Ever since Jorrel Javier was a young boy, the Lightning Thief book series truly captured his imagination, so it seems fated that he would be on stage in The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical.
The high energy and clever show, which has something to offer both young and old, is making its international touring debut at the Merriam Theater through Sunday, January 27. At times, it is simply electrifying.
On a chilly winter afternoon or evening, step inside the theater and enjoy some important life lessons: normal is a myth, different is not bad, everyone has issues they are dealing with, find your talent and quest, with good friends by your side you can triumph, and don’t let other people’s judgments of you get in the way of your dreams and passions.
The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical is about the Greek Gods, who are real, and running Percy Jackson’s life.
As a son of Poseidon, Percy has newly discovered powers he can’t control, monsters on his trail, and he is on an epic quest to find Zeus’s lightning bolt and prevent a war between the gods. Normal is a myth when you’re a demigod.
This “winning adaptation” of the best-selling Disney-Hyperion novel by Rick Riordan includes an inviting, fast-paced, decibel-blasting score.
Javier is featured in two major roles in the production – the adventurous Grover and the manic Mr. D.
Grover is the adventurous, comical companion who joins Percy Jackson and Annabeth on their quest to the underworld to look for Percy’s mother.
Mr. D is Dionysus, the God of Wine and Madness, who runs Camp Half-Blood (a safe, magic space for kids of Greek Gods) where Percy ends up after a chance encounter with a Minotaur. It is at the exotic Camp Half-Blood where Percy learns his absentee father is actually the Greek God, Poseidon.
Tell me why this show appealed to you and why you feel that it will appeal to audiences?
Jorrel Javier: This was my favorite book series. I have been a fan of the books from middle school and they fulfilled my childhood fantasies.
Why did you relate to the stories?
I felt like a little bit of an outcast. So, this series of trials and tribulations of a half mortal/half God was a major appeal for me and for our audiences.
What is the message?
I feel it’s an important one. The message is accepting yourself and finding strength in your individuality and the thing we see as flaws are what makes us unique. That’s an important message for kids, teens, and even an older audience.
How long have you been with the show?
I joined the show two months ago.
Since this is new, and new musicals don’t come along very often, please tell me about this show.
One exciting aspect of it is that this musical has been under construction for five years. They actually had the first reading that long ago. So, there were mini tours and workshops, and in early 2017 there was a New York run. It has been really exciting to hop into the company to reach a more national scale. We are still working with the creative team and still polishing this show. It has been incredible to watch them improving the storytelling as well as the message that we are trying to portray.
What is your history in the arts?
I graduated in May 2018 and moved to New York City some four months ago and my agents got me the appointment because I was such a massive fan. I was offered the show shortly after and I have been part of the company ever since. I have a BFA in musical theater from Texas State University. I was born in the Philippines and lived there until I was six, and moved to Southern California where I lived until I went to college.
Do you have a theater or arts background in your family?
No, my family is in the accounting and medical fields.
What did they think of your career choice?
They are the sweetest people and they are so supportive of me. Coming from an immigrant family, it is such an incredible blessing to showcase a group of people that have worked so hard. So, I stand on a stage as a proud immigrant and I feel that behind me is the hardships and triumphs of being immigrants. My parents are extremely proud of me for working hard and pursuing my dreams and passions.
Do you have siblings?
Yes, I have an older sister who is a nurse.
Have your parents seen the show?
No, my family has not seen it yet. They will come in late April or early May when we are in San Jose since that is the closest stop on the tour to where they live.
What has the feedback been? Do the fans come to see you backstage?
The show and these books have a cult following. I have met so many fans, especially when we opened in Chicago. We have been given many works of art, including little clay dolls, and drawings. Our fans are so happy that we are doing the book series justice. Also, a majority of the cast members are longtime fans of the books, so we make it a point to interact with the fans as much as possible.
What is touring like?
It has been an incredible experience. I am a massive foodie so I am able to eat my way around the country. I do miss home, my own kitchen to cook in and making home cooked meals, but this is such a great opportunity for me. Our cast has definitely gotten a lot closer, so apart jumping from hotel to hotel, we have managed to make our own home with each other and that’s really sweet.
Have you found amazing restaurants during your travels?
When we were in Chicago, we found the Chicago Diner, a super veggie diner. Since a good number of those in the cast are vegan or have other dietary restrictions, this is what we are looking for. The food was so great.
Have you previously spent time in Philadelphia?
I have. I used to be part of the nonprofit Broadway Dream Foundation at the Kimmel Center. So, I haven’t been able to venture out or explore while being at the theater 8-10 hours a day, but I will try to do that this time.
What is the Broadway Dream Foundation?
It’s a nonprofit that brings working Broadway alumni to work with kids on training, classes, dance calls, audition materials and more, to help them get their feet in the door. There are many successful alumni on Broadway, including the first female Olaf in Frozen on Broadway. I owe a lot of connection in this industry to that program. It is mostly in the summer and is intended for middle school, high school, and early college students. We have classes in Charlotte, N.C., Philadelphia, New York, L.A. and it is quickly expanding. There are so many people who are faculty members or alumni.
Tell me about this show?
I think there is a misconception of a young adult novel being adapted into a musical. So, it’s not just a kid’s show or a show for a certain age group. There are so many great things going on. It is kid-friendly, and there is playful banter. I think this is a relatable story and show and has adult themes as well. It is about characters who are learning to find themselves and their individuality is their strength. It is an entertaining show with fun special effects. It’s definitely worth seeing.
For tickets and further information please go to https://www.kimmelcenter.org/
The post Jorrel Javier Shines in <em> The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical </em> appeared first on PCM Reviews.