Tag Archive | Poseidon

Theater Review: The Lighting Thief, The Percy Jackson Musical

Lightning Thief Marquee
Above Photo and Playbill Image By Gail. All Other Performance Photos By Jeremy Daniel.

You just can’t keep a good thing down. Nine years after it debuted as a major motion picture, The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical – based on the New York Times best-selling book, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, is back with a national theater run. The two-act rock musical, written by Rob Rokicki and Joe Tracz (Be More Chill), first played in NYC in 2017 for a short run. Due to the show’s popularity, fans of the book series demanded that the play be available to a larger audience, and a National Tour was launched in January. This past week, the tour made a four-day stop at NYC’s Beacon Theatre, and I was able to check it out.

Fans of the book, and those who have seen the 2010 movie adaptation, already know how things play out, but for the sake of avoiding too many big spoilers for those who are coming into the story fresh, I’ll give you a Reader’s Digest Condensed version of the plot. Percy Jackson (Chris McCarrell) is a teenager from Long Island, NY who struggles with ADD and Dyslexia, has a knack for unwittingly causing drama at school, and can’t figure out why he feels like such a misfit among his peers (“The Day I Got Expelled”).

Chris McCarrell and Jalynn Steele Photo by Jeremy Daniel
Percy (Chris McCarrell) is Comforted by his Mom, Sally (Jalynn Steele)

Percy’s mom, Sally (Jalynn Steele), who has raised him mostly on her own, has a pretty good idea of what the issue might be, and it has a lot to do with who Percy’s father is. Unwilling to directly address the identity of her son’s progenitor, she encourages Percy to embrace his unique attributes (“Strong”), reminds him that “normal is a myth,” and signs him up to attend a special summer camp, which turns out to be Camp Half-Blood. Arriving at camp, Percy discovers that the one trait he shares with his fellow campers is that they’re all demigods – kids with one mortal parent and one parent who is a Greek god (“The Campfire Song”). That’s right; it’s heavy.

Annabeth Percy and Grover
Annabeth (Kristin Stokes), Percy and Grover (Jorrel Javier) Begin The Quest!

Requesting a sign from the Universe to reveal his divine parent, Percy discovers that his dad is not just some dude his mom hooked-up with on the beach, but Poseidon, god of the sea. While act one serves to set Percy up with his de rigueur epic quest (“Killer Quest”), the real action takes place in act two. Our hero is told that he must retrieve Zeus’s lightning bolt – which Percy himself is suspected of having stolen – in order to prevent a war among the Greek gods. Percy and his two close friends – Grover (Jorrel Javier), a satyr who is the son of Pan, and Annabeth (Kristin Stokes) daughter of Athena – set out on a cross-country journey (“Lost”), during which the trio must battle a variety of monsters on their quest to discover who the real Lightning Thief is. Eventually, they arrive at The Underworld, which just happens to be located in Los Angeles – appropriate! To find out how the showdown goes down, you will have to see the play for yourself!

As a testament to the degree of talent in the cast, each actor — except for Chris McCarrell, because he is in every scene — handles two or more roles in the play. On the technical front, this production of The Lightning Thief is creatively staged, making clever use of its minimal sets and lighting. Particularly visually impressive is a backdrop of programmed strip-lights used to recreate various environments, from the dripping walls of a damp cave, to the flames of lapping fire that fill The Underworld. Resourceful use of props to create fun special effects include using unspooled rolls of toilet paper and a leaf blower to simulate storms, which also elicits big laughs from kids in the audience. The show is also performed with the added energy of a live band, for a real Rock & Roll feel!

Ryan Knowles as Medusa
Ryan Knowles as Medusa

The Lightning Thief’s mythical theme lends the play a crossover appeal for fans of Harry Potter, and it’s a great companion piece to young adult-focused musicals with storylines more grounded in reality, such as Dear Evan Hansen and the off-Broadway production, Out Of My Comfort Zone. The Lightning Thief also offers a terrific crash course in Greek mythology (Percy is actually short for Perseus), which is always fascinating. Ultimately, The Lighting Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical conveys a strong message of claiming one’s own destiny. Even if, as the lyrics to “Campfire Song” suggest, “Things couldn’t be worse, when your parents run the universe,” the sins of the father are not necessarily to be laid upon the children. It’s possible to transcend the circumstances you were born into, no matter what “monsters” you may face.

Luke and Percy
Luke (James Hayden Rodriguez) and Percy Do Battle!

As an aside, I feel compelled to include information about a fan-driven campaign currently taking place on Twitter. When the show kicked off in Chicago this past January, there was great excitement created via social media. Fans were thrilled that the show was going to be seen by so many but, sadly, not everyone has the means to afford a ticket. A group of loyal fans stepped up and created #HalfbloodsHelpingHalfBloods, a campaign which has so far raised over $2000 to help dozens of Percy Jackson fans, who otherwise would not have the opportunity, to attend a performance. Here’s how it works: first sign onto Twitter. If you’re a fan (a ‘half-blood‘) in need of a ticket, tweet the city/date for which you need a ticket using the hashtag #HalfbloodsHelpingHalfbloods. If you’re a fan who can sponsor a ticket, reply to a tweet under the hashtag and pair up! This heartwarming grassroots effort speaks volumes about The Lightning Thief and its community of devoted fans.

Upcoming stops for The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical include cities in North Carolina, California, Louisiana, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Texas, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Georgia and Florida, with performances scheduled through Mid-July. This play is suitable for all ages, and has a two-hour runtime, including a 15 minute intermission. Visit Lighting Thief The Musical to learn more about the show and purchase tickets at a theater in your area!

Lightning Thief Program

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Calm Before The Storm: Featuring the Art of Logan Hicks and Beau Stanton

Beau Stanton
Art By Beau Stanton (All Photos By Gail)

Here’s a Must See Art exhibit that features new works by two New York-based artists — Logan Hicks and Beau Stanton — who should be Art World Superstars any second now.  Curated by Lori Zimmer and Natalie KatesCalm Before the Storm, the two person show which opened this past Saturday at the Highline Loft, takes inspiration from nautical superstition, flood myths, classical paintings, life changing events and the modern issue of rising seas.

Beau Stanton

Stanton and Hicks have created new paintings, multiples, and a site-specific installations for this fantastic show. A special print release party with 1xRun will take over the space on October 22nd and, in honor of Halloween, the show will conclude with a costume party, Sailors, Sirens and Sea Hags, in honor of maritime folklore, on October 28th.

Logan Hicks
Art By Logan Hicks

Logan Hicks‘ interpretation of Calm Before the Storm fuses the photorealistic stencil artist’s interest in nautical traditions with the implications surrounding the serenity felt before major life changing events. With a foot planted in acceptance of fate, Hicks‘ new works reflect both traditional imagery and modernity, such as the role of and reliance upon technology as our means of communication — which has created an impersonal barrier when receiving news both good and bad. For Hicks, the works in the exhibition examine the driving force of fate, and the inability to alter momentum, via paintings, aerosol on canvas, aerosol on panel and editions of aerosol on paper.

Beau Stanton Captain's Study
Captain’s Study By Beau Stanton

Through oil painting, sculptural works and multiples, Beau Stanton’s take on the exhibit’s theme meshes the artist’s long-time interest in nautical lore, relating the storied takes of deluge myths and divine retribution to the current concerns with global climate change and rising waters. Like Hicks, Stanton takes influence from classical painting and sculpture, weaving ancient superstitions with modern environmental realities.

Here are some of our favorite pieces from the show!

Captain's Study Detail
Beau Stanton, Captain’s Study (Detail). The exhibition and installation is set to an original score by Luv Jonez.

Beau Stanton

Beau Stanton

This piece is huge, and I left a bit of the floor in the shot so you can see the scale. Beau Stanton’s work — which I have been following for about five years — is just crazy great, and not only is he a phenomenally talented artist, but he is also a genuinely nice and gracious person. Stanton is supportive of the work of other artists, as I see him all the time at other gallery openings, and he remembers my name and is always friendly and nice when we run into each other. Considering how few people I write about can even be bothered to retweet a link, Beau’s appreciation of the importance of press is invaluable to bloggers like me. His work will always be welcome for coverage at The Gig.

Beau Stanton

These pieces are all priced-to-own, and all collectors should be snatching them up immediately.

Beau Stanton Ship

Stanton also built a ship inside the gallery.

Beau Stanton Ship

Beau Stanton Ship Detail

Beau Stanton Ship Porthole

Each side of the ship has a porthole with a Steam Punk-esque animated video playing inside it. Check that out in the video below:

Seriously cool!

Logan Hicks
Art By Logan Hicks

Logan Hicks is an artist whose work I was first encountered through shows at the late Opera Gallery on Spring Street.

Logan Hicks

His work is very beautiful dark, and romantic. It always sets a mood.

Logan Hicks

This grid of paintings on canvas, which are being sold as individual works, includes many multiples and variations of the same image.  However, it seems a shame to break up the set.

Logan Hicks

Logan Hicks

Logan Hicks

(Click on Image to Enlarge for Detail)

This piece by Hicks is just insanely great. I recognized the location immediately as the platform at the Chambers Street stop on the J and Z trains. I have long referred to this station the “Jacob’s Ladder Subway Station” (for reasons that will be obvious to anyone familiar with the film) and the fact the Hicks chose to use this ultra-creepy, real life location as the setting for a gaggle of identical Harpies from Hell encircling a woman who is, seemingly obliviously, using her smart phone, lets me know that we are of the same mind. Well played.

Logan Hicks

I watch a lot of horror moves and this painting reminds me of the excellent vampire film, Only Lovers Left Alive. I recommend you see it.

Calm Before The Storm, Featuring the Artwork of Logan Hicks and Beau Stanton, will run through October 28th, 2015 at the Highline Loft, Located at 508 W 28th St, 5th floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Calm Before the Storm Signage

Nautilus Cup

Nautilus Cup
All Photos By Gail

If you enjoy seeing how very obscenely rich people lived 400 years ago or longer, go hang out at The Met for a few hours and have your mind blown. This fancy cup, made from a gilt-plated-silver shell of a Nautilus is a thing that you can see at this gargantuan museum, and it emphasizes the point that some rich people like to have really fancy things to look at and, maybe, use. At the very top of the cup you can see a tiny figure of Poseidon (King of the Ocean) holding a trident. How badass.

Display Vitrine
Other Items Sharing the Display Vitrine with the Nautilus Cup Include a Shoe-Shaped Flask

The Nautilus Cup comes from the Dutch capital city of Utrecht, circa 1602, and was gifted to the museum in 1917 by the estate of J. Pierpont Morgan, who is most famous today for having a global investment bank named after him.

Photographed in Gallery 502 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.