A seasoned theatre enthusiast, Rebekah Phifer is returning to the stage in just two weeks for The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical. Rebekah shared their excitement about the project with us in a recent conversation about her favorite book series turned favorite musical, the themes we can expect to see played out, and the energy of the cast and production team.

It feels unreal sometimes, sitting in music rehearsals and thinking, I can’t believe we’re singing songs that I’ve loved since they came out years ago. And because I’ve read the books so many times, it’s amazing to watch some of these moments come to life.’”

Rebekah Phifer has experience on both the production and performing sides of theatre. Having served as Actor, Crew, Production Assistant, and Assistant Stage Manager for various productions, they’re no stranger to the strategies a production team and cast might use to evoke certain emotions while ensuring that the audience has a blast— and The Lightning Thief is a perfect place to look for examples of this.

It’s very engaging for all ages. It has themes that can resonate with everyone, including found family, identity, grief, and loss. But an important part of this show is that it’s all packaged up in a silly, fun way, with breath-taking moments mixed in. It has tearjerkers and jaw-droppers.”

A self-proclaimed theatre kid and long time fan of the Percy Jackson novels, Rebekah’s involvement in this cast makes for a dream come true. She read the first novel at just ten years old, and has reread the entire series several times since, with a reread happening even now. For Rebekah, Percy’s search for belonging and identity resonates deeply. And like Percy’s friend Annabeth Chase, Rebekah has often been called a smart aleck or know-it-all. The books worked to tell Rebekah that they weren’t alone in these feelings.

Being able to see myself in all those characters and watching their adventures was a fun form of escapism for me when I was younger. And the takeaway is, no matter how out-of-place you feel, you’re not the only person going through that. There will always be someone else. You just might not have met them yet.”

Now Rebekah is working alongside a cast of mostly younger performers, closer to the age she was when she first read the novels than to her current age. Some of the younger actors are new to GREAT Theatre, while others are completely new to theatre. Watching the cast connect and learn over a story close to Rebekah’s heart has been a valuable experience, and the cast has benefited from Rebekah’s familiarity with the story as well. In fact, the rehearsal process has been educational for everyone involved!

The production team is being very intentional about explaining their thought processes, especially with some of the actors who are new to theatre. They’ll never point and tell you what to do without making sure you understand why you’re doing it, how it will look on stage, and how it plays into the bigger picture of what everyone else is doing. And that’s going to make for a really strong show with really strong decisions from the actors. I can’t wait for people to see it!”

Don’t miss your chance to see The Lightning Thief at the Paramount Center for the Arts, February 2-11!