The Lightning Thief, an American fantasy-adventure novel based on Greek mythology,  where a half-blood by the name of Percy Jackson is now a featured play at Oriental Theatre for a limited engagement. Based on the cult-classic Young Adult novel by the acclaimed author Rick Riordan this Off-Broadway musical that garnered three Drama Desk Award nominations including Outstanding Musical is here with some fierce action, music, and innovative magic.

The Lightning Thief follows a young 12-year-old boy with ADHD and dyslexia who journeys into a world filled with Greek gods and mythological monsters. You can imagine life is hard especially when you discovered you're a demi-god (who is the offspring of a god and a human) the son of the God of the Sea Poseidon. Percy never seems to fit in and is continuously expelled from any school he attends.     

This epic fantasy-adventure of Greek myths opens up at a field trip at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, where Percy Jackson (Chris McCarrell) substitute pre-algebra teacher, Mrs. Dodds (Sarah Beth Pfeifer) is transformed into a fury, mythological Greek demon of Hades.


Here, at the half-blood school where all of the children feel like unwanted Rudolph the Reindeer gifts, and speak ill about their parents that are gods is where we find Percy. Sent to a school for half-bloods, he is once again face being expelled again because Zeus is furious that he is there because the three eldest

male gods, Poseidon, Hades, and Zeus agreed not to have more children for over seven decades. Percy, who has been accused of stealing Zeus lightning bolt, is required to go on a quest to bring it back to prevent a war amongst the gods.   

This play will be a must see of parents with children, which would be great if you could drop them off and get them again after the two-hour play is over. Parents that have to sit through it will find themselves fighting to keep their eyes open.  We sat around several kids, and they seemed to be excited with some a little confused that the boy playing Percy appears to be twice the age of the movie version.

We felt the music, singing, and acting was note-worthy and will entertain the kids, but the stage surrounding the actors could have been more vivid and engaging, and parents will have to answers questions about scenes not included in the play. This version of The Lighting Theif needs more scenic design and a budget to improve its props but like the play tells us; we all have issues.       


Chris McCarrell originated the role of Percy Jackson in the 2017 Off-Broadway production of ‘The Lightning Thief,' and he worked his magic into the 2019 production. Ryan Knowles (Chiron and others) captivated you with the wild and zany characters that he played throughout the play, and Jalynn Steele (Sally and others) enticed you with her golden voice and various characters throughout the production.  

Director Stephen Brackett leads this between myths and legends cast in an electrifying kid-friendly adventure with pure imagination that is worthy for the Greek gods, but some of the kids will be asking what happen to the three-headed dragon!

For entertaining your kids, Let's Play ‘Recommends' this mythological event between this world and the next at Oriental Theatre. Your kids will love you for it!

Oriental Theatre Presents

The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical

Book by Joe Tracz

Music and Lyrics by Rob Rokicki

Adapted from the novel, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Directed by: Stephen Brackett

January 8th – January 13th

Filed under: ChicagoNow

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