The Mandell Theater has hosted many productions over the years, and this November Drexel University’s theater department is putting on “The Lighting Thief,” marking the 50th anniversary of the theater’s opening.
The musical is based on Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lighting Thief,” the best-selling children’s novel. Nick Anselmo, the head of the theatre department, chose “The Lightning Thief” in response to a petition from former students, Desmond Cheung and Jessica Jiang and current student, Sara Grimaldi.
“Drexel Theater in recent years has put on a lot of very emotionally heavy shows, and those shows are important but it’s also important to do theater for joy,” Grimaldi says.
“The Lighting Thief” is about a boy named Percy, who discovers he is a demigod and goes on a quest, along with his friends Annabeth and Grover, to find Zeus’ missing lightning bolt and prevent a war between the Greek Gods.
“The confusion of being in a new place is really relatable, it’s like college,” Nick Fallacaro, the actor playing Percy says, “I try to bring the child-like wonder and lean into the goofiness of it.”
In true Percy Jackson fashion, the musical is chaotic and a whole lot of fun. But there are still some hardships.
“The hardest part of [the musical] is usually work-life balance, balancing rehearsal five days a week, with classes and a social life,” Stage Manager Jenny Glickman says.
Nevertheless, the cast and crew are dedicated to this production.
“I’m so impressed with their work ethic,” Director Kyle Metzger says, “They are always prepared.”
The production opens at the Mandell Theatre on Friday, Nov. 10.