“The Lighting Thief” has it all.
A rock musical score, Greek gods and monsters, epic battles, and the search for belonging.
Presented by the Department of Theatre, the production is adapted from the best-selling book of the same name by Rick Riordan –– the first in the wildly popular “Percy Jackson and the Olympian” series.
It is likely that for many University of Utah students, the series needs no introduction. Take assistant director Lauren Carn, a junior studying theatre teaching, for example.
“I grew up reading and loving the series, so assistant directing this show has definitely been nostalgic and brought out my inner fan-girl,” she explained. “It has been a bit challenging to bring elements of the book to life while respecting the changes Tracz and Rokicki made when adapting the novel to our script. We wanted to make sure that the show made sense in this new play world, while still honoring those who love the novel. I’m proud of the work we have done, and I’m eager to see if our Percy Jackson fanatics pick up on the easter eggs sprinkled throughout.”
“The Lightning Thief” follows Percy, a teenage demigod who has newly discovered powers he can’t control, a destiny he doesn’t want, and a menagerie of monsters on his trail. When Zeus’s lightning bolt is stolen and Percy becomes the prime suspect, he and his friends embark on an epic quest to find the bolt, clear Percy’s name, and prevent an all-out war between the gods.
“This musical deals with themes of loneliness and the challenges of discovering one’s identity, a struggle that everyone goes through,” said Alison Hagen, a senior in the Musical Theatre Program who plays SIlena (amongst other roles) in the show. “There are themes relating to both biological and found family that any audience member can empathize with.”
The mythical world of the play is brought to life by director Alexandra Harbold, with wildly creative set design led by Kaitlyn Crosby, costumes by Mae Hinton-Godfrey, and lighting by Sara Clark.
“I think Percy says it best: Greek mythology is ‘deeply weird,’” Carn said. “I love that ‘The Lightning Thief’ leans into this –– making each creature, God, monster, and half-blood unique. The script pulls us in, helping us understand the complex relationships within the myths, while making us feel that we are a part of an inside joke.”
For Alison Hagen, this unfamiliar world continues to stretch her abilities as an actor.
“Because this show is set in such a fantastical world, it has been so much fun as an actor to live in a space with heightened stakes and realities. In our training as performers, we are constantly reminded to be truthful in our acting, so transferring this honesty into a melodramatic world has been very fun and challenging to navigate,” she said.
Embrace the fantasy and come along for the ride.
“The Lightning Thief”
Saturday, 9/30 @ 2 PM
Sunday, 10/1 @ 2 PM
Thursday, 10/5 @ 7:30 PM
Friday, 10/6 @ 7:30 PM*
Saturday, 10/7 @ 2 PM**
Saturday, 10/7 @ 7:30 PM
Sunday, 10/8 @ 2 PM
*ASL Interpreted performance and Audience Talkback
** Sensory-Friendly matinee
Students get in free with Arts Pass! Present your UCard at the Pioneer Theatre Company box office in advance, or the venue box office just before the performance.