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Burnaby actor transforms into satyr in Percy Jackson musical

The Greek gods descend on Vancouver in stage adaptation of fantasy story.
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Teddy Ngkaion as Grover (left), Brett Williams as Percy Jackson (middle) and Jessica Spenst as Annabeth (right) will appear onstage in The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson musical, onstage May 18 to 28 at the Norman Rothstein Theatre. Photo Canna Zhou

Greek gods and demigods will soon be gracing the stage at the latest musical adaptation of a best-selling young adult novel by author Rick Riordan.

Opening on Thursday, May 18, The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical will be presented by CTORA theatre (formerly Children’s Theatre of Richmond) at the Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre in Vancouver. It will run until May 28.

Taking the helm in a double role — as Grover Underwood, the cheerful and upbeat satyr, and as Dionysus, the Greek god of the grape harvest and camp director of Camp Half-Blood, also known as Mr. D, is Burnaby actor Ted Angelo Ngkaion.

Ngkaion, a Filipino-Chinese immigrant who moved to Canada in 2014 to pursue in theatre at the University of Victoria, settled in Burnaby in 2020 with a dream to act and otherwise breathe life into fictitious characters.

In a conversation with the NOW, Ngkaion spoke about his self-reflection in the days leading up to one of his first professional performances on stage post-graduation. His debut professional performance on stage, he said, was in a production titled Buto/Buto: Bones are Seeds, a collection of stories about Filipino immigration to Canada.

“Working on The Lightning Thief unlocked a childhood memory for me,” he said. “When I was living in Singapore, I used to watch this show on TV called Hi-5, an Australian kids' show. I remember singing and dancing along with them. After the show, I’d sing all the songs for my parents … that’s when I first fell in love with performing, and here I am living it now.”

Playing characters on the opposite sides of the spectrum — a happy, fun-loving Grover versus the grumpy old Mr.D, Ngkaion said, was fascinating. He is ecstatic about bringing his childhood heroes to life on stage — with a rock musical twist. The timing of this play is fantastic, he added, with the Percy Jackson series that’s in the works.

Aside from performing on stage, Ngkaion enjoys putting on several creative hats in productions — including as an assistant director and a writer for an upcoming play about the circumcision right of passage in Filipino culture titled filiPENIS.

The two-act full-stage musical, which also features Burnaby resident Ken Overbey as the choreographer, will include a five-piece live orchestra, Ancient Greek and modern-day scene changes and giant puppets.

Tickets for The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical range from $18 to $58 (plus fees) and can be purchased online at ctora.ca.

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