Home Hotspots Central Q&A: Sarah Beth Pfeifer Talks ‘The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical’

Q&A: Sarah Beth Pfeifer Talks ‘The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical’

Photo by Jeremy Daniels

The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, an “electrifying” (Newsday) musical adaption of the New York Times best-selling novel written by Rick Riordan, will play Straz Center’s Morsani Hall July 9-14. 

With more than 100 million copies of the book series sold worldwide, this global phenomenon has found a new home on the live stage in a “mesmerizing” (TheaterMania) theatrical event that provides “a spectacularly fun adventure that will thrill everyone in the family!” (Chicago Parent).  Following a sold-out run in New York City, where it garnered three Drama Desk Award nominations including Best Musical, “this family-friendly show delights with warm musical numbers and entertains both kids and adults with sophisticated humor.” (Philadelphia Inquirer).

As a son of Poseidon, Percy Jackson has newly discovered powers he can’t control, monsters on his trail, and is on a quest to find Zeus’ lightning bolt to prevent a war between the Greek gods. Based on the best-selling novel by Rick Riordan and featuring a thrilling original rock score, The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical is an action-packed theatrical adventure that has been celebrated by audiences and critics alike. 

The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical has a Drama Desk nominated book by Joe Tracz, music and lyrics by Rob Rokicki, direction by Stephen Brackett, choreography by Patrick McCollum, set design by Lee Savage, costume design by Sydney Maresca, lighting design by David Lander, Obie award-winning sound design by Ryan Rumery, fight direction by Rod Kinter and orchestrations by Wiley DeWeese and Rob Rokicki. The production is presented by special arrangement with Rick Riordan and the Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency.

It was a pleasure to sit down with Sarah Beth Pfeifer (who plays Clarisse and understudies for Annabeth), who is part of our LGBTQ+ community, for this exclusive Hotspots interview:

How old were you the first time you performed? 

I was around 3 and I was in my house and probably making my brother miserable putting on a play

What was your first paid gig?

Right out of college (in DC) I worked at Toby’s Dinner Theater, run by Toby Ornstein. Toby was also an educator and was my teacher and it was a great way to start in the business. 

When did you know performing would be your career?

When I was a freshman in high school, I did a production of Godspell, and it was the biggest sigh of relief as the community we built around this show was so accepting. It let me know that high school was going to be ok and that I found my niche. 

What has been your favorite role other than this one?

I love getting to create characters, meaning new work, and I have worked a bunch with Rob Rokicki, who composed the score to The Lighting Thief. We are now working on a new show that I hope I have a role in. And fingers crossed that this role will be my favorite ever. 

What is your fantasy role?

I would love to play Elphaba in Wicked. If you are a high belting musical theater actress of a certain age, it’s on your bucket list. It’s a very difficult role to master, but it would be very satisfying. 

Do you have a girlfriend? How do you make the distance work? 

Yes I do, I have a fiancé, and we just got engaged in the fall. The distance is hard, but smart phones make it much easier with texting and face time. It helps that she is my favorite person in the world. 

What should our readers expect from The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical?

It is an epic pop rock musical with an amazing score and a super incredible dynamic cast. It about Percy Jackson, who as a kid always felt like a screw up and he finds out early in the show that he is the son of the Greek God Poseidon. He goes on an epic quest to save the world. We embrace theatricality, on how we stage the epic events happening in this show. 

For more information on Sarah, go to: sarahbethpfeifer.com.

The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical will play the Straz Center’s Morsani Hall July 9-14. Performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30pm., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8pm and Sunday at 1 and 6:30pm. Regularly priced tickets are $25-$68 and may be purchased by calling 813.229.STAR (7827) or 800.955.1045 outside Tampa Bay, in person at the Straz Center Ticket Office or online at Strazcenter.org

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