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Music Review

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The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical
Original Cast Recording


Music: Rob Rokicki
Lyrics: Rob Rokicki
Performed by: Chris McCarrell, George Salazar, Kristin Stokes, James Hayden Rodriguez and Carrie Compere
Label: Broadway Records
RRP: £12.99
Release Date: 07 July 2017

Over the last decade, there has been a growth in musicals based on superheroes and sci-fi. Before that, apart from a couple of theme park related shows, and the odd Star Wars spectacular (ahem…) there was virtually nothing written. And even of the ones written recently, nothing has really been that successful - in fact, one of them (U2’s Spiderman - Turn Off The Dark) was perhaps one of the decades biggest flops. So I was a little surprised to see another musical, this time based around the excellent Percy Jackson books (by Rick Riordan) and subsequent movies.

And it’s clear this musical has excited people. Van Dean, the president of the excellent Broadway Records says "From the moment the first note played at The Lighting Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, I knew I wanted to be involved in the future of this new, exciting musical. It’s a vibrant and original adaptation of a story that is beloved by millions. I think the fans will truly love this album".

I knew nothing of the show or the music, or indeed the composer when it arrived for review. Indeed the cast is also pretty unknown, at least to me. It features the original Off-Broadway cast including Chris McCarrell (Les Misérables) as Percy Jackson, Carrie Compere (Broadway: The Color Purple, Holler If Ya Hear Me) as Sally, Sarah Beth Pfeifer (Nat'l tour: Legally Blonde: The Musical) and Clarisse, Jonathan Raviv (The Band’s Visit) as Brunner, James Hayden Rodriguez (National Tour: Spring Awakening) as Luke, George Salazar (Broadway: Godspell. Nat'l tour: Spring Awakening) as Grover, and Kristin Stokes (NY: Fly by Night, Regional: Diary of a Wimpy Kid) as Annabeth.

The story is pretty normal for this genre - Percy Jackson has newly discovered powers he can’t control, monsters on his trail, and he is on a quest to find Zeus’s lightning bolt and prevent a war between the Greek gods. Normal is a myth when you’re a demigod of course.

Undoubtedly, this is a show you have to see to appreciate. Whilst the CD is very listenable, it’s standard rock musical munch, and isn’t that memorable. There are a couple of standout songs - ‘Good Kid’ is the song that seems to be getting the publicity, and deservedly so I think. It’s pretty much the only one I remembered on subsequent listened. The band line up is traditional rock, works well for the numbers, and sounds great. As usual the production values on the album, and the packaging are up to Broadway Records’ usual standard.

Chris McCarrell as Percy is the obvious star here. That said, no-one lets the side down on this album, but then again, Chris included, no-one’s performance made me want to go and look up their back catalogue.

A good album, but I think it’s a better accompaniment to seeing the show, than a stand-alone experience.


Ian Gude

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