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Starkid Productions, also known as Team Starkid, is an American musical theatre company founded in 2009 at the University of Michigan by Darren Criss, Brian Holden, Nick Lang and Matt Lang. They first gained traction after the success of their first musical, A Very Potter Musical, which led to the groups founding and continuation to the present day. The troupe primarily creates musical comedies, originally creating parody musicals but more recently creating original musicals. They distribute their musicals for free on YouTube, with recent projects being funded by Kickstarter.

Since their founding, the group has produced eleven stage musicals, two national tours, two reunion concert specials, three sketch comedy shows, and three web series. They have also charted 12 albums on the Billboard charts, including the Me and My Dick soundtrack which was the first student-produced musical to chart on Billboard after debuting at number 11. The soundtracks for both Starship and Black Friday have also debuted at number 1.

History[]

StarKid is made up of actors, writers, directors, composers, choreographers and designers, the majority of whom originated from the University of Michigan's School of Music, Theater and Dance. They met while collaborating on plays through Basement Arts, the university's student-run theater organisation. One such example of these plays is The Hobbit 2: The Lord of the Rings, a theater production version of J. R. R. Tolkien's book series. This play was not a parody as at the time Basement Arts did not allow them. It wasn't until Matt Lang began advertising A Very Potter Musical, prior to getting permission from the theater department, that the cast and crew of what would one day become Starkid got the greenlight after the theater gained mass interest in the production.

From April 9-11 2009, the students staged their production of A Very Potter Musical, a musical parody of Harry Potter. The show was filmed and instead of having to put it on DVDs, the production was uploaded to YouTube under the name Harry Potter The Musical. The production then went viral, gaining Starkid a worldwide fanbase. However, at risk of copyright the show's recording had to be taken down but was later re-uploaded in an edited form as A Very Potter Musical on 5 July 2009. In light of the productions popularity Starkid Productions or Team Starkid was formed, named after the YouTube channels original name 'Starkid Potter' a reference to a line said by Lauren Lopez as Draco Malfoy in A Very Potter Musical. The Team Starkid YouTube channel was established on June 19, 2009. It has over 700,000 subscribers and over 300 million combined views

Starkid has had two major moves since its founding in 2009. After performing their first three shows: A Very Potter Musical, Me and My Dick and A Very Potter Sequel at the University of Michigan, the troupe moved to Chicago where they performed seven shows including Twisted, Starship and The Trail to Oregon. They then later moved to Los Angeles where they kickstarted the Hatchetfield series, performing both The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals in 2018 and Black Friday in 2019.

Starkid has most recently gained attention for the Hatchetfield Series. The series began in 2018 with The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals followed by Black Friday in 2019. A third musical in the series was announced to be in production in 2019, intended to be premiered in 2020 however due to the COVID-19 pandemic it was postponed to a to be announced later date. The pandemic led to the creation of a series of live readings named Nightmare Time featuring the casts of both of the original shows. There is also an upcoming short film set in the Hatchetfield Universe, Workin' Boys, created as a reward for the Starkid 10niversary Kickstarter.

Musical Theatre Productions[]

A Very Potter Musical[]

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Performed at the University of Michigan, between April 9-11 2009, A Very Potter Musical was the debut musical of Team Starkid. Written by Brian Holden and Nick and Matt Lang with music and lyrics by Darren Criss and A.J. Holmes, A Very Potter Musical is a musical parody of the Harry Potter series. It starred Darren Criss in the title role alongside Bonnie Gruesen as Hermione Granger, Joey Richter as Ron Weasley, Jaime Lyn Beatty as Ginny Weasley, Joe Walker as Voldemort and Lauren Lopez as Draco Malfoy.

Me and My Dick[]

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Performed at the University of Michigan, between April 29-31 2009, Me and My Dick was the second and first original musical by Team Starkid. Written by Eric Kahn Gale and Nick and Matt Lang with music and lyrics by Darren Criss, A.J. Holmes and Carlos Valdes, Me and My Dick is a coming of age tale set in a world where people's genitals can talk. It starred Joey Richter as the character version of himself as well as Joe Walker as his Dick.

A Very Potter Sequel[]

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Performed at the University of Michigan, between May 14-16, 2010, A Very Potter Sequel was the sequel to A Very Potter Musical. Written by Brian Holden and Nick and Matt Lang with music and lyrics by Darren Criss , A Very Potter Sequel is a musical parody of the Harry Potter series. It followed on from the original musical using time travel to travel back in time to Harry's first year at Hogwarts. It once again starred Darren Criss in the title role alongside Bonnie Gruesen as Hermione Granger, Joey Richter as Ron Weasley, Jaime Lyn Beatty as Ginny Weasley, Joe Walker as Dolores Umbridge and Lauren Lopez as Draco Malfoy.

Starship[]

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Performed at the Hoover-Leppen Theatre, Chicago, between February 11-23 2011, Starship is the second original musical by Team Starkid. Written by Brian Holden, Joe Walker and Nick and Matt Lang with music and lyrics by Darren Criss , Starship is a musical loosely based on the Little Mermaid. It tells the story of Bug, a giant insect who lives on the alien planet Bug-World but dreams of becoming a human Starship Ranger. It once again starred Joey Richter as Bug with Denise Donovan as his love interest February and Joe Walker, Lauren Lopez, Dylan Saunders as Starship Rangers.

Holy Musical B@man![]

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Performed at the Hoover-Leppen Theatre, Chicago, between March 22-25 2012, Holy Musical B@man! was the fifth musical by Team Starkid. Written by Nick and Matt Lang with music and lyrics by Nick Gage and Scott Lamps, Holy Musical B@man! is a musical parody based on the DC Universe's Batman comic. It starred Joe Walker in the title role alongside Brian Holden as Superman, Chris Allen as Alfred and Jeff Blim as the villain Sweet Tooth.

A Very Potter Senior Year[]

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Performed as a special event at LeakyCon on August 11 2012, A Very Potter Sequel is the third and final installment in the A Very Potter Musical Trilogy. Instead of performing a full musical, the production took the form of a staged live reading. It was written by Brian Holden and Nick and Matt Lang and featured music and lyrics by A.J. Holmes, Clark Baxtresser and Pierce Siebers with additional music by Darren Criss. It starred Darren Criss in the title role alongside Joey Richter as Ron Weasley, Jaime Lyn Beatty as Ginny Weasley, Joe Walker as Lord Voldemort/Tom Riddle and Lauren Lopez as Draco Malfoy. Meredith Stepien replaced Bonnie Gruesen as Hermione Granger.

Twisted: The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier[]

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Performed at the Greenhouse Theatre, Chicago, between July 4-28 2013, Twisted: The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier was the seventh musical by Team Starkid. Written by Eric Kahn Gale and Nick and Matt Lang with music and lyrics by A.J. Holmes and Kaley McMahon, Twisted is a musical parody based on Disney's Aladdin with references to many other major Disney productions. It starred Dylan Saunders as Ja'far alongside Rachael Soglin as the Princess and Jeff Blim as Aladdin.

The Trail to Oregon![]

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Performed at Stage 773, Chicago, between July 3 and August 28 2014, The Trail to Oregon! was one of two musicals performed as part of Starkid's 2014 summer season. Written by Jeff Blim and Nick and Matt Lang with music and lyrics by Jeff Blim and Drew De Four, The Trail to Oregon is an original musical loosely inspired by the game The Oregon Trail. It had major audience participation allowing the audience to choose the shows ending and the character names. It starred Jeff Blim as the Father, Rachael Soglin as the Mother, Lauren Lopez as Son, Jaime Lyn Beatty as Daughter, Corey Dorris as Grandpa and Joey Richter as various other characters.

Ani: A Parody[]

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Also performed at Stage 773, Chicago, between July 3 and August 28 2014, Ani: A Parody was one of two musicals performed as part of Starkid's 2014 summer season. Written byNick and Matt Lang with music and lyrics by Clark Baxtresser and Pierce Siebers, Ani is a musical parody based on the Star Wars series. It starred Chris Allen as the title character, Denise Donovan as Mara Jade and Nick Lang as Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Firebringer[]

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Performed at Stage 773, Chicago, between July 6 and August 7 2016, Firebringer is the tenth musical by Team Starkid. Written by Brian Holden, Meredith Stepien and Nick and Matt Lang with music and lyrics by Meredith Stepien and Mark Swiderski. It starred Lauren Lopez as Zazzalil and Meredith Stepien as Jemilla and takes place in the prehistoric era and explores the invention of fire.

The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals[]

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Performed at the Matrix Theatre, Los Angeles, between October 11 and November 4 2018, The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals is the first instalment in the Hatchetfield series. Written by Nick and Matt Lang with music and lyrics by Jeff Blim, The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals is an original musical loosely inspired by the film Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It was Starkid's first horror-comedy musical and quickly gained major popularity online. It starred Jon Matteson as Paul Matthews and Lauren Lopez as Emma Perkins as well as Joey Richter, Jaime Lyn Beatty, Corey Dorris, Joey Richter, Jeff Blim, Robert Manion and Mariah Rose Faith as other various characters.

Black Friday[]

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Performed at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre, Los Angeles, between October 31 and December 8 2018, Black Friday is the second instalment in the Hatchetfield series. Written by Nick and Matt Lang with music and lyrics by Jeff Blim, is a horror-comedy musical once again set in the small town of Hatchetfield when the town becomes obsessed with the brand new toy the Tickle-Me Wiggly. It starred Kendall Nicole as Hannah Foster, Angela Giarratana as Lex Foster, Dylan Saunders as Tom Houston, Kim Whalen as Becky Barnes and Lauren Lopez as Linda Monroe. The cast of The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals except for Mariah Rose Faith returned.

Nerdy Prudes Must Die[]

Nerdy Prudes Must Die is the upcoming third musical in the Hatchetfield series. It was initially supposed to be performed in 2020 but was postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A new date is yet to be announced.

Concerts and Tours[]

Since its conception in 2009, Starkid has produced two national tours and two reunion concerts:

Sketch Comedy Productions[]

Starkid has created three original sketch comedy shows:

  • Airport for Birds- Performed between January–March 2013 in Chicago, IL. Starkid Productions teamed up with The Second City to produce their first sketch comedy show. The show was produced at the UP Comedy Club.
  • 1Night 2Last 3Ever- Performed between September–November 2013 in Chicago, IL. Starkid Productions second sketch comedy show with The Second City. The show was produced at the UP Comedy Club. The show was a parody of various pieces of 1990s pop culture centering on the exploits of a fictional boy band, 3Ever.
  • Yes, I am Afraid of the Dark!- Performed between September–October 2015 in Chicago, IL. Yes, I am Afraid of the Dark! is Starkid's first improv comedy show with iO Chicago and was produced at the iO Theater. The show was a parody of the 1990s childrens show Are You Afraid of the Dark? with the cast creating an entire episode based on audience suggestions.

Web Series[]

Little White Lie[]

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In 2007, members including Matt Lang, Nick Lang, Eric Kahn Gale, Brian Holden, Darren Criss, Lauren Lopez, Elona Finlay, Chris Allen, Meredith Stepien, and Jim Povolo produced an online video series called Little White Lie. It was released in 2009 on StarKid's YouTube channel. Despite the series ending in a cliffhanger, StarKid members have confirmed at various events that there will be no season 2, as it was an expensive production and the actors who took part in it are scattered all over the country. However, Eric Kahn Gale, one of the writers for the show, stated that he would write and publish a synopsis of season 2, which was released on September 3, 2013, on his Tumblr page.

Movies, Musicals, and Me[]

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In October 2017, StarKid debuted its second web series on YouTube, Movies, Musicals, and Me. The series takes place in an alternate world where every popular movie ever has been adapted into a Broadway musical. The best of these musicals all star the same man, Halpert Evans, a vain and pompous, though brilliant, actor. The series is structured as a mockumentary of Evans, chronicling the most significant musical roles of his career, along with commentary from various colleagues in Halpert's line of work. The series introduces StarKid newcomers Esther Fallick as Halpert Evans and Mary Kate Wiles as Judy Davendale. Joey Richter, Nick Lang, Brian Holden, Dylan Saunders, Lauren Lopez, Jaime Lyn Beatty, Corey Dorris, and Clark Baxtresser also star.

Nightmare Time[]

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Spawned as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nightmare Time is a three-episode horror anthology series made as part of the Hatchetfield series. It features six stories read by the cast of The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicas and Black Friday. Performances took place virtually on October 10, 17 and 24, 2020. The first episode was streamed and posted directly to YouTube with the final two episodes being available via digital ticket. The final two episodes were then uploaded to YouTube on February 14, 2021.

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