April 20, 2024

California Baptist University’s first play of the semester is right around the corner, and this time students will take the stage in “The Lighting Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical.” In this theatrical adventure, Percy Jackson uses his newfound powers to solve the mystery of Zeus’s stolen lightning bolt.

Adapted from the novel of the same name, “The Lightning Thief” explores Greek mythology and conflicts between the gods. The titular character discovers he is a demigod and has certain inherited powers from his father, Poseidon. With a target on his back, Percy and his friends must fight against the gods while figuring out the identity of the lightning thief.

Auditions for the play began during the first week of the semester, with rehearsals starting the following week. Rehearsals run daily from 7-11 p.m.

Preparing for a musical in a short span of four weeks can be stressful for the cast members and staff. Ethan Parks, the production director and adjunct professor of theater, has been busy facilitating the preparation, from production to casting to giving guidance to the actors on their roles.

Camille Grochowski | CBU Banner Alexis Parsio, junior theater major, records a funny moment during a scene in the second act of the musical.

“The challenge so far has been the time crunch with the scale of the production,” Parks said. “This is one of the biggest productions we’ve done on this short time schedule. The students and my design team have handled it fantastically and I feel we are really prepared for opening night.”

While directing a musical is not the easiest job, neither is playing a role and acting on stage. Each cast member has their own creative process in mastering their characters. Nathan Sporcich, senior marketing major, is playing Percy Jackson and discussed his experience preparing for the lead role.

“For the role that I have, Percy doesn’t leave the stage the entire production,” Sporcich said. “For all the rehearsals, I need to be there from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. each day.”

This is not Sporcich’s first lead role in a musical, as he played the Beast in “Beauty and the Beast” last fall. Sporcich explained his role as Percy Jackson and how it contrasts with the Beast.

“This is definitely a more challenging role than the Beast, I’d say, in terms of singing,” Sporcich said. “It’s a different musical challenge. There’s physical conditioning that has to happen. With this show, there’s some fight choreography that happens when using swords and fighting on stage.”

In this particular production, there are only seven cast members so, all cast members besides the lead actor have to play multiple characters. Being assigned multiple characters means a constant change of costumes and having to memorize an extensive number of lines throughout the production.

Director of “The Lightning Thief,” Ethan Park, prepares the actors and stage for the live show. | Camille Grochowski

Madilyn Fleming, sophomore theater performance and technical design double major, will be playing Clarisse, daughter of Ares, the god of war along with additional characters. She spoke about the cast and how they are serving in other roles.

“Not only are we acting and singing, we are moving stuff off stage and setting it back on stage, moving all our props, all of our design pieces on stage,” Fleming said. “The cast is really involved as a crew for this show, and I think that makes a big difference. There are a lot of working parts, and we are all working as gears in a machine.”

Fleming also described her creative process in preparing to perform multiple roles during the musical. “I usually feel really in touch in the character once I get in costume,” Fleming said.

“I try to think about things especially in the script and the music as my character,” Flemming said.

The cast has had their hands full with getting the musical ready in time for its premiere. Getting everything done in just a month’s time is no easy feat. “The Lightning Thief” is set to open on Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m. with more shows on Oct. 15 and 20-22.

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