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A Message From the Gods: Keep the Fans Happy


The show was expanded to a full, two-act musical for a brief run Off Broadway in 2017; it then toured the country before returning, this time on Broadway, in September. (It is scheduled to play through Jan. 5, which includes the lucrative holiday season.)

Through the show’s evolution, the minimalistic D.I.Y. aesthetic — a necessity in the early stages, Mr. Brackett said — has remained intact. In the book, Percy’s sea-god parentage lets him unleash a stream of toilet water to wallop a rival. But onstage, pressurized waterworks aren’t easy to come by — so Percy pelts her with a speedily unraveling, leaf-blower-propelled roll of toilet paper instead.

“It’s really capitalizing on having the audience use their imagination to fill in the blanks in the storytelling, which is one of the things that I thought was so beautiful about reading the novel,” Mr. Brackett said.

For fans still feeling burned by the movie, that spirit is a reassurance — a restoration of what the film lost. A 2014 New York Times review of the one-hour version said the show struck “a tone that’s sassy though not snarky, and energetic without being hectic.”

Chris McCarrell, who plays Percy, said the stage script refuses to let him or the other actors take themselves too seriously, which is appropriate.

“The magic of those books is the tone that does not waver the whole time,” he said. “This is a mess of a 12-year-old trying to figure out what is happening, which I love. And I try to keep that alive in the musical, which is pretty easy to do.”

The cardinal rule for the cast? “Don’t show Stephen something if you don’t want to put it in the show,” said Kristin Stokes, who has played Annabeth since the show’s inception.

“Trust me,” said Jorrel Javier, who plays both Grover and Mr. D. “If the choice that you made just happened to coincide with his vision, then sometimes you end up having to kick your leg to your face eight times a week.”


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