Pictured are cast members in the upcoming production of “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical”: Riley Brown as Annabeth, Brody Bourke as Percy Jackson and Joey King as Grover. Contributed photo.

South Valley Civic Theatre’s upcoming production, “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical,” is making its way to the stage Feb. 23 at the Morgan Hill Community Playhouse. 

The show is based on the popular book “The Lightning Thief” by author Rick Riordan, which was turned into a musical in 2017. The story follows 12-year-old Percy Jackson, who finds out he is a son of a Greek god and is introduced to a world that has been hidden from him his whole life. With the help of new friends Annabeth and Grover, Percy must endure a journey full of mythological creatures to restore peace between the gods. 

Like Percy, many of our local teens are taking up their own quests and challenging themselves during this production. As a cast member myself, I’ve been given the unique opportunity to give a firsthand point of view of our show’s teen involvement.
Crew member Clara Shem-Tov, 16, is the teen assistant producer for the show, being mentored by producers Jenn Oliphant and Malisha Kumar. 

“This is the first time I’ve seen an opportunity for teens to take on some of the roles that are normally filled by adults,” Shem-Tov said, also mentioning that she has been able to teach others what she knows about lighting and other tech positions. 

“It feels amazing to not only leave my mark onstage, but to leave it backstage too.” said Paige DeRosa, 16, who plays Sally Jackson as well as various ensemble roles. DeRosa was able to choose her own costume, wrote a research paper on Medusa, and helped paint and build sets. 

The show began production last December with a cast of more than 20, along with a few local teens who were casted to be a part of the live band. They’ve been mentored by the show’s vocal and music director, Brian Bourke and Mark Wong. 

As rehearsals progressed, cast members were given chances to be dance captains or leads in their vocal section. The ability to rely on yourself and the feeling of independence that came with it was prominent during the practice times. 

Another crew member, Bella Tankersley, 14, is assisting in more ways than one on the show. She is the stage manager, assistant director, and dramaturg. “It has been so much fun both meeting people and seeing the entire thing come to life. Plus I get to help make it all happen, you know?” 

Claire Oliphant, 14, is assisting with costuming, props, and a cast member as well, and is being mentored by Lorraine Bell, a well-known costumer for SVCT. “She’s been amazing and has made me feel so useful and included.” Oliphant said.

The lead teen director, E.M. Lasky, 19, is making his directorial debut with help from Andrew Cummings and mentor director Max Tarlton.
“It’s teachers like them who elevate my experience and perspective as a creative. One of those things you learn in theater is that collaboration is not just important, it is essential,” said Lasky. 

This production is a great representation of what it means to accomplish feats you never thought possible. The work done throughout the show has been shared in more ways than one, with each cast and crew member playing a vital part in bringing the thrilling musical to the Playhouse.

Sydney Hoiberg is a 17-year-old junior at Gilroy High School who regularly does shows with the South Valley Civic Theatre. “The Lightning Thief” opens Feb. 23, and runs weekends through March 16 at the Morgan Hill Community Playhouse, 17090 Monterey Road in Morgan Hill. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit svct.org

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  1. I’m so proud of Sydney. She is one of my Granddaughters. Her and her sister, Makayla have been on stage for so many years. Their parents Chris and Tiffany Hoiberg have been involved all along in many productions. I can can’t tell you how this makes feel. I feel so blessed. Brian Silkwood.

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