Killer Quest-Maggie Furey (Percy), Charlie Hinckley (Grover), and Josie Lickliter (Annabeth) prepare to leave camp to save the world and rescue Sally from the underworld. - Killer Quest - Peter Fox (Photographer)
Review by Peyton Pope, Highlands High School Critic Team
A dynamic journey of discovery, love, and betrayal: Ursuline Academy’s performance of The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical was a beautiful interpretation of an iconic show that left the audience longing to pursue quests of their own.
Based on the 2005 novel The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, the musical follows Percy Jackson, a very unordinary teenager with even more unordinary origins. After being expelled from his most recent school for a seemingly supernatural battle with his math teacher-turned-monster Mrs. Dodds, Percy finds himself in a godly conundrum after finding out that his dad is Poseidon! Joined by his best satyr friend, Grover, and the daughter of Athena, Annabeth, whom he met at Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for the children of the gods, Percy is thrust into a journey to prevent a war between the gods because of Zeus’s mysteriously stolen lightning bolt.
Ursuline Academy’s rendition of The Lightning Thief was a beautiful display of storytelling through the impressive feats of the cast and crew. The cast brought an energetic brilliance to each character, big and small, which complemented the crew’s extravagant visuals that livened the production perfectly.
Maggie Furey’s leading performance as the titular Percy Jackson anchored the show with excellent demonstrations of comedy and heartbreak that emotionally progressed the show masterfully. Annabeth, played by Josie Lickliter, performed opposite of Furey exquisitely with a tough demeanor and kind heart that endeared the audience immediately. To accompany these two was Grover, portrayed by Charlie Hinckley. Hinckley’s perfect comedic timing alongside heartwrenching survivor’s guilt made for an emotional display of unfiltered talent.
Sam Martel played the loud and bold Charon, the ferryman of Hades, with a fierce conviction that led to the iconic song “D.O.A.” where Percy, Annabeth, and Grover are confronted by the ghosts of famous historical figures such as Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley, and the Vienna Boys’ Choir! Another notable performance was Kari Gemwich as the hilarious Mr. D, the supervisor of Camp Half-Blood. Her impeccable stage presence and memorable tap number were hysterical and exemplary.
The exceptional costuming led by Avery Rudell and Eleanor Allaire created stunning visuals that added so much life to the show. From the ginormous Minotaur puppet to the chest full of sunflowers, the costumes expertly showed the time, dedication, and talent of Rudell and Allaire. The set design by Isa Frigon, Addison Voelker, and Grace Warman perfectly encompassed the aesthetics of Grecian architecture while including modern elements to reflect all of the environments that the main characters were exposed to.
Overall, Ursuline Academy’s production of The Lightning Thief immersed its audience in the dangerous yet spectacular world of demigods and exhibited the importance of the love and support of family and friends.
Oracle –Percy enters the attic to meet the mysterious Oracle played by Adeline Durgin and her creepy companions theEchoes played byAnna Carpenter, Claire Kruckeberg, Katelyn Kruckeberg, Anna Schrantz, Elyse Akhtar, Kaylee Nguyen, Ella Foraker, Lia Terrell, Audrey Hoffman- Peter Fox (Photographer)
Review by Samantha Heilman, Highlands High School Critic Team
Uniting a dyslexic son of Poseidon, strategic daughter of Athena, and a caring son of Pan; The Lightning Thief is a mythical marvel serving as an anthem to the outcasts of society who are ready to “Bring on the Real World.”
Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief book was originally published in 2005 as the first of the Percy Jackson series. The publication’s smashing success resulted in the musical of the same name in 2014, and an expanded musical in 2017. The story follows the teenage Percy Jackson as he learns he is a demigod, claimed by his father Poseidon, and sent on a quest to prevent the Big Three Gods from waging war on one another for the mysterious disappearance of Zeus’s lightning bolt.
With a production full of dynamic lights, impressive vocals, magical creatures, and more, Ursuline Academy put on a vibrant performance based on this beloved story of Greek mythology. The infectious energy resonated throughout the entire cast and crew.
Leading the energy of the cast was Maggie Furey’s portrayal of the fun-loving and comedic Percy Jackson. Furey characterized this onstage through impeccable comedic timing, dramatic facial expressions, and vocal inflection typical of a teenage boy. A standout of this performance was Furey’s rendition of “Good Kid,” which was impressive in both vocal performance and nuanced acting choices, demonstrating Furey’s understanding of the troubled character. Complementing the choices of Furey was Josie Lickliter’s compelling performance as Annabeth Chase. Lickliter excellently navigated the internal struggles between Annabeth’s desire for her own quest and relationship with Percy. This resulted in a beautiful character arc as she learned to prioritize her friends over her own success.
The summer camp environment was a pivotal aspect of the production, exuded by the Half-Blood Campers in intense fight sequences of capture the flag or songs such as “The Campfire Song,” choreographed by Josie Lickliter, Anna Kirk, Marie Rainey, and Mollie Stier. The commitment from every cast member was evident, making the overall performance truly immersive.
An aspect that helped to emphasize this ensemble was the costume work of Avery Rudell, Eleanor Allaire, and crew. Every camper had a bright orange camp shirt, which helped make the stage feel full. Additionally, the costumes worked wonderfully with the lighting design of Elle Michael, Seven Hillerich, and crew. Operating cyc lights and projections, the positions of actors were highlighted to create different tableaus and stage pictures.
Ursuline Academy’s The Lightning Thief was a well-performed escape from the outside world into a realm of the Gods and their children. The work and passion of the students were clear onstage and off, creating a work that would undoubtedly make Dionysus, the God of drama, proud.
Campfire Song –Campers played by Josie Lickliter (Annabeth), Maggie Furey (Percy), Aric Schauer (Luke), and Camper Ensemble gather together to complain about their parents. - Peter Fox (Photographer)
Review by Caroline Lovelace, Walnut Hills High School Critic Team
An ambrosial and divine take on the hero’s journey: The Lightning Thief at Ursuline Academywas not just “Another Terrible Day”at the theater.
Based on the 2005 Rick Riordan book of the same name, The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical captures all the youthful and upbeat energy of its source material. The vivacious pop score follows Percy Jackson and his companions on a quest to the underworld and back- not to mention some of the oddball characters they encounter along the way, including flip-flop-wearing gods, sculpture-obsessed snake women, and one particular squirrel with an attitude.
Ursuline Academy gave this show all the animation it deserved and then some. The vocals throughout the cast were consistently remarkable, never failing to channel the playfulness and joy of Riordan’s beloved mythical universe. Whether it was with catchy melodies, exciting fight choreography, or some exceptional puppeteering, this cast and crew absolutely brought the world of Percy Jackson and the Greek gods to life.
Words cannot describe the wonder Maggie Furey brought to the iconic and idolized Percy Jackson. With astonishing vocals and a comedic physicality identical to that of a 12-year-old boy, she carried the emotional moments as well as Percy’s charming quirkiness with ease. Likewise, Josie Lickliter’s vocals as Annabeth dazzled and Charlie Hinckley as Grover rounded out this lovable trio perfectly.
Aric Schauer as Luke stole many scenes with his fantastic comedic timing and engaging character development. Though he was hindered by an injury prior to the performance, he never missed a beat and executed his track masterfully. Sally, played by Ellie Ott, demonstrated top-notch vocal control and a moving connection to her son Percy. Sam Martel as Charon exhibited an electrifying attitude and a powerhouse stage presence that made her song, “D.O.A," one of the highlights of the performance.
The bar was set high before the show even began with Justine Starke, Martha Telling, and their publicity crew’s whimsical lobby design. Clouds and lightning bolts adorned the space, transforming the atmosphere expertly. As for the atmosphere within the theater, Elle Michael, Seven Hillerich, and their crew’s lighting concepts were not only fantastical but symbolic, enhancing the show’s motif of good versus evil using red and blue theming continuously.
Ursuline Academy embodied the spirited nature of The Lightning Thief while clearly understanding the heartwarming values of finding your strengths and finding your people. Appealing to humans, monsters, and half-bloods alike, this cast and crew delivered a performance truly worthy of the gods.
DOA – The would-be- heroes get trapped in the underworld and encounterCharon played by Sam Martel and the dead under her thrall played by Clare Dallas (DJ Cerberus), Madison Rigby (Dead Chorus), Maggie Furey (Percy), Jane Asche (DJ Cerberus)- DOA - Peter Fox (Photographer)
Excerpts From Other Top Reviews
"Aric Schauer, who played Luke, artfully displayed his wide range by showing both the caring and menacing sides of his character. From Luke’s camaraderie with Annabeth to his battle with Percy, the extent of Schauer’s skills was in full view. Furthermore, Madison Rigby, who portrayed Hades, and Sam Martel, who portrayed Charon brought the devilish personas of the underworld to life with their physicality and expressions."
-Clark Sayre, Walnut Hills High School Critic Team
"All of the magic in this musical makes the sets, props, costumes, and technology extremely complicated. The seamless transformation of a pen into a sword and countless other tricks were made possible by Isa Frigon and the rest of the props crew. Meanwhile, Avery Rudell and the costume crew created simple garments for many cast members and complex, showstopping outfits for mythical beasts, including an enormous costume for the Minotaur worn by three people at once. The set team, led by Addison Voelker made well-crafted sets that were used in countless large yet smooth scene changes."
-Ella Adams, Mercy McAuley High School Critic Team
"Kari Gemrich, playing Mr. D. aka Dionysus, the god of theater and alcohol, did an outstanding job depicting the grumpy old director of Camp Halfblood through her grouchy and sarcastic delivery of lines. In addition to her acting, she showcased her tap dancing talent in the song, 'Another Terrible Day.'"
-Maria Buerger, Roger Bacon High School Critic Team
"The crew provided many of the elements that truly brought the world of The Lightning Thief to life. Avery Rudell Eleanor Allaire, and their Costume crew put in a lot of commendable work such as fabricating many costumes from the ground up as well as their amazing craftsmanship in the creation of the Minotaur puppet. Meanwhile, Isa Frigon, Addison Voelker, Grace Warman, and their Set crew fleshed out the physicality of the show with their dynamic set, using 3d software to streamline the build process."
-Wolf Singer, Walnut Hills High School Critic Team
"The entire ensemble deserves praise for their joyful presence on stage. Not only did they support the main cast excellently with their layered vocals but engaged in full choreographed fight scenes and dance numbers that made the production feel alive. 'The Campfire Song' led by Aric Schauer, as Luke not only featured his charismatic acting, but highlighted the Half-Blood campers unique personalities."
-Kayla Kilgour, Roger Bacon High School Critic Team
"Through their passionate performance leading the show, Maggie Furey gave life to the titular character, Percy Jackson. With impressive comedic timing, vocal power, and expert physicality, Furey showed their true skills as a performer and vocalist. Their rendition of “Good Kid” admirably encapsulated the difficulties of seemingly always doing something wrong, and showcased an incredibly genuine and heartwarming performance. In combination with Josie Lickliter’s commanding performance as Annabeth, the two worked in vocal and comedic harmony, creating a dynamic and humorous duo that was truly unforgettable."
-Lizzy Rebber, Walnut Hills High School Critic Team
"Ursuline Academy’s The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical showcased an amazing range of both technical and acting talent, exhibiting multiple levels of character development as Percy Jackson shows that even at the end of the quest, everything may not be figured out. The open-ended finale completed the captivating performance and granted a standing ovation."
-Jaden Hall-Kues, Colerain High School Critic Team