Advanced Music Research Paper (StarKid)


StarKid, Team StarKid, or StarKid Productions is a group of writers, directors, editors, and designers who have gathered together to create accessible, quality theatre for the modern era. This team of talented artists formed at the University of Michigan in 2009 has pioneered the use of the internet as an innovative way to produce theatre by making it available to millions of people around the world. This new form of live performance blended with the accessibility and quality of High-Definition filming has created a very new world of opportunity and distribution for the theatre margin.

The Michigan Daily stated that StarKid was “taking the theater world by storm one cheeky musical at a time” proving that this group has given a new name to musicals and musical productions. The Chicago Reader indicated that StarKid Productions is “ingenious…has ‘the next big thing’ written all over it” because they are the future of musicals as they have become more and more prominent on the internet. The fame of the StarKid member Darren Criss on the TV show “Glee” only adds to the fame and influence of the StarKid musicals on the world.

In just 2 years StarKid had reached over 90 million views on YouTube and attracted the attention of many national media businesses such as Entertainment Weekly, Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, The Hollywood Reporter, The Detroit Free Press, New York Magazine, and National Public Radio. StarKid remains at the top, completely committed to pioneering the new outlet for theatre distribution through the internet.

StarKid first appeared on the internet in July of 2009 with their musical A Very Potter Musical which was a fan-made parody that premiered and immediately went viral due to the attention of the fans of the Harry Potter series. This musical was filmed during a live performance through the University of Michigan, it was an instant hit with the staff of Entertainment Weekly and of course, the Harry Potter fan base where it quickly garnered nearly 2 million views.

A Very Potter Musical is centered on Harry and his friends when they go back to Hogwarts and must defeat the Dark Lord after he returns from the dead to take revenge on The Boy Who Lived. It combines the books with the movies and even adds a little bit of that StarKid flare that shows up so often in any and all of their productions.

In March of 2010, StarKid’s second musical production, Me and My Dick, blasted its way onto the Billboard charts, landing at #11 for Original Cast Recording—a first for a college production. The show solidified StarKid as a real contestant in comedy musicals and also grabbed national attention from the likes of MTV and blogger Perez Hilton.

Joey Richter is the main character in this musical production and he and his best friend face the trials of love, growing up, high school, and many other trials that come with being teenagers. It is a coming of age story and it has been said “you don’t want to miss it”.

In May of 2010, StarKid made a return with A Very Potter Sequel where they received 4,000 ticket requests for the 400 seats that were available. This production—which was named to Entertainment Weekly’s “Must List”—premiered to packed houses with fans from across the world lining up hours before each show.

A Very Potter Sequel welcomes Harry and his friends back to Hogwarts along with Voldemort’s Death Eaters who turn the time back to Harry’s first year at Hogwarts where they battle werewolves and suffer through detention with Umbridge. This is one sequel you don’t want to miss; as the Director, Matt Lang said, it is “even more fun than the original!”

StarKid’s Chicago premiere production, Starship debuted to seven sold-out screenings in New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago before hitting the internet in April of 2011, The Starship cast album climbed to #4 on the iTunes charts during the first weekend of release and went on to reach #1 on the Billboard Charts for Cast Albums.

Starship is set in the distant future, on a far off world inhabited by a race of giant insects where you meet Bug. He doesn’t seem any different than any others of his kind, however inside the pus-vesicles that serve as his heart he longs for something more than his mundane life. Ever since he was a small giant insect he has visited the mysterious wreckage of a starship, fascinated with the alien race that once made up its crew—the humans! He wants nothing more than to meet them and become one of them. When the sky darkens with the arrival of a new Starship of colonizing humans, Bug sets out on an adventure in which he befriends the crew, falls in love, and faces off against evil robots, brain-eating scorpions and the corrupt Galactic League. This science-fiction musical comedy is sure to appeal to many long time sci-fi fans.

StarKid’s first national tour, The S.P.A.C.E. Tour, occurred in November of 2011 where they played 21 shows in 17 cities across the country. StarKid’s second Chicago production occurred in March of 2012, Holy Musical B@man, played to full-houses and debuted on YouTube with over 700, 000 views to date. StarKid’s second national tour, APOCALYPTOUR, occurred in May of 2012 which culminated in a sold-out show at the historic Roseland Ballroom in New York City.

Holy Musical B@man takes place after a young billionaire witnesses the murder of his parents and makes a solemn vow to dress up like a bat and wage a one man war on crime. However, when he realizes that one is the loneliest number to wage a war with he sets off on a musical adventure to rescue the city from the greatest super-villain of all time and to find a super friend. Throughout this whole musical they poke fun at Batman, who is in fact everyone’s favorite superhero (right after Spider-man)!

Ever since Darren Criss (who played Harry Potter in all of the A Very Potter musicals) joined the cast of Glee, The StarKids (his real family) tease him unceasingly about being a warbler and doing warbler moves and make many other references to the popular TV show. They even incorporate hits at Glee into their more recent musicals.

Their most recent musical was A Very Potter Senior Year, the final installment of the A Very Potter Musical series. However, due to the short amount of time that they had Darren for, they could only do a staged reading of the musical at the Harry Potter convention, LeakyCon.

A Very Potter Senior Year centers on Harry and his friend’s final year at Hogwarts and their last battle against Voldemort where it incorporates a couple of his deaths all into one death.

Another young StarKid member, Joe Moses (who played Snape in all of the A Very Potter musicals), has set out by himself as well. He has started his own one-man show in New York where he mixes new and original sketches with Snape reprisals. His thought on internet fame was “If I’m lucky enough to have people interested in what I’m saying, I should be saying something good.” Joe Moses can do 12 different accents, not including Cockney and he works a day job as a bartender, you really can start from anywhere.

Currently, the StarKid YouTube channel has gained 130 million views, 177,000 subscribers, 156,000 Facebook fans, and over 70,000 Twitter followers worldwide all of which are expected to increase the more popular and well-known they become.

Works Cited

  “ABOUT.” HOME. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2013. <;.

Dunn, Gaby. “A StarKid Is Born.” New York Times [NYC] 8 Feb. 2012: 1. Print.

Votta, Rae. “A Day in the Life: Team StarKid (Featuring Darren Criss).” Billboard 31 May 2012: 3. Print.


Fare thee well!

Karen Alyse