An Electrifying Production

For the final show of the year, FHC Spotlight Players give their biggest performance yet.


Percy Jackson dramatically clashes with the Minotaur. Percy is played by Milo Nichols, the Minotaur is played by Jerry Forno.

As audience members walk into the auditorium, they are greeted by a room buzzing with excitement. They are all here to see one thing: “The Lightning Thief”, a musical based on the Percy Jackson series. On stage, the pattern of a lightning bolt is projected onto a curtain. Every few minutes, the lights surge, and a loud thundering noise fills the room. These effects energize the audience even more. Eventually, the lights dim, and the audience quiets down.

Behind the curtain, the energy is much the same. The cast and crew are scrambling to get everything ready; applying make-up, putting on costumes, and making sure all the lights and technical features are working properly. On opening night, excitement and anxiety are felt in equal parts.

This is certainly the case for sophomore Milo Nichols, who plays the main character, Percy Jackson. In his first year of theater, Nichols landed a major role in the show “Emma: A Pop Musical”, and is now the leading role of “The Lightning Thief” in only his sophomore year.  This is Nichols third production with the theater program, but that doesn’t make him immune to opening night worries.

“I was really nervous, because it felt like we still had a lot of problems to sort out, and we hadn’t gone over them enough,” Nichols said. “But it just all worked out, it all fell into place. I don’t know what it is about having an audience there, but it just helps so much.”

The anxiety that comes with playing a lead can be overwhelming, but for Nichols these kinds of worries mostly fade once he’s actually out on stage.

“Even I have stage fright sometimes. When we’re in the wings waiting to get in our places, my heart is beating, I’m sweating, I’m really nervous,” Nichols said, “but something about knowing there are people who paid to see this, and they want you to do a good job, it really helps you disconnect from that, and once you’re on stage, it all just feels natural.”

“The Lightning Thief” is a much larger show than the others put on this year. With more sets, a larger cast, and more special effects, it has led to a large workload for cast and crew. Senior Abby Money plays Annabeth, one of the three main characters, and has experienced this firsthand. Money feels that the hard work has paid off.

“This show cost about fifteen thousand dollars to put on. That’s all money we’ve raised on our own, none of it was given to us.” Money said. “The cast has a lot on their plate, the crews have even more on their plate, I’d say. There’s so many special effects and cool, small things that go into it. When people leave, instead of them thinking, ‘Oh, that was good for a high school show,’. We want them to think ‘Wow, that was a great show.’”

As the opening night for a show gets closer, it’s always a mad dash to get everything ready in time. “The Lightning Thief” was no exception, with long hours and late nights increasing as the big night drew nearer. While this can be exhausting, many see it as an inconvenient but necessary part of the process.

“With theater, we are working towards one show. Three nights. That’s all we’re working towards.” Money said. “So we try to perfect it and get it as good as possible, because after the show is over, it’s not like we can just do it again.” (…) “Everybody’s in agreement that we need to stay here and we need to get done what needs to get done, and then we can go home. And yes, it’s absolutely exhausting. It is so tiring.” (…) “Ultimately, it just helps us bond. I mean, we’re all going through the same thing, all struggling the same, all stressing the same, but in the end, it’s so worth it.”