‘The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical’ steals the show at Waco Civic Theatre

The cast of Waco Civic Theatre's "The Lightning Thief" poses on stage. Photo courtesy of Marnie Abrahams

By Bella Whitmore | Intern

A show that includes life-size puppets, a disco dance number and a real-life dog — what more could you ask for?

After the recent release of “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” on Disney+, kids and adults alike have returned to Camp Half-Blood and reentered their “demigod” phase. The excitement has even reached Central Texas, with Waco Civic Theatre’s production of “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical” telling the classic story with a fun, musical twist.

Waco Civic Theatre is known for welcoming people from all different age groups to participate in productions, and this show is a perfect example. The cast is made up of a lively group of people ranging from elementary school to adulthood, making the show, as well as the theater itself, feel exciting for people of all ages.

The setup of the stage is unique. The stage is in the center of the room while the audience surrounds it in one big circle, making the show that much more engaging. You really feel like you’re a part of the bonfire during “The Campfire Song,” which was my personal favorite song of the entire musical.

The shining stars of the show are undoubtedly the actors of Luke Castellan, Hades and Sally Jackson. Caleb Reinhart, who plays Luke Castellan, son of Hermes, gives a lively and versatile portrayal of the character as he begins animated and turns brooding as he becomes the eventual villain of the show. Hades, played by Bill Selby, steals the show with his platform heels, fun dance moves and comedic one-liners. Lastly, one of Baylor’s own, Marnie Abrahams, delivers a heartfelt and warm portrayal of Sally Jackson and makes you feel her emotions right alongside her.

Bringing more representation for the Bears, Baylor freshman Miles McCavit captures the spotlight with his talented singing voice and dynamic portrayal of the titular character.

Another aspect of the show worth highlighting is the life-size cardboard puppets that Abrahams made by hand. The puppets include a minotaur, a cute squirrel and the three-headed dog, Cerberus, who is in a DJ booth at the top of the stage. Each puppet has impressive geometric designs and proportions, to the point where you cannot even tell they are homemade. I love the creativity and innovation of the show, exemplified brilliantly by the puppetry.

This is a production full of so much life, talent and, most of all, joy. It is so evident from every single character — from the named ones to the ensemble — how much they enjoy performing and telling the story they get to tell. If you have the chance to see the show, you will not be disappointed.

The production of “The Lightning Thief” continues this weekend with shows from March 21 to March 24, including both evening and matinee performances.