The very title—The Lightning Thief—conjures up excitement! And author Rick Riordan’s action-packed tale about the accused stealer of lightning, 12-year-old Percy Jackson, certainly lives up to the thrills promised by the evocative title.

The first in a series of books entertainingly introducing readers to Greek mythology, The Lightning Thief has been transformed into an exciting musical that will grace the stage at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall on Oct. 4 at 2 p.m., opening Darke County Center for the Arts’ 2015-16 Family Theatre Series. The Theatreworks USA production packs a lot of plot into a fast-paced production that opens with a blinding flash and a loud bolt of music and then keeps the thrills coming.

Writer Rick Riordan became fascinated with Greek mythology while he was in middle school, and was also influenced by J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, which he admits to having read “probably 10 times.” The Percy Jackson tales were originally developed as bedtime stories for Riordan’s son who had been diagnosed as ADHD and dyslexic, traits transferred to the fictional hero.

As those familiar with the best selling books know, Percy is not the normal human he thinks he is, but a half-blood, the son of the Greek god Poseidon. His adventures begin at a summer camp on Long Island where he is introduced to a fantastic new world of heroes and quests, and meets others like himself who accompany him on his subsequent journey to find and return Zeus’s master lightning bolt to Mount Olympus on the 600th floor of the Empire State Building. Family relationships are explored, communication skills promoted, and basics of classic Greek literature are unveiled, but audiences don’t notice that they are learning anything, realizing only that they are having great fun.

Just as Greek mythology presents intriguing stories packed with moral lessons, The Lightning Thief also subtly includes meaningful messages; however the delightful lyrics that provide the lessons and advance the plot are not didactic and preachy, but sassy and energetic. Percy and his friends learn that “normal is a myth; everyone has issues that they’re dealing with,” a reassuring truth for people of all ages, and especially significant for those youngsters struggling with feeling different from their peers.

DCCA’s Family Theatre Series appeals to families for many reasons; in addition to providing an opportunity for families to enjoy a positive experience and grow together, the shows by high quality professionals artists are presented at an exceedingly economical cost. Tickets are just $5, a true entertainment bargain! Although many of the Family Theatre presentations are aimed at very young children, The Lightning Thief will be enjoyed by older youngsters as well, and is recommended for students in grades 2-6. To reserve your seat, contact DCCA at 937-547-0908 or [email protected] or purchase tickets online at www.centerforarts.net. Tickets are also available at Greenville Public Library, Readmore’s Hallmark in Greenville, and Worch Memorial Public Library in Versailles.

Exciting stuff

By Marilyn Delk

Marilyn Delk is a director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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