‘The Lightning Thief Musical’ opening
On Saturday, March 11, the ‘The Lightning Thief’ cast brought the house down with a full standing ovation.
The show centers around a young boy, Percy Jackson, as he learns about his godly parentage and finds a home among his friends. Throughout the show, the audience was immersed in heartfelt songs about growing up “abnormal,” quippy lines and disco dance numbers that were met with wild cheers.
Percy (portrayed by Ben Demase) struggles with ADHD and dyslexia. Upon getting expelled from his sixth school in six years, Percy’s mother, Sally Jackson (portrayed by Juliet Marsh) decides to reveal a secret about her past that will change his life forever. Throughout the musical, he makes friends with satyrs, “half-bloods” and gods and monsters alike.
The show opened on Thursday, March 9—and the audience loved it. Junior Brittany Garman found herself shocked by the lighting effects and overall technical aspects of the show.
“I’m not usually super into musicals, but the cast was really talented and overall I really enjoyed it,” Garman said.
For the cast, it was an incredible feeling to know they were reaping the rewards of three months of hard work. The Lightning Thief was freshman Sarah Bader’s first show at Valley, and she found a real family among her peers through it.
“I’ve definitely become close with everyone in the cast,” Bader said. “My favorite memory is the rush of adrenaline doing energy warm ups. It brings us together as a group and fills me with a sense of connection like no other.”
Bader was an ensemble member, both figuratively and literally. She played a camper, statue, reaper, Bianca and she’s the understudy for Chiron. She was even the assistant choreographer.
“I highly enjoy being in the ensemble simply because I get to play a lot of characters, which is more enjoyable for me than playing one set character,” Bader said. “There’s definitely been times I’m the only freshman working on things in the show, and that’s always a cool feeling.”
Sophomore Aiden Schwartz helped with the show behind the scenes in his role as the Assistant Stage Manager. His job was to watch over the backstage, make turn transitions go slowly and watch out for trouble. Additionally, Schwartz was in charge of making sure the cast stayed safe on the set and that the props were prepped and ready before a show.
“Getting the chance to hang out in the booth with all the tech kids was probably the most fun I’ve had in a hot minute,” Schwartz said. “Once you find your group of people to hang out with, it really changes the experience from working until 9 to hanging out with your friends until 9.”
When he wasn’t minding the stage, Schwartz hung out with his fellow cast and crew. Often, he was found chatting and helping the costume designers or socializing during dinner.
For much of the cast, there’s sentimental value attached to the show beyond the memories they’ve made thus far. When the novel first came out, many children connected with the characters because of their deeply personal messages about learning disabilities, familial struggles and growing into adulthood.
Junior Roguen Pricer, who played one of Percy’s closest friends Annabeth Chase, was thrilled when she got the role.
“I relate to Annabeth so much and she was such a big part of my childhood.” Pricer said. “I have made many new friendships throughout this experience. I’ve gotten closer to the freshmen and sophomores, and I’m so sad to let go of the seniors at the end of this year. I love them so much.”
‘The Lightning Thief’ was Pricer’s third show with the department. Previously, she was in the cast of “Into the Woods” and “Almost, Maine.” With each show, Pricer has built a personal tradition.
“I get the entire cast to sign my shoe.” Pricer said. “I have one from ‘Almost, Maine’ and one from ‘The Lightning Thief’. I really like it because everyone’s signature has so much personality and it is just a good memory.”
Demase was grateful for the opportunity to showcase all the cast’s hard work and talent from over the past few months, as well as share a story that many kids can relate to.
“It’s been a great experience being part of this musical and it’s been really fun.” Demase said. “Percy Jackson is literally my favorite book series and fictional universe. It’s so kickbutt. There’s no other way to describe it—it’s the best musical you’ll see, 100%. Broadway who?”