The National Tour of “The Lightning Thief” at The Paramount Arts Center


Staff report



Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school…again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’s master lightning bolt has been stolen and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy has ten days to find and return Zeus’s stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

THE LIGHTNING THIEF, a musical adapted from the book The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, features a book by Joe Tracz with music, lyrics, & orchestrations by Rob Rokicki. The original Off-Broadway production was directed by Stephen Brackett (Buyer and Cellar) and choreographed by Sam Pinkleton (Machinal; Natasha, Pierre and the Comet of 1812). Fight choreography is by Turner Smith. The show features costumes by Sydney Maresca with sets by Lee Savage.

This 60-minute musical is recommended for audiences age 8 and up.

After a brief New York City-area tour in spring 2014, The Lightning Thief began its national tour in fall 2014. The Lightning Thief is able, as are all Theatreworks USA productions, to play a wide range of venues, from large Broadway-sized performing arts centers in major metropolitan areas to elementary school cafeterias in small towns.

The six actors and stage manager touring with The Lightning Thief will rehearse for two weeks in New York City with the director and choreographer. Once the tour begins, the actors and stage manager typically arrive at the performance venue early in the morning to set up the scenery and to prepare for the performance. Following the show, they pack the set, costumes, and sound equipment into two large vans, and drive to the next city, sleep in a hotel, and begin the whole ritual again the following day.

Theatreworks USA has a distinguished history of not only providing young audiences with their first taste of the performing arts, but also giving young actors, writers, directors, and designers an early opportunity to work in this field. A list of Theatreworks USA alumni reads like a veritable “who’s who” of theatre: four-time Tony-winning director Jerry Zaks, Robert Jess Roth (Beauty and the Beast), Michael Mayer (Thoroughly Modern Millie); writers Marta Kauffman and David Crane (TV’s “Friends”), Lynn Ahrens and Steven Flaherty (Ragtime, Once on This Island), Jason Robert Brown (Parade), Larry O’Keefe (Bat Boy), Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx (Avenue Q); and Tony-winning actors John Lloyd Young, Roger Bart, Chuck Cooper, and John Glover. Esteemed performers F. Murray Abraham, Henry Winkler, and Judy Kuhn also got their start with Theatreworks, and other actors have gone on to originate lead roles in such Broadway shows as Avenue Q, Hairspray, Young Frankenstein, Rent, Wicked, Jersey Boys, and many others. The actors, writers, director, choreographer, and designers of The Lightning Thief may also go on to similar success in musical theatre.

Theatreworks USA is America’s largest and most prolific professional not-for-profit theatre for young and family audiences. Since 1961, Theatreworks USA has enlightened, entertained, and instructed over 90 million people in 49 states and Canada, now performing for about three million people annually. Every year, the company tours approximately 16 shows from its ever-growing repertoire of 133 plays and musicals. In addition, Theatreworks USA also has an extensive multi-cultural guest artist roster, including storytellers, puppeteers, poets, and magicians.

Under the direction of Barbara Pasternack (Artistic Director) and Ken Arthur (Managing Director), Theatreworks USA is also one of the most honored theatres of its kind. It is the only children’s theatre to receive both a Drama Desk and a Lucille Lortel Award. In addition, Theatreworks USA was the recipient of a 2001 Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Award, and in May 2000, The Actors Fund of American bestowed its Medal of Honor upon its founders, Jay Harnick and Charles Hull.

Tickets prices are $15 for adults and $10 for students and can be purchased in the box office at 1300 Winchester Avenue, by calling 606.324.0007 or online at www.ParamountArtsCenter.com. It will be performed at the Paramount Arts Center on Tuesday, February 13th at 7:30 PM.

The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, supports the Paramount Arts Center with state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. Support is also provided by the Paramount Woman’s Association and private donations.

Staff report

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