A Very Potter Musical Series

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Plays and Skits
Title: A Very Potter Musical, A Very Potter Sequel, A Very Potter Senior Year
Author: StarKid Productions
Dates: April & June 2009, May & July 2010, August 2012 & March 2013
Location:
Type: musical theater
Focus: Harry Potter
Troupe: StarKid Productions
URL: A Very Potter Musical; A Very Potter Musical Soundtrack;

A Very Potter Sequel; A Very Potter Sequel Soundtrack; A Very Potter Sequel Soundtrack Pt. 2

A Very Potter Senior Year
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The Very Potter Musical Series is a series of three Harry Potter parody musicals by StarKid Productions.

A Very Potter Musical

A Very Potter Musical (shortened AVPM) was written by Matt Lang, Nick Lang, and Brian Holden; music and lyrics by Darren Criss and A.J. Holmes.[1] It was performed in April 2009 at the University of Michigan and posted to YouTube in June 2009.[2] It was originally titled Harry Potter: The Musical, but after it went viral, StarKid was took it down, "edited most of the swear words out", and re-published it as A Very Potter Musical.[3]

It runs approximately 135 minutes in 23 videos on YouTube and features 13 original songs. The plot of the show is mainly taken from the book and movie versions of The Philosopher's Stone, The Goblet of Fire, and The Deathly Hallows.

See the official Wikipedia page for a full synopsis and credits.[1]

Development

Nick Lang and other students at University of Michigan originally came up with the idea for the song "Granger Danger" while reading The Goblet of Fire and wondering if Draco Malfoy picked on Hermione Granger because he had a crush on her.[3] However, the Dramione in the musical ultimately remains unrequited.

Lang and friends later developed the script and filled out the songs with the help of fellow student Darren Criss.

Going Viral

A Very Potter Musical logo as it appears in the YouTube video

The cast recorded and published the show at first only for their own enjoyment, but it got attention pretty quickly after it was posted:

"We recorded the play for our own pleasure and just to have it because we thought it was funny. We edited it and put it online and to be honest, I didn’t want any real fans to see it because I thought they’d freak out and get mad. So we just put it online for the cast and our friends to watch. It blew up right after it happened, though. We did the play in April and we put it online at the end of June in 2009. No one really knew about it, other than a few people who saw it there in person. But then we had a crazy two weeks. The first video had like, 200,000 hits in the first four days."[4]

Entertainment Weekly called it one of the 10 Best Viral Videos of 2009.[5] As of August 2015, Act 1 Part 1 has 11 million views.

A Very Potter Sequel

A Very Potter Sequel (shortened AVPS) was written by Matt Lang, Nick Lang, & Brian Holden; music and lyrics by Darren Criss. It was performed at the University of Michigan on May 14–16, 2010. The video was premiered at Infinitus 2010, and it was released to YouTube on July 22, 2010, gaining 160,000 views in the first two days.

It runs approximately 215 minutes in 30 YouTube videos and features 13 original songs. The plot is mainly taken from the book and movie versions of The Philosopher’s Stone, The Prisoner of Azkaban, and The Order of the Phoenix.

See the official Wikipedia page for full synopsis and credits. [2]

A Very Potter Senior Year

A Very Potter 3D: A Very Potter Senior Year (shortened AVPSY) was written by Nick Lang, Matt Lang, and Brian Holden, music and lyrics by Clark Baxtresser, Pierce Siebers, and AJ Holmes; additional songs by Darren Criss.[6] It was performed as a staged reading at LeakyCon 2012 in Chicago on August 11, 2012, and the final video was published to YouTube on March 15, 2013. The script and soundtrack were made available online in December 2012.[7]

The show runs approximately 207 minutes in 27 YouTube videos, and features 10 original songs (plus 4 reprises from the first two musicals). The plot is mainly taken from the book and movie versions of The Chamber of Secrets, The Half-Blood Prince, and The Deathly Hallows.

See official Wikipedia page for full synopsis and credits.[3]

Development

Despite being in talks since 2010, AVPSY encountered a number of scheduling conflicts, especially with Darren Criss (Harry Potter), who had joined Glee in 2010. It was eventually decided that the show would be produced as a staged reading and performed as part of LeakyCon 2012.[8] The reading featured nearly every past and present StarKid member, as well as guest star Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood. The cast had varied amounts of rehearsal time: some who lived in Chicago were able to be well-rehearsed and off-book, but Darren Criss flew in from filming Glee on the same day as the performance. The performance was the first (and last) time the entire show had been done in full.

AVPSY has been called a "timely allusion to the Potter fandom’s thoughts and emotions"[9] – the books and movies having come to an end, the end of the Very Potter Musicals was bittersweet at best. The plot focuses on Harry's struggle with not being the most popular person in school anymore, having been replaced by the stories of other young adult novels.

Natalie Fisher at Hypable wrote in her review of the show:

…the Lang brothers mentioned that a lot of the show is meant to be autobiographical and representative and a lot of what was being said in this song was incredibly heart-wrenching when applied to Darren’s position with StarKid, StarKid’s position with Harry Potter, and the Harry Potter fandom’s position in the world in general. …

At the end, yes, Harry finds his place in the world, finds peace with himself, and saves the day while using a reprise of an old favorite song – but it wasn’t really the happiest ending. The characters end up graduating and leaving Hogwarts, and when Harry hugs all the other students goodbye and then goes off separately to speak alone on the stage to ‘Hogwarts’ – to the audience. Our clearest memory of the show, we think, will be when Darren broke character a tiny bit, for a moment alone on that stage, saying thank you and goodbye, and that it had been “totally awesome.” Just those two words, he looked the audience in the eye and used his natural voice. That was for us and I don’t think that anyone there will ever forget it, because Darren will always be in StarKid, but things are changing from here on out and he will never be our Harry again. A chapter is very much closed, for him, for Team StarKid, and even for the StarKid and Harry Potter fandom at large, because we’ve dealt with the last book and the last movie, but we still had this, until now. By the end of the show, either in their last scenes or curtain call, nearly the whole cast was crying, as was most of the audience.[10]

Fandom

A Very Potter Musical remains StarKid's most popular and well-known musical by far. While the Very Potter Musicals are fanworks, they have developed a fandom of their own, represented primarily on Tumblr and Twitter, in gifs, screencaps, fanart, and repeated jokes, quotes, and slogans like Totally awesome!, supermegafoxyawesomehot, What the hell is a Hufflepuff?, and Draco's fixation on the magical school Pigfarts.

Blogger kateorgera writes of AVPM,

Though the Potter musicals, as parodies rather than earnest adaptations, took a lot more liberties with the plot and character personalities, both musical adaptations are love letters to the fans, combining humorous commentary on canon, alternative character interpretations, and surprisingly emotional moments – “All set to music you can really tap your toe to" … There is a sense of adventure … that is perhaps more reflective of the fans’ affections towards the show than the characters’ towards their lot in life (though the canon Harry Potter would, I’m sure, embrace “Back to Hogwarts” as an anthem himself).[11]

There are 35 fanworks in the A Very Potter Musical tag on the AO3, approximately half of which are tagged Quirrell/Voldemort. The musical includes the canon ships Harry/Ginny and Ron/Hermione.

StarKid members remain active in the Harry Potter fandom, regularly attending and performing songs from all of their shows at fan events and cons.[12]

References

  1. teamstarkid.bandcamp.com, A Very Potter Musical
  2. ew.com, 'A Very Potter Musical' star Darren Criss talks about his new EP and the future for Team StarKid, 30 July 2010. WebCite
  3. 3.0 3.1 archived version of publicbroadcasting.net/michigan, A Very Potter Musical!, 15 July 2009.
  4. Archived version of wizardinglife.com, Starkid Interview: Starship Coverage & A VERY POTTER THREEQUEL!?, interview on 22 November 2010
  5. ew.com, The 10 best viral videos of 2009, 29 December 2009
  6. "AVPSY SCRIPT". 
  7. TeamStarkid, Here's a link to the #AVPSY script in case you wanna read it!, Tweet on 18 December 2012
  8. mugglenet.com, Special Announcement from LeakyCon 2012: “A Very Potter Senior Year’ by Team Starkid”, 16 July 2012
  9. abby. "Theater Notes: ( A Very Potter Senior Year )". 
  10. hypable, Team StarKid premieres ‘A Very Potter Senior Year’ – what we can tell you!, August 13, 2012
  11. kateorgera, The Art of the Fan Musical: Supernatural and Starkid, November 2014 Wordpress post
  12. teamstarkid.com, Events. Not regularly updated - their Tumblr provides more accurate information.