The Dickinson Community Players (DCP) brought Camp Half-Blood to the Chenango Champlain Collegiate Center this past weekend with their rendition of the off-broadway production of “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical.”
The musical is adapted from the first book of author Rick Riordan’s famous series “Percy Jackson and the Olympians,” and featured a variety of catchy and upbeat songs, as well as several recognizable inside jokes and iconic moments from the books that fans of the series could easily catch.
The musical follows Percy Jackson — a boy with ADHD and dyslexia who can’t seem to keep himself out of trouble as he is expelled from school for the sixth year in a row. Percy’s mother decides that it is time to tell him the truth about the identity of his father who has been absent throughout his life, and Percy discovers that he is the son of Poseidon. Soon after this realization, Percy is thrown into a world of gods, half-bloods and monsters and has to go on a quest to retrieve Zeus’s lightning bolt. He is accompanied by Annabeth, the daughter of Athena, and his best friend Grover, who turns out to be a satyr. Throughout the production, they face many challenges on their quest to save Percy’s mom and prevent war among the gods.
“Percy Jackson and the Olympians” is a series that many have grown up with and love. Director Chris Chang, a sophomore double-majoring in philosophy, politics and law and theatre, described the process of choosing to put on this musical.
“A lot goes into deciding which shows to choose — a process that’s run by the E-Board based on what is feasible based on our budget, our stage space and tech requirements,” Chang said. “There’s also the nostalgia aspect that makes ‘The Lightning Thief’ attractive, at least on my part in choosing to direct. I grew up with [Riordan’s] book, so it’s an honor to be able to put my own spin onto something that has been a large part of my childhood.”
With relatable characters and an entertaining storyline, it is easy for people to connect with “The Lightning Thief.” The musical highlights themes of family, friendship and acceptance in a lot of its songs, which many people can identify with.
Alvaro Mijangos Guzman, who played the main character Percy in his first DCP production and a junior majoring in chemistry, commented on how he relates to Percy and how it translated in his performance.
“There have been times where I felt like I was trying to be a good kid and trying to stay focused in school in my early school years but still feeling like no one will listen or recognize my worth,” Mijangos Guzman said. “Using those connections, I was able to channel that raw emotion and energy to provide more power into each scene and musical number, especially in the song ‘Good Kid.’”
Emma Pralle, a first-time performer in a DCP show and a sophomore majoring in linguistics, reflected on how her experience as playing Annabeth with this cast has affected her.
“We really all just kind of seamlessly fit together,” Pralle said. “We didn’t really know each other at first. For a lot of us, this was our first DCP production. It was all really fun, and we made a lot of fun out of it. I’ve met some friends that I know I’m going to hang out with and be around after this show. I’m definitely gonna come back to DCP. This has been so great.”
The audience was very receptive to the humorous aspects of the show, which included the centaur Chiron — played by Sean Mealey, a freshman double-majoring in philosophy, politics and law and theatre — having a comically small horse half that was made with the bottom half of a teddy bear, and Grover — played by Ally Restrepo, a junior double-majoring in environmental studies and theatre — having a long conversation with a squirrel for directions, among many other things.
Overall, the DPC successfully entertained the audience with their rendition of “The Lightning Thief” musical and emulated both the comical and heartfelt aspects of Riordan’s nostalgic book series.