'The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical' at PYMS March 24-27

Staff Reports

The Penn Yan Academy Drama Club is excited to stage its Spring Production of "The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical" from March 24-27.

Epically flooded out of one auditorium just before show week, entire production moved to another by heroic volunteers and students.

PENN YAN — A show about Greek gods and their wrath got a taste of Poseidon's power when a catastrophic flood displaced an innocent, young tribe from their home only to be adopted into another.

The orchestra pit the day after the flood.

During a routine inspection of the sprinkler systems over Penn Yan Academy's winter break and just two weeks out from the drama Club's production of "The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical," one of the pipes, part of a “deluge system” designed to drop a barrier of water in massive quantity between the stage and the audience in the event of a fire, was accidentally triggered by an inspector, unleashing a literal torrent. Before the system could be shut off, water drenched the front half of the stage and the orchestra pit, dousing the set and seeping into and under the stage itself. Most concerning, the stage crew had just finished installing all the electrical equipment, including lights and sound.

After the stage surface was torn up and the facing removed, fans and dehumidifiers were deployed to discourage mold and mildew.

Due to the extent of the damage, and to avoid any chance of mold or other complications, the entire wooden surface of the stage and its front needed to be removed immediately to expose it to the air and  be force ventilated with industrial fans and dehumidifiers. That meant the Drama Club had to shift their entire production to the older, smaller, less technically advanced stage at Penn Yan Middle School. While this to seem to some like an easy task, after six days and over 400 total man-hours into the deconstruction and reconstruction, the crew still weren’t back to the point where they were when the flood occurred.

These students and adult volunteers had to move the entire set to the middle school stage.

"Everyone involved in the production has really stepped up to make the best of the situation," says Assistant Director and Acting Coach Brian Cobb, and English teacher at PYA. "We are so thankful for our dedicated volunteers including Simon & Herb Gaston, Dean Knapton, and Sara Lyon, who have spent nearly every waking moment  trying to get things transferred and set back up; and to many others who have stopped in to offer help.

Even after six days and over 400 manhours, the set was not yet to the point of completion it had been before the flood.

"We are also thankful for our district and building administrators, who have all been ready to support us in any way possible," says Cobb. "Finally, we are so fortunate to have a phenomenal group of students who have helped with the process, and who are taking the whole situation with a positive attitude and a desire to put on an amazing production."

Due to the flood and the relocation, the dates for the production were adjusted to be performed March 24-27 in the PYMS Auditorium.

With the set almost complete and in their show shirts, the cast of "The Lightning Thief" were back at rehearsals to get ready for opening night March 24.

"The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical"

Based on the bestselling Rick Riordan novel of the same name, The Lightning Thief is the story of Percy Jackson (Junior John Shaw), a young man who has been kicked out of six schools in the last six years and can’t quite seem to figure himself out. Though he loves his mother Sally (Senior Samantha Trank), he has grown up with a hole in his life and a big question: Who is his father? Percy finally gets an unexpected answer to this question when he discovers that not only are the Greek gods still alive and well — but that his father is one of them, making him a demigod. Introduced to this new world by his former Latin teacher Mr. Brunner (Junior Garrett Hilton) and his best friend Grover (Senior Massan Jensen), Percy arrives at Camp Half-Blood, a refuge for demigods run by the reluctant wine god Dionysus (Freshman Aidan Dallos). Percy begins to settle into a new life, but is quickly pulled into conflict after he is accused of stealing Zeus’ “Master Bolt,” an all-powerful godly weapon. As a war between the gods looms, Percy is encouraged by new friends like Annabeth Chase (Sophomore Emma Eichenhofer), the daughter of Athena, and his Camp Counselor Luke Castellan (Senior Dayton Gulick), the Son of Hermes, who prepare him to take on the hero’s quest to retrieve the bolt assigned to him by the camp’s Oracle (Senior Jayden Hollister).

During his journey, Percy encounters a variety of interesting and memorable characters portrayed by a talented group of student actors including Maine Berrios, Nathaniel Chaffee, Joseph Droney, Emma Fleet, Cadence Hinkal, Izzy Hinkal, Zachary Lewis, Vanessa Martinez, Madeleine Martini, Logan Miller, Keuka Miranda-Wiltberger, Gale/Ezra Paddock, Leah Prather, Rae Richter, Sophia Smith, Zachary Smith, Emmaleigh Stempien, Addyson Webber, and Kyle Wheeler. His interactions with these characters, his adventures along the way, and his new understandings about the crazy world he finds himself in push Percy to reach down deep inside and discover who he truly wants to be.

"The Lightning Thief," with a book by Joe Tracz and Music/Lyrics by Rob Rokicki, is directed by PYA Choir and Theatre teacher Jessica Kinsey, and stage managed by Freshman Danielle Miller. The production will run from Thursday, March 24 through Sunday, March 27 in the Penn Yan Middle School Auditorium and online through a paid livestream. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday shows will begin at 7 p.m., with a Sunday Matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets for the live performances and the livestream are available online at www.showtix4u.com/events/thelightningthief at $10 for students/seniors, $11 for adults, or $15 for the livestream option. Tickets can also be purchased at the door for $11 for students/seniors and $12 for adults.

Remember, the Drama Club’s productions are entirely financed by ticket sales: "We hope you will come see a great show and help us keep local theatre alive and well in Penn Yan!"

If you go:

WHAT: The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical

WHO: Penn Yan Academy Drama Club

WHEN: 7 p.m. March 24-26; 2 p.m. March 27

WHERE: Penn Yan Middle School Auditorium

TICKETS: Online at www.showtix4u.com/events/thelightningthief, $10 for students/seniors, $11 for adults, $15 for livestream; at the door, students/seniors $11, adults $12.