Q&A with Jorrel Javier from “Percy Jackson” musical


Jorrel Javier

Actor, singer and dancer Jorrel Javier will open “Percy Jackson” at the Chicago Oriental Theater

“The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical” is a 2017 musical with book by Joe Tracz and music by Rob Rokicki. Based on Rick Riordan’s 2005 novel by the same name, the musical follows Percy Jackson a young demigod on his quest to return Zeus’ missing lightning bolt.

The updated show can be seen in Chicago from Jan. 8-13 at the Oriental Theater. Jorrel Javier who is playing Grover/Mr. D in the show gave us an inside look at the upcoming show.

Q: What are your past experiences in theater? How does this role compare?

A: I did theatre and speech and debate all through high school. After doing that, I went to Texas State and got my BSA in musical theatre. I graduated in May of this year and moved to New York three months ago and my agent got me the audition for this show.

Q: How have you prepared for your role?

A: I’ve been reading the Percy Jackson series since I was in 6th grade. So a lot of the preparation came innately because I was already very familiar with the world of the show. But, aside from knowing the world, I also had to figure out how the character lived in my body because I play two characters: Grover and Mr D. I had to figure out how Mr D moved and how that was different from the way Grover moved. Depending on which character I am currently playing, this informs the way I speak to Percy and how I move around the stage.

Q: How does the script compare with the book?

A: It was really incredible to be able to read the script and find direct correlations to the source material. Because I was an avid fan of the books, I knew all the little secrets and Easter eggs within the script. It was really neat to be able to find inside jokes that I knew were major plot points in the book or even little references that aren’t even mentioned in the first book but are from the third book in the series.

Q: Have you gotten the chance to look at any of the music?

A: Of course! Because I’m a fan of the books, I was familiar with the musical when it first came out Off-Broadway. I was immediately hunting down sneak previews of the score when they came out on YouTube. But it wasn’t until recently that a full cast album came out. I had the opportunity to listen to the entire soundtrack when I was preparing for my auditions. I have fallen in love with it ever since. I mean, I still listen to it and I’m a part of the show now!

Q: What’s your favorite part of the story?

A: For me, it was always Grover’s journey. I guess I’m a little more attached to it now, but Grover’s journey is really about redemption. He’s been on this road in which his past seemingly always comes back to haunt him. Throughout the entire book series, we see Grover start to own himself a little more. We see his character develop from this meek little Satyr to someone who eventually takes ownership of himself as a Satyr Protector. For me, that’s always been my favorite part.

Q: Can you tell us about how you’ve formed relationships with the rest of the cast?

A: I was actually a little scared about joining this company because we had four returning members from the original Off-Broadway cast and only three new members joining the tour company. I was a little bit scared of perhaps not getting along with some of the people—you know, typical first-day-of -school kind of things. However, the cast has been so kind and so welcoming. They’ve really taken me under their wing and taken me in as one of their own. On our lunch break, we all get our food and sit around in a circle and discuss everyone’s day. We’re on the road to becoming one big family.

Q: Do you think there will be a sequel to the musical?

A: I do not think that there will be an adaptation of the later books. To my knowledge, we are not going to be making another musical in the same world. However, I think that the first book is so encapsulated into the musical that perhaps it will get people to want to read the books.

Q: There are a lot of aspiring actors and actresses at our school. Can you give any advice to students who would like to pursue a career in the industry?

A: If I could say anything to myself when I was in high school, it would be to never lose sight of what makes you different. What makes you different is what’s going to help get you where you need to go. It’s kind of like a theme we have in the show—what makes you different is what makes you strong. There is so much power and strength in individuality. Your idiosyncrasies that sometimes feel like flaws are actually your gold. To anyone that is trying to pursue this as a career, I would just offer to never lose sight of what makes you really stand out from others. Because the things that you think make you weak are actually what make you, you. There’s a lot of power in that.