Typically, students do not direct musicals at Truman State University. Jack Danter, a senior currently applying to graduate schools for directing, saw a challenge and asked for the opportunity to direct “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical.” Students aren’t normally allowed to direct musicals, but Jack decided to ask Professor Cat Gleason if she would be willing to take this show off and hand it to them.
Having directed a one-act play beforehand, a musical was a new and exciting undertaking for them.
“I like what I did with the one-act, but this is so incredibly different. This is 27 musical numbers, eight choreographed fight scenes, and it’s a two hour long musical. We have three and a half weeks to pull it off,” Danter said.
“I wanted to really push for ‘The Lightning Thief’ because of what I thought it would be for our students. Adults mush our age group with the ‘Harry Potter’ generation, and it definitely is true I think there’s a subcategory in college right now who grew up with Rick Riordan’s book series as a fundamental part of their childhood,” Danter said.
Our theater department’s rendition of the musical is the month in between Rick Riordan’s newest book and the new “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” TV show. The series is making a comeback more than ever. All of the advertisements for all of the new Percy Jackson media gets to double as an exciting reminder to see their performance.
The lead actress, playing Percy Jackson himself, is Lydia Lamb. The summer going into her freshman year of college, she read the “Percy Jackson” series. Now she finds herself playing Percy, and couldn’t be happier.
“Some actors in the show hadn’t read the books before getting cast, but now they are reading the books to help learn their characters and are becoming fast fans of the series.” Lamb said.
On top of starting a new love of the series, this show is at the start of many actors’ careers at Truman. Most of the cast is underclassmen. Danter is excited and proud to see all of the new members joining the department.
Finding time to fit all of the various components of the show into three and a half weeks has been difficult for the cast and crew, but they tackled it with confidence. They have to find time to schedule all of the various types of vocal rehearsals, block the entire show, block and learn the fight choreography, learn lines, build sets, and do light and sound design in only that short time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but the cast and crew can build Olympus in only three and a half weeks.
This is the theater department’s first show without a live band playing music. They are using premade tracks for the first time. It was hard at first for them to learn the system, but now they think it could be a helpful tool because you can practice with the music exactly how it will sound during the show from the beginning of vocal rehearsals. The only component making it possible to have backing music is a computer.
With all these new factors and components, it is exciting to see how this show will come together. Showings are November 9-11, at 7:30 p.m., November 12, at 2 p.m., and November 15-16, at 7:30 p.m.