“EPIC The Musical” is the newest musical-in-the-making sensation. Loosely based on Homer’s “The Odyssey,” creator Jorge Rivera-Herrans has cultivated an audience mostly on TikTok.
Jorge Rivera-Herrans has been posting behind-the-scenes content and updates on his project on social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram. By giving insight into the creative process of crafting a musical, snippets of yet-to-be-released songs and a casting process that centers the online musical community, Rivera-Herrans has cultivated a large and dedicated audience, with 578k followers on TikTok alone.
The highly anticipated release of songs for the musical has been broken down into nine EPs — which Rivera-Herrans refers to as Sagas. So far, the first two that have been released are The Troy Saga and The Cyclops Saga.
The Troy Saga follows Odysseus and his soldiers at the end of the Trojan War, the beginning of their journey at sea back to their homeland of Ithaca, and their encounter with the Lotus Eaters. The Saga, which consists of five songs, does an incredible job at setting the tone for following releases. It introduces the main themes of the musical, sets the stage for future conflict, and gives its characters beautiful and compelling introductions. The soundtrack, despite its short 16-minute run-time, is filled with heartbreak, desperation and hope. The must-listen-to’s of this Saga is “Just a Man” and “Warrior of the Mind.”
The Cyclops Saga released a month after The Troy Saga, picks up at the cave where Odysseus and his men encounter the cyclops Polyphemus and their ensuing fight to survive. The four songs of this Saga are electric, building anticipation that keeps the listener on their toes. Rivera-Herrans skillfully weaves motifs of songs from The Troy Saga into the music of The Cyclops Saga, expertly tying the themes of the two Sagas together to create a seamless listening experience from one to the next. These songs are powerful, bold and more than a bit devastating. Of The Cyclops Saga, “Survive” and “Remember Them” are the standouts.
Rivera-Herrans’ wordplay, use of musical motifs and song composition create an incredible atmosphere for the listener. On top of that, the cast of “EPIC The Musical” is as wonderfully talented as the creator. Every member brings with them an interesting perspective and takes on their characters that lend to endless listening. The voices of Athena (Teagan Earley), Odysseus (Jorge Rivera-Herrans), Zeus (Luke Holt) and Polites (Steven Dookie) are particularly remarkable. But the real heart and soul of the experience is the ensemble, who bring a level of depth and body to the soundtrack that is astounding.
Despite the fact that The Odyssey is a story that has been repeated time and time again, Rivera-Herrans and the cast and crew of “EPIC The Musical” have managed to find the sweet spot of nostalgia for the original story while simultaneously making their interpretation new and fresh. With storytelling inspired by video games and animation, Rivera-Herrans builds the narrative in such a way that allows the audience to find a new level of interest in already well-established characters and events that everyone already knows will occur. Despite knowing how the tale goes, “EPIC The Musical” has found a way to make the lives of the characters and the story incredibly impactful still.
While the release date for the next Saga has not been announced yet, fans are already excited for whatever EPIC releases next and Jorge Rivera-Herrans has hinted on social media of big news coming soon.