Lightning Strikes

November 8, 2019
TEAM PERCY Annabeth, Percy (Chris McCarrell), and Grover (Jorrel Javier) set off on their quest.
JEREMY DANIEL

The Lightning Thief is a best-selling book by Rick Riordan. It has been translated into more than 40 languages. In 2010, it was made into a movie. Now the story of Percy Jackson’s quest to find Zeus’s lightning bolt is a Broadway musical.

The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical opened in 2017 at a small theater in New York City. It went on a tour of 32 cities in the United States. Then it returned to New York. This time, it’s at Broadway’s Longacre Theatre.

The show was written by Joe Tracz. He had the job of adapting Riordan’s book for the stage. “You can’t sum up a 377-page book in a two-hour play,” Tracz told TIME for Kids. “You have to leave some parts out. This is very hard because if we don’t include someone’s favorite part, they might not like the show.”

When Tracz first set out to write the musical, he wanted to strike a tone that was different from that of the movie. “Percy is such a fun-loving kid,” he says. “But the movie is super serious. Instead, we tried to make the musical funny and entertaining.”

Tracz hopes the musical is an immersive experience. “In a movie, everything is happening onscreen,” he says. “But in a play, you are in the story with the actors. You are part of the play.”

Role Call

The show’s seven actors play 47 parts. Some have only one role to play. Others have several.

MEET ANNABETH Kristin Stokes plays Annabeth, a daughter of the goddess Athena, in the musical.

COURTESY THE LIGHTNING THIEF

Actor Kristin Stokes plays just one part, but it’s an important one. She portrays Annabeth, a daughter of the goddess Athena. She helps Percy on his quest. TFK spoke to Stokes about how she prepared for her role. She says some aspects were challenging to get right. “The fight choreography was especially hard because it had to look like we were really fighting,” she says.

How does Stokes get ready for each performance? “I do some meditation, ground myself, and start with a clean slate,” she says.

The Lightning Thief is scheduled to run on Broadway for 16 weeks.