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Talented High School Teenagers Deliver an Energy Packed Premiere Production of ‘The Lightning Thief’ at Davidson’s Art Space Stage

by | Oct 13, 2022

The area premiere of The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical staged at Davidson’s Art Space rocks! The high school collaborative production by Mooresville Community Children’s Theatre and Community School of Davidson delivers it all—action, dancing, singing, and fantasy with unfailing energy, exhibiting remarkable skill onstage and behind the scenes.

(Hannah Roberge photo)

Adapted from Rick Riordan’s book written for young adults, The Lightning Thief is a fantasy adventure based on Greek mythology. Percy Jackson’s musical adaptation is written by Joe Tracz with music and lyrics by Rob Rokicky. The CSD/MCCT production is directed by Melissa Ohlman-Roberge, choreographed by Jenna Tyrell, and produced by Gina Duckworth.

The storyline is entertaining, the staging at Art Space is energetic, and the performers exhibit boundless talent. But the most rewarding outcome of the show is to see a group of teenage thespians from several different schools cohesively delivering powerful theatrical magic with such delightful grace. They’re gifted and they’re fun!

The Art Space production is run entirely by the selected high school students. They come from various institutions around the area including Northwest, Lake Norman High, Christ the King, Liberty Prep, Hough, Corian Community High, Community School of Davidson, and college-prep Mitchell. Some are home schooled.

Interestingly, I identify at the onset with energetic Percy Jackson played by Griffin Small. He’s been expelled from school for creating turmoil and like him, years ago, so was I. Percy however, who lives with his mother, is swept into mythical adventure in search of his father, Zeus. The young actor is permanently onstage during the two action-packed acts. He never flubs a line and delivers all the songs and dances with gusto.

Percy’s sidekick Grover, is performed by Dylan Underwood, making his stage debut with unerring ease. Surely, he’s headed for fame. And so is Sophie Miller who plays Annabeth Chase, in

(Hannah Roberge photo)

stride with Percy and Grover’s pace.

The fourth leading actor of the action-packed adventure is the soloist, Jack Tyrell, who plays the antagonist Luke Castellan, swinging from reality roles to the Minotaur in the mythical land.

Theatrical tricks abound—flying and tossing colorful chunks of confetti, beads, even mega rolls of TP. The backstage crew has a massive cleanup job at the end—untold amounts of things are flung into the gathering pool at Camp Half-Blood.

The talented cast knows what to do. They include Olivia Durham who plays Percy’s mother Sally Jackson; Lacey Stogdill as Clarisse La Rue; Bailey Rowles as Katie Gardner; Madison Rohats as Charon; Julie Cesena as Thalia; Luke Tyrell as Kronos; Matilda Walter as The Squirrel; Libby Slosson as Echidna; Kylie Meade as Amy Winehouse; Tessa Fuller as Newscaster; and Jet Teasley as DJ Cerberus.

Some of the actors undertake several roles. Nic Senyitko plays Mr. Brunner, Chiron, and Mozart; Garrett MacIntyre performs the roles of Cyclops, Gabe Ugliano, Poseidon, Hades, and Mr. D.; Allioth Clewell delivers Mrs. Dodds and Auntie M; Aaron Alcamo plays Ares, God of War and Kurt Cobain; and Hannah King performs Silena Beauregard and Janis Joplin.

(Hannah Roberge photo)

Besides Jack Tyrell, several actors also perform The Minotaur role, including Abby Cain, Alioth Clewell, and Maggie Racker. The Oracle is delivered by Anna Staskel and by Mia O’Brien and Cassidy Wade both of whom also are Principal Dancers and Charon’s Back-up, along with Amelia Easter.

Lighting, so essential to The Lightning Thief’s plot, is effectively designed by Gordon W. Olson, and the music is directed by Charlene Miranda Thomas. Wendi Choiniere designed the costumes.

Technical Director Erik D’Esterre taught the teenagers how to distinguish action performed in a reality world and the fantasy environment of Greek mythology. Allison Collins choreographed the play’s fight scenes and Caroline Meisner is the stage manager.

Bravo everyone! In The Lightning Thief, you treat the audience to a well-done, action-packed, entertaining stage adventure.

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