We first heard rumors about a musical in 2014, but in 2017 it was announced that an actual two-hour production of the adaptation would be coming to off-Broadway later that year. Ever since 2017, there have been doubts about how good of an adaptation it would be. Tons of questions were asked, the main ones being: “Is Annabeth going to be blonde?” and “Is it going to follow in the footsteps of the movies or actually be a good adaptation?”
Thankfully, even though the off-Broadway production was only onstage in New York for a limited run, it allowed our favorite Demigods to come back and prove that, yes, it is an amazing adaptation!
(Annabeth being blonde is reassuring enough that the musical doesn’t follow the movies’ fate!)
Last year it was also announced that the 2017 off-Broadway musical based off the first book in Rick Riordan’s best-selling series, “Percy Jackson and the Olympians,” would be going on its first national tour. So, I went online and bought myself a ticket to see the show itself and to answer the question I wanted to know most: How close is the musical to the book?
Well, pretty close.
Even if you only listen to the soundtrack, you can tell that the musical adaptation is extremely close to the book. Even if you don’t have doubts about seeing the show, it might be worth listening to the soundtrack first to give you a taste of how the show flows.
Probably the best thing about the show is the acting. With only seven actors and many parts to play, Kristin Stokes (Annabeth) and Chris McCarrell (Percy) are the only two actors who play only one role. The other five actors have their own main roles (Grover, Luke, Chiron, Sally and Clarisse), but also take on several other roles. But it doesn’t matter if they play one role or six, the actors perfectly embody each and every character that they play.
Chris’s take on Percy’s complex character is spot on. His anger at his father and the other gods is perfectly portrayed in every song and spoken line, while also being vulnerable when needed. Annabeth is still the tough girl who challenges Percy throughout the show and Grover (played by Jorrel Javier who also plays the always-angry Mr. D.) is still optimistic while being scared sometimes.
However, if you are a Luke fan, his character has a bigger role in the musical, so have fun seeing more Luke!
As for the changes? There are, of course, some — like changes made to a character or cutting scenes completely out of the book, either for time constraints or reasons not explained. They go over things quickly — such as the history of the Big Three not having children. And most of the trio’s journey is condensed through the song, “Drive.”
But cutting down things such as these gives us additional time for other great moments like Annabeth’s song, “Smart Girl,” about how she’s always trying to be perfect to make Athena proud.
I originally thought there were other changes as well. For example, I didn’t spot Annabeth’s New York Yankees cap or Camp Half-Blood shirts. But those involved with the production have assured Bookstacked that little easter eggs like those are, in fact, present on stage. You just have to keep an open eye for them!
In the end, this was a solid adaptation that I could watch over and over again. Everyone can enjoy this show. It’s charming, serious, funny and even sometimes emotional. Go ahead and buy a ticket because this is one show — Demigod or not — that you won’t want to miss.
As for my fellow Demigods, enjoy the adaptation that we’ve waited for years to have.
Editor’s Note: In the rating below, the “Cinematography” field is treated as “Stage Production.”