, Annabeth (Charlotte Lobring), and Grover (Eliora Adu), whose camaraderie grew over the course of their journey.
Crump in particular had lightning-bright vocals (even while climbing up and down the set's scaffolding!) giving beautiful performances in songs such as "Son of Poseidon" and "Good Kid." The latter was a powerful reminder that Percy was only a child, all he wanted was a place where he belonged. Lobring as Annabeth had a strong presence in every scene, asserting her strategy and skill as the daughter of Athena, goddess of wisdom. And Adu as Grover brought much-needed comedy to a tense story but was also able to switch into a more emotional side, telling Percy about a former friend named Thalia (Ada Shin), who'd sacrificed herself to save others.
The three children were balanced by two adult mentors, Chiron (Cameron Best) and Mr. D (Gabriel Martinez), better known as Dionysus, god of wine. Best had a gentle voice to match his calming, father-like character, while Martinez had wild movements and facial expressions as he explained his torturous time as camp director in "Another Terrible Day." Percy's mother Sally (Lara Alarapon) was played to sugar-sweet perfection, with a tough side to her as she promised to protect Percy no matter what. Her voice in "Strong" was just as powerful as her story, raising Percy on her own after Poseidon left. Each adult was a reminder that this story wasn't merely about summer campers.
The ensemble featured several notable characters (Nicole Pathak as a helpful squirrel, and Cameron Best in a second role as a farmer) and shone bright as fireflies in moments like "Campfire Song," allowing each demigod to tell a little of their story. Helping highlight each character was the lighting team (Christina Rowe, Rebecca Piercey, and Vince Wayne). Their usage of different colored lights for each character, like blue for Percy or green for Grover, was impressive, and the stage covered in underwater lighting effects was beautiful to behold. Meanwhile, Lila Segal and Ella Smith created impressive props, the latter building a towering minotaur puppet (piloted by Zyley Bender) whose eyes glowed red in the darkness. It was a terrifying sight for both the audience and Percy.
Summer may always come to a close, but as St. Andrew's displayed, the friends we make along the perilous journey are what mean the most. So as Percy, Annabeth and Grover would say, "Bring on the Monsters!"