Local artists to debut original musical, 'Hero,' in Southern Tier
ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- A brand-new musical created by local artists is set to debut in the Southern Tier over the weekend.
The musical “Hero” takes a spin on Greek mythology, telling the story of Narcissus asks Persephone, Orpheus and Heracles. The four lifelong friends must navigate a world of gods and monsters on their journey to recover a powerful artifact and confront their deepest fears.
The concept started approximately 15 years ago when Jeffrey Mathews and Katie Starling were just students in high school.
“Katie actually approached me about this idea when we were still in high school,” said Mathews, the composer of the musical. “At the time, I wasn't, I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah...we'll write a musical.’”
As the two grew older, however, their dream soon became a reality.
“We premiered it in 2011 locally with an acting class called the Young Actors Workshop, and now we've completely rewritten the show,” said Mathews. “It's completely updated with the life experience we have. We're not teenagers anymore.”
As the novelist of the show, Starling was determined to bring a new side of Greek mythology to light, while still staying true to the characters.
“It's something that I'd been fantasizing about since I was 16,” she said. “So, being able to see this come to life and be able to put my own interpretations on mythology...was really empowering and very fun.”
Complimenting Starling’s book is Mathews’ score, which features music similar to acclaimed musicals like “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Les Misérables” and “Jekyll and Hyde.”
“It starts very light, but we get some really beautiful dramatic ballads and some dark minor stuff going on,” he said. “[The score] spans the whole spectrum, but it's been a ton of fun to make happen.”
While the process of creating “Hero” has been a rewarding experience for the two creators, seeing their work come to life has been a dream come true.
“The other artists in the area...made it even better than we could have imagined,” said Mathews. “We have amazing lighting designers that work with video projection for our backgrounds, [and] the scenic designer created something really spectacular that we never could have imagined on our own.”
“The collaboration is just beautiful and so inspirational to see new life breathed into this thing that we've been working on for over a decade,” Starling added.
“Hero” will premiere at the O'Dell Theater at Elmira High School Friday at 7 p.m., and performances will continue Saturday at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are available online through EventBrite and at the door.