The Lightning Thief is quintessential embodiment of the growing concern around the intellectual decay of Broadway. The source material is the original novel by Rick Riordan, and the 2009 film adaptation of the same name.
The production’s feeble score and wistful book are elevated ever so slightly by the zestful performances of its cast, all but one of whom are making their Broadway debut. Chris McCarrell plays Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon. While McCarrell brings a good natured and agreeable energy to a poorly adapted role, his appeal can only do so much to salvage the lack of character development written for him. Unfortunately, the journeys of supporting characters of Annabeth and Grover present themselves as even more frail by comparison despite spirited performances by Kristin Stokes and Jorrell Javier respectively. Picture Harry, Ron, and Hermione, then subtract everything that makes them the winning characters that they are. The audience is not invited into their hearts, nor does one feel compelled to root for them to succeed on their abysmally constructed mission.
The visual effects, including the set were amateur at best, completely failing to whisk me away to the world of Camp Half Blood. The show clocked in around two hours long, and managed to feel too short and too long at the same time. If the show was aiming to present a cartoon of the source material, it succeeded.
Fortunately for the production, my thoughts seemed to be the minority. The enthusiasm was palpable throughout the Longacre Theatre, as tweens and young teens alike shrieked and whooped with enthusiasm.
Unfortunately, those tweens and teens are not the ones paying one hundred and fifty dollars a ticket, and based on the product presented last night, parents would be well-advised to spend their money on just about anything else.
Adaptations on Broadway are rampant as original ideas are compressed by fleeting financial backing. But unlike Mean Girls, Spongebob, and The Band’s Visit, The Lightning Thief is void of any artistic integrity and does nothing to earn it’s spot among even the most mediocre of Broadway adaptations. Spend your money wisely.