BWW Review: THE LIGHTNING THIEF THE PERCY JACKSON MUSICAL at Tobin Center For The Performing Arts
Upon entering the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, it was evident that there was a lot of excitement and anticipation for THE LIGHTNING THIEF THE PERCY JACKSON MUSICAL. It was also evident that the majority of attendees were young middle school aged girls who had apparently read all the books and couldn't wait to see what the musical had in store. It seemed that if a show was going to attract this audience, it may not be the best show. But, keeping an open mind helps. So, the expectations weren't too high as seats were taken and the lights dimmed.
However, as the actors took the stage, it certainly was not any mediocre show. The actors blew it out of the Tobin Center as the crescendo died down from the opening number and the audience applauded their approval. The shear professionalism and talent shown from each and every actor was amazing. Most were focusing on the talents of the lead himself, Chris McCarrell as Percy Jackson as he proved his expertise and professional training from Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music. He was perfect for the part. McCarrell had originated the character in the off-Broadway 2017 production and has only proven his continual evolving of the character and making the part his own has he has toured around with this production. Of particular note, as McCarrell belted out "Good Kid," it gave the audience a chance to see his raw talent.
As the focus shifted throughout the show, all the other actors had a chance to show off their talents as well. One actor, Ryan Knowles, played multiple characters and seemed to steal the show whenever he graced the stage as a different character. Knowles played the parts of Chiron, Hades, Medusa, and others. His talents entertained kids and parents as the ridiculousness of each character portrayed seemed to be written exclusively for Knowles. A real scene stealer was when he sauntered out onstage as Aunt Em/Medusa. Talk about characters larger than life. Knowles made this character his own. And as Hades, Knowles did some great impersonations as Paul Lynde and maybe a touch of Jack Nicholson.
Of particular stand-out and a real talent was that of Kristin Stokes as she played the part of Annabeth, daughter of goddess Athena. While the show included her in most scenes alongside of McCarrell, it wasn't until the second act that Stokes had her moment in the spotlight to share her strong vocals. As she sang, "My Grand Plan," the audience was on the edge of their seats. They were blown away. It seems as if everyone wanted to stand up and cheer as she hit the last notes.
In the end, THE LIGHTNING THIEF THE PERCY JACKSON MUSICAL lived up to its hype and continues to entertain audiences across the country. If you get a chance to see it, don't miss it. You don't have to be a fan of the Percy Jackson books or know a lot about Greek gods to enjoy this fun musical.
PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy Daniel