Remember when you were 12 years old and the protagonist of the young adult book you’d checked out of the library dictated your every move? The first protagonist and hero’s journey we were on in adolescence taught us the formative life lessons that carried us through the rocky roads of middle school. Now think of that imaginative feeling: the excitement, the wonder, the adoration, the desire … all bottled up in a musical.
Magic, Greek mythology and your favorite childhood protagonist are all coming to a stage near you in the form of a brand new touring musical. “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical” is the newest page to stage adaptation, which began its North American tour in Jan. 2019. From Feb. 26th through Mar. 9th, the touring cast will find home at Detroit’s Fisher Theatre. The musical is based off the beloved action adventure “Lightning Thief” novels by author Rick Riordan, which follow Percy Jackson, the misunderstood son of the Greek god Poseidon.
The adaptation has a book by Joe Tracz (“Be More Chill”) and music and lyrics by University of Michigan alumni Rob Rokicki. The musical racked up three Drama Desk Award nominations, including Best Musical. The touring production is directed by Stephen Brackett and choreographed by Broadway’s own Patrick McCollum.
The cast stars Broadway’s Chris McCarrell as Percy Jackson and passionate, talented newcomer Jorrel Javier as his sidekick, Grover. In an interview with The Daily, Javier, who recently graduated with a BFA from Texas State University, spoke a bit on the musical and why everyone, regardless of age and connection to the novels, should rush and buy tickets.
“The musical’s plot follows the plot of the original story in the novels, however, it has so many underlying implications. At its heart, this musical has so much power. It’s about being an outcast and being strong in your strength and individuality,” he said.
In any touring performance, the cast is expected to not only be extremely talented and qualified, but also flexible and open for change. Every ten days or so, the cast travels to the next major theatre in America, where they rehearse and put on their show, before closing to go to the next venue in a different city. This requires a level of skill and adaptability and being comfortable and open minded with travel and new places. When asked about the touring experience, Javier had only good things to say.
“The cast is so incredible. I had just moved to New York when I found out. I booked the tour and immediately had to get ready to hit the road. The cast has been so loving and supportive of me and this new experience being that this is my first time on the road touring.”
Prior to leaving on the tour, the cast had some time in New York to rehearse and put the new piece of musical theatre together. The musical was still undergoing changes and adjustments prior to leaving on the tour which made the rehearsal process very unique and exciting. This gave the actors in the room rehearsing a bigger chance to be collaborators on the script and the music, as it was still in a draft during their rehearsals.