Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Seattle

The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical
National Tour
Review by David Edward Hughes

The Cast
Photo by Jeremy Daniel
The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical could be described as a show for the whole family, but it was clear at the performance I attended at the 5th Avenue Theatre that its fan base is clearly 8-18 year olds, who are vociferous in their adulation. This is a musical version of Rick Riordan's first book in his best-selling series of young adult novels integrating Greek myths with adolescent anxiety. The show is full of campy humor, ingenious and humorous low-tech effects, a tireless and energetic cast, and an agreeable if largely forgettable score (not helped by a sound design that obscured at least 50% of the song lyrics).

Unlike the film version, the musical remains quite faithful to spirit and plot of the book. Troubled teen Percy Jackson discovers he's a demigod (Perseus) who, with a few of his new half-blood pals, embarks on a quest to prevent an all-out war among their powerful parents while also rescuing his mother from Hades. It's an episodic adventure with numerous legendary baddies along the way (the Furies, Medusa, and Hades). But underneath its fantasy trappings is a relatable coming-of-age tale about growing up and finding your place in the world—mythical or otherwise.

As Percy, Chris McCarrell is handsome with a solid pop/rock voice and comic chops. He leads the ensemble commandingly in the opening number "The Day I Got Expelled," as well as "Good Kid." The engaging Sarah Beth Pfeiffer as feisty girlfriend Annabeth (Athena's daughter) really makes her big solo "My Grand Plan" one of the highlights of the evening. Jorrel Javier as the dorky satyr Grover is great comic relief, yet handles the introspective "The Tree on the Hill" beautifully. Sadly, he rather overdoes and under-enunciates in his smaller role of Mr. D (as in Dionysus). Ryan Knowles also registers strongly in adult parts, especially prancing centaur Chiron and a super-chill, aloha shirt-clad Poseidon. T. Shyvonne Stewart offers up strong support in the role of Percy's mortal mother Clarisse and others, while James Hayden Rodrigues gets to show impressive range in his major role as Luke.

Director Stephen Brackett paces the show perfectly, dialing down the jokes and revving up the sentiment as needed. Rob Rokicki's score may be worth another listen to hear all the lyrics that were lost by the sound issues. Choreographer Patrick McCollum has crafted the musical numbers with skill and spirit. Joe Tracz's book translates the tale well from page to stage. It was odd to see such a small scale show on the 5th Avenue stage, but somehow, Lee Savage's efficient set makes itself right at home there.

The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, through April 28, 2019, at The 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 5th Avenue, Seattle WA. For tickets and information, call 206-625-1900 or visit For more information on the tour, visit