Team StarKid is a loosely-organised musical theatre production troupe, originally from Ann Arbor and currently based in Chicago, who are famous for making A Very Potter Musical.
The group began as friends who met while studying at the University of Michigan and did several projects together, usually in conjunction with Basement Arts, before hitting surprise mainstream success through A Very Potter Musical.
Their original musical Me and My Dick broke records as it became the first college musical to break into the Billboards top Cast albums, debuting at number 11. In July 2010, the group released A Very StarKid Album, a compilation album featuring songs from the Harry Potter musicals, Little White Lie, Me and My Dick and some original music; it rose to number 27 on the iTunes charts, beating out Lady Gaga and the Glee soundtrack for a little while. In late 2010, Team StarKid relocated to Chicago in order to establish a repertory theatre company.
Their official website and links to their projects, music and merchandise can be found on the website.
Their projects are:
- Little White Lie (2007) — a "pre-Starkid" webseries
- Very Potter series
- Me and My Dick (2009)
- Starship (2011)
- Holy Musical B@man! (2012)
- Twisted: The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier (2013)
- Ani: A Parody (2014)
- The Trail to Oregon! (2014)
- Firebringer (2016)
- Hatchetfield series
- The Digitour: In 2011, Team StarKid were part of the Digitour, a travelling tour of musicians and acts who became famous via YouTube. Joey Richter, Brian Holden, Jaime Lyn Beatty, Lauren Lopez, Joe Walker, Dylan Saunders and A.J. Holmes performed songs from AVPM and AVPS, Me and My Dick and Starship in front of live audiences.
- Funtastic Slamaganza: In 2011, Team StarKid had a charity event to benefit Snow City Arts. It was a variety performance featuring most of the members of Team StarKid who live in Chicago. It included songs from the musicals, songs by Jim and the Povolos, Standup by Meredith Stepien, as well as other acts by the StarKids. This is also where the first announcement was made confirming A Very Potter Senior Year for 2012.
- The SPACE Tour: Similar to the Digitour and Funtastic Slamaganza, the SPACE Tour is a performance of various StarKid songs that toured through the U.S. Midwest and East Coast. Charlene Kaye, who is a friend of most of the members of Team StarKid from college, is opening on the tour. The tour includes the eastern United States and London... Ontario. A concert album of the New York City show was released on March 13, 2012. A DVD based on the tour including behind-the-scenes footage was released later that month on the 24th.
- Apocalyptour: StarKid's second national tour, which is more story driven than the SPACE Tour. The StarKids, having given up singing and dancing, have turned to their true passion of archaeological digs until they unearth the Mayan God of Chaos and Death, Margaret, who is ready to bring about the 2012 apocalypse. Fortunately, Margaret is also the Mayan God of Musical Theater, and gives the StarKids a chance to save the world by putting on a concert. Unlike the SPACE Tour, Apocalyptour visited several venues on the West Coast.
- Airport For Birds (And Other Great Ideas): The team's first sketch show presented in partnership with Second City Chicago in January-March 2013.
- 1-Night-2-Last-3-Ever: A second sketch show which was performed in Fall 2013. It centered around the fictional boy band 3Ever and featuring sketches based around 1990's culture and nostalgia.
Other works of note:
- The StarKid Announcement Videos: The secondary purpose of these semi-regular videos is to inform people of the dates, times and locations of upcoming shows, answer frequently-asked-questions, pimp the StarKid merchandise and let fans know about changes to the website or other things. The main purpose of these videos is to make you laugh your ass off.
- Jim and the Povolos: Meredith Stepien had the idea in 2011 to take Starkid members who also played instruments and develop a spinoff act as a band, named in honor of Jim Povolo (who is, despite the name, not part of the regular lineup). Members include Clark Baxtresser, Jaime Lyn Beatty, Nick Gage, Brian Holden, Lauren Lopez, Dylan Saunders, Meredith Stepien, and Mark Swiderski. Began as an opening act for their friend Charlene Kaye and a "supporting act" for Team Starkid proper on the SPACE Tour. Released an EP, The Holiday Club, in 2011, and in 2017 finally cut a full-length album, Make Party.
- Starkid Takes Manhattan: The fifth anniversary of AVPM, with songs from all of their previous shows, including Twisted.
- Starkid Summer Season 2014: In addition to performing The Trail to Oregon! and Ani: A Parody the team also put on various shows on a smaller-scale. These shows were performed late at night after the musicals and ranged from sketch comedy, to stand up, to dance and everything in between.
- A Very Starkid Reunion: A show performed at the University of Michigan in October 2015 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the UMich School of Music, Theater and Dance. Unlike the SPACE Tour and Apocalyptour, this show brought back most of the original actors from all of Starkid's past stage shows to recreate classic musical numbers in full — including bringing back long-absent Starkid and UMich alum Darren Criss.
- Starkid Summer Season 2016: Similar to the 2014 season, the team used late night shows to offset the cost of producing Firebringer.
- Movies, Musicals and Me: A somewhat bizarre side project, originating as a two-man show with Al Fallick and Clark Baxtresser in LA in July 2016, then expanded and rereleased as a Web show on YouTube in 2017. Produced by Al Fallick, Clark Baxtresser, Pierce Siebers, Nick Lang and Brian Holden. In a parody of All Musicals Are Adaptations, the show takes place in a world where every popular film ever released has been adapted into a musical, from The Godfather to the Marvel Cinematic Universe — and, moreover, one starring a very old-fashioned campy Broadway diva named Halpert Evans. The show is presented as a greatest hits showcase of Evans' career, with Al Fallick playing Halpert Evans and Clark Baxtresser as his longtime accompanist and biggest fan Courtney. Includes appearances from Starkid regulars Jaime Lyn Beatty, Corey Dorris, Brian Holden, Nick Lang, Lauren Lopez, Joey Richter, and Dylan Saunders, along with Mary Kate Wiles from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.
- Starkid Homecoming: Starkid's most ambitious reunion concert yet, reuniting forty of Starkid's past performers including Darren Criss and the original Hermione, Bonnie Gruesen Socha, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of A Very Potter Musical for one night only in Los Angeles, July 25, 2019 (later expanded to two nights due to popularity and the Kickstarter reaching over $547,000).
- the Tin Can Brothers: A spinoff sketch comedy troupe consisting of Joey Richter, Corey Lubowich, and Brian Rosenthal. They created Spies are Forever.
The Team StarKid regulars are:
- Lang Brothers
- Jaime Lyn Beatty
- Joe Walker
- Jeff Blim
- Brian Holden
- Eric Kahn Gale
- Lauren Lopez
- Corey Lubowich
- Joey Richter
- Corey Dorris
- Dylan Saunders
- Meredith Stepien
- Rachael Soglin
- Denise Donovan
- Julia Albain: Co-director of Firebringer. Played Crabbe in AVPM and its sequels, Specs in Starship, Vicki Vale in Holy Musical B@man!, and Emily the Stormtrooper in Ani. Has a youtube account , a website and a Twitter account.
- Chris Allen: A co-writer on Little White Lie, in which he also starred as Duder. Also played Alfred and Two-Face in Holy Musical B@man!, Moaning Myrtle, Mad-Eye Moody/Barty Crouch, Jr., and and Tom Riddle, Sr. in A Very Potter Senior Year, and Ani in Ani: A Parody. Cameoed as a Starship Ranger in the prologue video for Starship. Like Nick Lang, not much of a singer, but known for being the most gifted Starkid at imitating speaking voices and accents.
- Clark Baxtresser: Along with his best friend and bandmate Pierce Siebers, who with him forms the two-man act TalkFine, Baxtresser has more or less stepped into Darren Criss' vacant role as Starkid's musical mastermind. Played keyboard for Me and My Dick, A Very Potter Sequel and Starship. Stepped up for the SPACE Tour and Apocalyptour to create concert arrangements for the songs in Starkid's catalogue — in most cases having to transcribe the songs by hand because no sheet music from the original productions survived. Promoted to musical director and co-wrote the music and lyrics for A Very Potter Senior Year, and sings in Darren Criss' place as Harry Potter for the soundtrack. Co-wrote and performed lead vocals for all the music for Ani. Was musical director and band leader for Ani, The Trail to Oregon! and Firebringer, which also had his first onstage cameo As Himself. Meredith Stepien and Lauren Lopez both say he's objectively the most "supermegafoxyawesomehot" member of the team.
- Richard Campbell: Played Neville in the Harry Potter musicals and Rick in Me and My Dick
- Darren Criss: An actor/singer/songwriter, he's written some (and in the cases of AVPS and Starship, all) of the songs in every StarKid production up to Starship and was the band guitar player for Me and My Dick (Criss was originally slated to play Dick in the production). He played Toby in Little White Lie, but he's best known for playing Harry in the Harry Potter musicals. Of the StarKids, Criss has received the most mainstream attention due to his music, his recurring role on Eastwick and his well-publicised casting as Blaine (originally a recurring role, and then regular) in the second and third seasons of Glee. The first and only Starkid to win an Emmy, for his role as Andrew Cunanan in American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace. Has an official website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a MySpace page. His EP and his cover of "Teenage Dream" from Glee (the show's best-selling single) are both available for sale on iTunes. Due to his busy schedule as an in-demand actor, Criss has less involvement in StarKid productions than in their early days, but remains involved in major reunion events and frequently features the team in his concert events.
- Nick Gage: Joined Team Starkid when they relocated to Chicago. Wrote the music for Holy Musical B@man!, and sings in the demo version of several of the songs on the soundtrack. Played the Sultan and the Genie in Twisted: The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier.
- Arielle Goldman: Played Weenie in Me and My Dick and a number of smaller roles (e.g. Hedwig, Lily Potter, and Luna Lovegood) in AVPS. Cameoed as K-90X the Data Dog in the prologue video to Starship.
- Bonnie Gruesen: Played Hermione in AVPM and AVPS. She produced AVPS.
- A.J. Holmes: Actor, songwriter, and musician. He wrote a few of the songs for AVPM and was the band's piano player for the actual production (he's the band member that Voldemort threatens at the end). Wrote all the songs (bar three) for Me and My Dick, in which he also played the Heart, wrote some of the songs in A Very Potter Senior Year, where he also played Gilderoy Lockhart, and wrote the music for Twisted: The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier. In Starship, he cameoed the captain of the abandoned starship. Has a Twitter account. Also wrote music for and starred in Doppelgänger, starred as Frederick Frankenstein in the National Tour of Young Frankenstein, and also starred as Elder Cunningham in the second national tour of The Book of Mormon.
- Devin Lytle: Typecast as a Southern Belle. Played Cho Chang in the Harry Potter musicals and Miss Cooter in Me and My Dick. Cameoed as a Southern-Fried Private in the prologue video for Starship. Now better known as one of the hosts of Buzzfeed's Ladylike.
- Robert Manion: A fan of StarKid from Australia whose submissions of an original song and production designs for AVPSY caught their attention, leading to his casting in the ensemble for Twisted. After moving to the United States, Manion was cast as Professor Hidgens in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals.
- Lily Marks: Played a number of minor roles in the the Harry Potter musicals and Me and My Dick. Cameos as one of the Starship Rangers in the prologue video of Starship. Has a Twitter account.
- Joe Moses: Played Severus Snape in the Harry Potter musicals in addition to a cameo as Rick's dick in Me and My Dick, Krayonder in Starship, and ensemble roles in Ani. Played a Cloudcuckoolander version of Snape on his YouTube channel, Potion Masters Corner, where he interviews other members of Team StarKid and headlined "The Joe Moses Showses", a comedic variety show. Retired from acting to receive a law degree. Also has a website, a Facebook page and a Twitter account.
- Jim Povolo: Played Goyle, Firenze, Rumbleroar, and a few minor parts in the Harry Potter musicals, Jim in Little White Lie, the Overqueen and Sweetheart Mosquito in Starship, Mr. Freeze, Matches, and Hawkman in Holy Musical B@man!, and the Captain of the Guard in Twisted: The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier. Has a Facebook page and a Twitter account, and is the writer of Spaceman X, a Twitter-only serial story. A Starkid in-joke about his inherently funny name led to the creation of Starkid spinoff band "Jim and the Povolos", which despite its name does not include him in its regular lineup. A bit of an Ensemble Dark Horse.
- Brian Rosenthal Played Quirrell in AVPM, and Seamus Finnigan and James Potter in AVPS and AVPSY. Cameoed as a Starship Ranger in the prologue video for Starship. One of the founding members of Starkid spinoff sketch comedy troupe the Tin Can Brothers, along with Joey Richter and Corey Lubowich.
- Nicholas Joseph Strauss-Matathia: Played the Old Snatch in Me and My Dick, Sirius Black in AVPS and AVPSY (in which he also played Fenrir Greyback), and The Penguin, a Chief O'Hara, and Mr. Mxyptlk in Holy Musical B@man!. Cameoed as a Starship Ranger in the prologue video of Starship.
- Carlos Valdes: Co-wrote Me and My Dick and A Very Potter Musical, as well as playing music for the latter. Also wrote Gibson Fleck with other StarKids. More known presently as Cisco Ramon/Vibe in The Flash.
Tropes associated with the works of Team StarKid:
- All Musicals Are Adaptations: Played with in that their adaptations are unlicensed parodies. Averted with Me and My Dick, Starship, Firebringer, and The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, which are original.
- Breakup Breakout: Averted. There were fears that Team StarKid might fall apart without Darren Criss' involvement, but the group has gone on to be even stronger than before (and Criss does participate in projects with them when he has time to).
- Butt-Monkey: A lot
- Cerebus Syndrome: Starting with Firebringer, Nick Lang has said he wants to move the troupe away from pop culture parody musicals, which were a The New '10s fad (that Starkid helped pioneer) that's kind of played out now. Even though it still had Starkid's trademark irreverent poop jokes, Firebringer actually tried to have a serious social message. The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals followed up that as a Horror Comedy with surprisingly dark undertones, and reportedly the upcoming Black Friday goes even darker.
- Creator Thumbprint
- Apparently the writers like creating villains that are redeemed by love, along with having at least one villain who receives karmatic retribution in the end.
- They use Ho Yay a great deal. Holy Musical B@man! takes this Up to Eleven.
- They have a tendency to write Real After All reveals, like Pigfarts and Cornwallis.
- If organized religion appears or is referenced, expect it to be mercilessly ridiculed. In the future, God Is Dead; in the 1800s, God is a vicious, two-faced prick; in the distant past, religion is a lie used to manipulate simpleminded cave-people; in Hatchetfield, God answers the least convenient prayers (and the Christian denominations hate each other); and at Hogwarts, God is a wizard and Harry's favorite class is Satanic Rituals.
- Puppet Shows: At least half of their shows feature a puppet or two, and Starship is chock full of them.
- Cross-Cast Role: But for laughs, rather than any practical reason.
- Fan Nickname: DCriss (Darren Criss); Brosenthal (Brian Rosenthal); Lolo (Lauren Lopez); Meredif (Meredith Stepien); Brolden (Brian Holden)
- Dylan Saunders is actually Jewish, but he cranked it Up to Eleven for Dumbledore.
- It can be assumed from Lauren Lopez's last name that she has at least some Hispanic ancestry, but she exaggerates it as Taz.
- Iconic Item
- Joey Richter's headband, which he's worn as three of his characters.
- In several of their shows, every single character wears Chuck Taylor shoes.
- The plain door on stage left in all but the most dramatic of their shows.
- Lost Episode: Before A Very Potter Musical's surprise success, the group now known as "Team Starkid" did a couple of musicals based on The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the only surviving video footage of which exists is this clip showcasing Lauren Lopez as Frodo and Nick Lang puppeteering Gollum.
- One Steve Limit: Averted. There are three Joes, two Brians and two Nicks.
- Promoted Fanboy: Among the cast members for Twisted is the team's fan-turned-friend, Robert Manion
- Rewritten Pop Version: Of "Sami", "Not Alone", "Even Though", "Ready to Go", "Stutter", "1001 Nights".
- Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Characters in Starkid shows never gasp, they only ever exclaim the word "Gasp!"
- Shout-Out: To the point where they have their own page.
- Southern Belle: If Devin Lytle is involved.