What Is THE LIGHTNING THIEF About? Oh We're Gonna Tell You
Listen up godlings, a god is speaking. It has come to our attention in a recent staff meeting that no one working here has any idea what The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical is really about. Well, thank the gods for yours truly, who is judging them all a little bit. There are technically ten books in the Percy Jackson series and I have read nine of them because the library next door to my apartment (prime real estate!!) keeps renting the last one out to children. Read faster, tiny humans, adults need fantasy escapism too.
Here's the deal: Rick Riordan has done for mythology what JK Rowling did for wizards. We've got a reluctant protagonist (yer a demigod Percy Jackson), a comical best friend (Grover just wants snacks), and the brightest young girl of her age (Annabeth saves the day through ~knowledge~).
If you don't feel like reading the books, you can check out the movie. It's even got Sean Bean playing Zeus. Imagine, Sean Bean as an immortal character. They really caught lightning in a bottle there.
If you didn't just close this article and you also don't feel like watching the movie, read on to find out what The Lightning Thief has in store. And anyone who mentions the second movie is out of the fan club.
So here we are in Manhattan, hanging around with Percy Jackson, a normal twelve-year-old boy. His only problem is he's a little dyslexic. Or a lot. And he's got a bit of the Harry Potter complex where trouble has a way of finding him. But he gets by with a little help from his friend Grover and the teacher who believes in him, Mr. Brunner.
The fateful day begins with a routine field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. As usual Percy finds himself being scolded but soon enough he's in a room with his other teacher, Mrs. Dodds, who has suddenly sprouted wings and claws. And Mr. Brunner is tossing him a pen that turns into a sword and he's swinging away and Mrs. Dodds is a pile of dust.
Fast-forward. No one remembers Mrs. Dodds, Percy is overhearing things about the summer solstice and other things he doesn't understand but at least he gets to go home from boarding school to his mother. He's never met his father but things are okay at home. Until they're not.
In a whirlwind, Percy is torn out of bed because something is looking for him. And Grover suddenly has hooves.
Percy's mother and Grover race to get him to some summer camp they both keep talking about saying he'll be magically safe there. Makes as much sense as it can until the trio is in a showdown with the Minotaur. THE Minotaur, Mr. Half-Bull, Half-Man Himself.
Percy's mother sets out the game-plan. The next thing Percy knows the monster has his mother by the throat and he sees her for the last time. Fueled by rage, Percy singlehandedly takes the Minotaur down right outside the gates of the summer camp: Camp Half-Blood.
Cue the dramatic music because this is where it all begins.
Percy Jackson is no ordinary kid. This comes as no shock to us but he is a little floored to say the least. Percy is what's called a demigod. Think Hercules, Theseus, and Percy's namesake, Perseus. Percy is the son of a mortal and a god. And not just any god.
Many years ago, The Big Three as they're called, Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades, made a pact that they would no longer father demigods (some demigods got a little rowdy in the era of 1939-1942). So isn't Percy in a spot of trouble when he's revealed to be the son of Poseidon.
Camp Half-Blood is where demigods go for protection and training. Monsters roam just as freely as gods and demigods and are always searching for a tasty demigod snack, so the kids have to learn how to fight and protect themselves.
At camp, Percy meets all kinds of new people like Luke, son of Hermes, and Annabeth, daughter of Athena. He also finds out that his friend Grover is a protector, a nature spirit known as a satyr. And Mr. Brunner is none other than the centaur Chiron.
It's all real folks.
In no time at all Percy finds himself roped into a quest. Zeus's master bolt, the symbol of his power, has gone missing, and he thinks Percy stole it. If it isn't returned by the summer solstice, Olympus will go to war.
So no pressure.
Percy consults the Oracle who delivers a spooky prophecy of success, betrayal, and failure. He's also told to head West, which Chiron interprets as meaning a visit to the one god who benefits from a fight between Poseidon and Zeus: Hades.
Thinking ahead to the possibility of finding his mother in the Underworld, Percy takes off with Annabeth and Grover to Hollywood. Because where else would you find the entrance to Hell?
Unable to fly (Zeus is the god of the skies, no son of Poseidon would be safe there), their journey takes them across the country, teaching them the value of friendship, how to find their own strength, and how to kick some serious mythical butt.
Does that sound cool? WELL IT IS. Greek mythology comes to life in the modern era in Percy Jackson's story as he navigates the learning curve as steep as Mount Olympus itself (jk, Mount Olympus is now hovering over the Empire State Building #empirestateofmind).
Catch The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical on Broadway through January 5th. It's sure to be electrifying (lightning humor, boom, I'm out).
Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel