By Aileen Lawrence
Tucked away in a reformed chapel next to the library lays our very own theater where the Performing Arts Program lives. Though it may be small, they are mighty. Throughout the coming months, walking past Malibu Hall, you may hear a musical in the works. Specifically, the godly sounds of the cast of The Lightening Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, co-directed by performing arts Professor Laura Covault and class of 2023 theater alum Griffin Giboney.
The Lightning Thief: A Percy Jackson Musical is an upbeat albeit angsty rock musical adaptation of the popular and award-winning novel by Rick Riordan. It follows a rather unlucky twelve-year-old, Percy, as he tries to be a good kid. Our story starts on the day he got expelled from school, the sixth time. Percy faces a monster and a minotaur and after standing strong against them, ends up at Camp Half Blood where he learns the truth about his absent father. On top of all these new additions to his life, Percy is then blamed by Zeus for stealing his lightning. After a trip to The Oracle, Percy creates a grand plan.
Percy along with his motley crew of friends, Grover, a satyr and Annabeth, a fellow half-blood, go on a killer quest where they eagerly bring on the monsters, Mozart and even Medusa in effort to prevent an Olympian civil war.
“It’s a bunch of angsty teens going through puberty. If that isn’t relatable, it’s funny” laughed class of 2023 dance alumna, Maddy Hitchcock, choreographer, and the first person to graduate from the new Dance Studies Program
The Lightning Thief is a godly adaptation and is a true homage to the original series. This musical is overall, campy – in more than one way. If you hated the movies, you will love the musical. The cast and crew are clearly eager to put on the production. In fact, a CI musical has been long awaited.
The Performing Arts Program’s last musical was produced in fall of 2018. CI put on “In the Heights,” by The Tony Award-winning Lin Manuel Miranda. Our production was used as a platform by Lin Manuel Miranda to promote UNIDOS disaster relief and recovery program to support Puerto Rico when Hurricane Maria hit. Lin Manual Miranda and Luis Miranda, Lin’s dad, both visited CI and spent a day with the cast.
Unfortunately, the Performing Arts Program’s musical successes were cut short due to the pandemic. Since coming back, students, staff and more have been waiting to put on a musical production. “Griff (Griffin) and I have been waiting three years to do a musical, and right when we graduate, we do one. No, I’m not salty about it at all,” said Hitchcock.
The Lightning Thief: A Percy Jackson Musical opens Nov. 9, but make sure to see it more than once! The leading role is double-casted with Ben Muley, second year performing arts major as Percy 1 and, making his leading man debut, AJ Antonio second year mechatronics major as Percy 2. Both are uniquely phenomenal and carry a magical essence. Antonio brings an emotional depth to a rather shallow seeming Percy while Muley is expertly able to make an easily unlikable middle school Percy, not only loveable but unforgettable.
“It’s a really good show, especially with the themes of sense of belonging, family – it’s a found family show,” said Antonio. The Lightning Thief at its core is about creating a family and finding the power withing yourself and from others, to bring on the real world.
Performances run two weekends, Nov. 9-11 and 16-18. Be on the lookout for performance times on their Instagram @ciperformingarts. Tickets are free for CI students.