Well after a fun trip into Chicago with my sister to see the fantastic Team StarKid in their production/comedy show, “Airport for Birds,” I realized something: Some of you may not know about Team StarKid!
I’m so sorry I haven’t told you about them before. I must be brief, because I am writing this at 2:45 in the morning (when I write almost all my posts!) and probably no one will read this anyway.
Team StarKid is many things. It is a group of people. It is a fan base. It is a body of work consisting of musicals, an Internet series, national tours, and more. It is a way of life… well, maybe I won’t go that far. Some fans might, though. (Some people are fans, some are really into Team StarKid, and then some are plain cray cray. I consider myself in the first category.)
While I could give a detailed history of Team StarKid, I will refrain because Professor Wikipedia has all the information you need to know here. But basically here’s the gist:
– They started at the University of Michigan
– Darren Criss, who plays Blaine on Glee, is a founding member
– They will be producing their seventh musical this summer
– The group members write, direct, and act in the productions
– There are around 40 members of Team StarKid
– They are best known for their production of “A Very Potter Musical”
Now, coming from a totally biased opinion, I would rate their productions (including their Internet series) as follows:
7. Little White Lie
Their Internet series was a great idea and is quite fun to watch, especially if you know all the actors and watch it all in one go. So I am not saying it is number seven because it is bad, but because the other six are so GREAT.
Plot: A brother-sister band try to make it to the top, competing at the local Battle of the Bands, but how far will they go for fame?
Highlights: An early Darren Criss song, “Sami”; and a hilarious song sung by Lauren Lopez called, “Boy Toy.” Hit it!
Fun. But it only gets better.
6. Me and My Dick
I won’t spend that much time on this, simply because it’s just not my humor (and I doubt that my readers would like it that much either). That being said, it is still a clever, musically rich, captivating drama. About a boy and his… well, you know. (For Mature viewers [who have childish humor] only).
Plot: A boy tries to get through the drama of high school- will he find true love?
Highlight: The song “Ready to Go” is a typical, epic long song that sets up the characters, their stories, and the overarching drama.
(The footage above is from one of StarKid’s national tours, The SPACE Tour.)
I hate to give Starship fifth place, because really these top five musicals are all so wonderful they might all deserve first place. But somebody has to lose. Starship was also one of the harder musicals to grow attached to, because they use… alien puppets. Which yes, sounds awesome, but it’s a little harder to follow. It took watching the show with my sister next to me for me to really enjoy it. See what you think:
Plot: “The Little Mermaid” set in SPACE! Ok, a little more? An alien who longs to be a Starship Ranger gets the opportunity of a lifetime– but what’s going to happen to his planet?
Highlights: The love song “The Way I Do” is brilliant, as is the growing romance between a modern robot and a country bumpkin Starship Ranger; the sets and costumes and puppets really are quite fun; the song “Status Quo” became a favorite once they revamped it on their tour and made it even better.
Great song and great message.
4/3/2- THE VERY POTTER TRILOGY
Now if I was going to be honest, I’d probably rate these three musicals in a weird order, but since it gets confusing to do that, I’m listing them all together: THE VERY POTTER TRILOGY.
This is how most people got connected to StarKid, I believe it’s partially how Darren Criss got out there, and it really is some of their best work. They take the story of Harry Potter from the books and the movies and the fan culture along with pop-culture references, college humor, and clever writing and make it something so amazing, it makes you think Voldermort is a likable character!
The three musicals- A Very Potter Musical, A Very Potter Sequel, and A Very Potter Senior Year- are all very different, and they tell different stories from the chronological order of the books/movies. At the time, AVPM might have been their one Potter production, so they get to the end of the series at the end of the musical with Voldemort being defeated and Dumbledore dying. (Oops, spoilers?) They especially combine elements from the fourth and seventh books. So what can they do for the next two? Well, in the Sequel they go back in time via the Time Turner and in the Senior Year they go forward to see how the gang’s final year at Hogwarts goes (Spoiler– Not Well).
AVPM and AVPS are both much lower quality productions, but also much more finely tuned than AVPSY. A Very Potter Senior Year was a miracle. It was dreamed of and hoped for, but there were many reasons why it would probably never happen. But it did, and despite technical difficulties and the fact that it’s a staged reading (granted, an AMAZING stage reading) it is a wonderful production. Very over the top and silly- but that’s how it should be.
So if I had to rate them, I’d say 4. A Very Potter Sequel 3. A Very Potter Senior Year 2. A Very Potter Musical, but I don’t know. It’s hard. Here are the links if you’d like them! I promise you won’t want to watch them embedded on this site!
Plot: Harry Potter and his friends must try to win the House Tournament, although something strange seems to be happening. And why is Quirrel’s turban making noises?
Highlights: Voldemort’s “To Dance Again”; Dumbledore’s neck beard; Draco’s slippery eel movements on the ground (you’ll have to see it to understand…); FIND!; Snape is amazing!; Ginny’s soulful “Not Alone”; Pigfarts; Harry’s song to Cho Chang; Cho Chang Y’all!; and the epic opening number “Going Back to Hogwarts!” Basically everything. (Here’s a fun acoustic version of that last song. You can see how fans have basically memorized the whole thing… myself included…)
Plot: Well, Voldemort is dead, so what can the Death Eaters do now? Perhaps… Go back in time and kill Harry Potter in his first year at Hogwarts!!!! Will they be successful? You have to watch and see…
Highlights: The beginning of Harry and Ron’s friendship; Hermione’s “Coolest Girl”; Lupin’s crazy, crazy behavior; Lucius Malfoy as a dancing Death Eater; Quidditch!; Snape’s “Guys Like Potter”; a very butch Umbridge; the emotional “To Have A Home”; the classic “Harry Freakin’ Potter”; Red Vines; and the ending number, “Days Of Summer” (which I sang with my fellow leadership to our summer staff at camp last year!). Basically almost everything.
Plot: It’s Senior Year, so surely everything is going to be great for Harry and his friends, right? Well, it would be if it weren’t for a certain Gilderoy Lockhart, a possessed diary, and the entire school turning against Harry. What will Harry do?
Highlights: Hagrid and McGonagall finally appear!; Evanna Lynch (who played Luna Lovegood in the movies) appears as Luna; Wizard Cops; the Weasley’s measly home; a very fun “Senior Year”; a new Hermione? (though you can’t replace Bonnie!); a young dancing Tom Riddle’s “Always Dance”; a spot-on Gilderoy; a terrible song called “Get in my Mouth” performed amazingly by the amazing Jeff Blim; a haunting song “Everything Ends”; and a wonderful conclusion (or two or three) and SO MUCH MORE.
And the number one production, so far, imho… is…
1. Holy Musical B@man
It’s a Batman Musical. Have you not clicked Play yet?
Have you still not clicked Play? Okay, I’ll try to sell you on it.
Plot: In this musical, Batman is powerful and strong, but so alone. All he wants is a friend. And then Robin comes along… is this who he’s been waiting for?
Highlights: A Batman Musical; I don’t know what else I need to say; but I’ll keep going; goofy gangsters; the epic intro; an amazing assortment of rogues; their song “Rogues Are We”; Joe Walker’s take on Batman is spot on; Chris Allen’s amazing Michael Caine accent; The Candyman; The Candyman; The Candyman; Superman’s relationship with Batman; the Green Lantern; Batman’s brooding song “Dark, Sad, Lonely Night”; the super-critical “American Way”; the sugary sweet “Dynamic Duet”; the Candyman; the candy puns; Candy; the weird relationship between Robin and Batman; the EPIC 80s sounding soundtrack; the cool costumes; the fantastic ending song “Super Friends” that you will find yourself singing all the time (or at least I did all summer…)
Now I could go on and talk about the actors or the guys that write the productions or the people that make the music or what they have coming up… (check it out here!) but I will stop for now. Just pick a musical or a clip and watch and try to stop yourself from losing yourself in the experience… Have fun, and be totally awesome!