Club Event

RPI Players’ Striking Performance of The Lightning Thief

With a fantastic cast and stage crew, the RPI Players’ beautifully displayed the musical The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical onto the stage. With several performances from April 5-13th at the Schacht Fine Arts Center, they entertained both RPI-students and others in the Troy area.

In the opening act of the musical, the protagonist Percy Jackson, played by Sterling Nowosielski ’26, is on a school field trip to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. Nowosielski portrays the typical response of utter confusion and anger after being nearly killed by his substitute teacher Mrs. Dobbs—played by Lorenzo Carta ’26—who turned out to be a monster. After the ordeal, Percy is told he will be expelled for straying away from his school group. Despite his pleas, he is kicked out and separated from Grover, the only friend he ever made, who is played by Tylar Pierce ’26.

After returning home, Percy is welcomed by his mother Sally, played by Nikki Walen ’26. She asks him to go on a trip with her to get his mind off the incident where he learns more about his father in the song “Strong.” Blue lighting emphasized the blue food and other lyrics in the song, providing a subtle hint at the identity of his father who is the god of the sea. This temporary peace in the plot is brought to a halt when Grover appears in panicked distress; he informs them that a minotaur is currently trying to hurt Percy. This news, in combination with Grover being revealed as a satyr, left Percy lost and confused. The lighting immediately changes, and a bright overpowering light envelopes the stage, intensifying the tension of the situation as the minotaur chases the three through the woods The orchestra kept a rapid rhythm following the chase then abruptly stopped when Sally sacrifices herself so Percy can make it to Camp Half-Blood. In a deafening moment, the rhythm surges again and Percy kills the minotaur just before passing out.

When he wakes up at Camp Half-Blood, he learns that Greek gods are in fact real, and he’s the son of one. He meets others like him: Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena, played by Arwen Costello ’25 and Luke Castellan, son of Hermes, played by Mark Belle-Isle ’26. While adjusting to his new way of life, he makes a sacrifice of food to the Gods during the camp’s dinner ceremony. In response, Posideon sends a sign and claims Percy as his son. The acting and music takes a drastic turn, causing the mood of shared misery and found family to crumble. Everyone realizes that Percy’s the one who must fulfill a prophecy to prevent warfare between the “Big Three” Gods, the most powerful children of Kronos—Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. To prevent the war, protect Camp Half-Blood, and clear his name, he must find Zeus’ bolt of lightning, which is suspected to be with Hades in the Underworld, located in Los Angeles.

Percy goes on the quest with Annabeth and Grover to travel from New York to Los Angeles. Just before he leaves, however, he’s given a new pair of shoes from Luke. The journey is long and chaotic, represented well with the set’s many scenery props ranging between sea waves, bushes, buses, and motorcycles. The actors did a phenomenal job interacting with them. They made it so two boxes and a circular plate looked like a realistic motorcycle. The mental challenges faced by our main characters are also portrayed well in solo songs like “Good Kid” and “My Grand Plan,” sung by Percy and Annabeth, respectively.

Eventually they make it to the underworld, with the help of Ares, the god of War, played by Jonathan Murry ’25. In a twist, they find out that Hades didn’t steal the bolt and it was in Percy’s backpack all along. This made Percy realize a correlation. The only person who could’ve planted the bolt onto his backpack would’ve been Ares, when he had helped them make it to Hades. Ares is the only god who’d truly benefit from a war among the Gods, no matter what. After escaping the Underworld, Percy and Ares engage in a final battle with beautiful choreography in their swordplay. Percy comes out victorious and returns Zeus’ lightning bolt, preventing a war. He’s greeted by his father in the same blue lighting from the opening act, reiterating their familial bond. With that, he’s reunited with his father and the tension washes away like a wave.

In the conclusion of the performance, the Players reiterated that it was closing night. They wanted to honor everyone’s part in the musical as a final send-off to end the night. On such an endearing ending note, it was impossible not to jump up and clap for the RPI Players’ performance.

Originally commissioned, Created, and Produced Off Broadway by TheaterWorksUSA.


Book by: Joe Tracz

Music & Lyrics by: Rob Rokicki

Adapted from the book The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan