A Very Potter Musical
|A Very Potter Musical|
A. J. Holmes
A. J. Holmes
by J. K. Rowling
|Productions||2009 University of Michigan|
|Awards||Entertainment Weekly's 10 Best Viral Videos of 2009|
A Very Potter Musical (originally titled Harry Potter: The Musical and often shortened to AVPM) is a musical with music and lyrics by Darren Criss and A. J. Holmes and a book by Matt Lang, Nick Lang and Brian Holden. The story is a parody, based on several of the Harry Potter novels by J. K. Rowling (particularly Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), as well as their film adaptations.
A Very Potter Musical tells the story of Harry Potter's return to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, his participation in the House Cup Championship, the trials and tribulations of adolescence, and the return of the dark wizard Lord Voldemort and the Golden Trio's attempts to destroy the Horcruxes.
The musical was performed on April 9–11, 2009 on the University of Michigan campus and is currently available to watch online on Youtube. It was produced by StarKid Productions and directed by Matt Lang. The musical starred Darren Criss as Harry Potter, Joey Richter as Ron Weasley, Bonnie Gruesen as Hermione Granger, Jaime Lyn Beatty as Ginny Weasley, Lauren Lopez as Draco Malfoy, Brian Rosenthal as Quirinus Quirrell and Joe Walker as Lord Voldemort. In late June 2009, the group put the entire musical up on YouTube and it became a viral video, obtaining millions of views.
The popularity of this musical allowed Team StarKid to create subsequent musicals, such as Me and My Dick (2009), A Very Potter Sequel (2010), Starship (2011), Holy Musical B@man! (2012), Twisted: The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier (2013), The Trail to Oregon! (2014), ANI: A Parody (2014), Firebringer (2016), The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals (2018), and Black Friday (2019). A third installment of the A Very Potter series, called A Very Potter Senior Year, premiered at LeakyCon on August 11, 2012. A fourth installment, titled A Very Potter Christmas (this time audio-only and not a musical) was released as a reward for backers of Team StarKid's Firebringer musical and was later released to the public during the A Very Potter Golden Birthday!!! stream.
Harry Potter, the legendary "Boy Who Lived", rejoices that he is entering his second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with his best friend Ron Weasley and frumpy nerd Hermione Granger ("Goin' Back to Hogwarts"). Headmaster of Hogwarts Albus Dumbledore welcomes everyone back, skips the Sorting Ceremony and introduces the House Cup Tournament, in which a champion will be chosen on behalf of each House (Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin) to fight for the House Cup.
The names are chosen out of a magical trophy by Potions Master, Severus Snape, with Harry being chosen for Gryffindor. The other champions are his crush Cho Chang (Ravenclaw), her current boyfriend Cedric Diggory (Hufflepuff) and Harry's obnoxious rival, Draco Malfoy (Slytherin). Hermione then voices her concern about the bloodstained history of the House Cup Tournament but no one can drop out due to the enchantment on the trophy from which the names were drawn. Draco attempts to intimidate Harry by claiming that he will transfer to a prestigious wizarding academy on Mars called Pigfarts and presided over by Headmaster Rumbleroar, a talking lion, but Hermione threatens him and forces him to back off.
Meanwhile, Defense Against The Dark Arts teacher Quirinus Quirrell is secretly conspiring to revive the evil wizard Lord Voldemort, who is parasitically attached to the back of his head after Voldemort's previous defeat by an infant Harry Potter. They bicker about this arrangement, which causes inconvenience to both of them due to their conflicting personalities ("Different As Can Be").
Harry convinces Hermione to do all of his school work for him while he writes a love song intended to win the heart of Cho Chang. He tests out the song on Ron's younger sister Ginny ("Ginny's Song"), while being oblivious to Ginny's own crush on him. Harry, Ron and Hermione use his Cloak of Invisibility to sneak off and investigate what the first round of the House Cup Tournament could entail, leaving Ginny alone to lament her unrequited love ("Harry").
Voldemort convinces Quirrell to go out and celebrate the progress of their evil plan instead of grading papers. Harry, Ron, and Hermione discover that the first round will involve dragons, while also eavesdropping on a conversation by Malfoy that hints at an unrealised crush on Hermione. Voldemort and Quirrell return from a night of drunken escapades, reminiscing on past events and how they have become good friends from their time spent (literally) together ("Different As Can Be (Reprise)").
Harry continues to neglect his preparation for the tournament, and is caught completely off-guard when he is forced to face a deadly Hungarian Horntail in battle, initially having been lulled into a false sense of security as his competitors are allotted dragons such as 'Puff the Magic Dragon'. With no other choice, Harry summons his guitar and serenades the dragon into submission, allowing him to move on to the next round of the competition ("The Dragon Song").
The annual Yule Ball is announced, and Ginny attempts to ask Harry to be her partner. Unfortunately, Harry is dead set on asking Cho and unknowingly rejects Ginny, causing her to run off in tears. Harry plays his song for Cho ("Ginny's Song Reprise (Cho's Song)") but is rejected because Cho has already agreed to go with Cedric, leaving him and Ron as the only two male students without partners. Quirrell relieves Voldemort of his worries surrounding their master plan as the two weigh the pros and cons of their upcoming physical separation. Voldemort realises he has become close with Quirrell, and that he wishes to remain his friend.
At the Yule Ball, the normally-unattractive Hermione suddenly shows up with a gorgeous makeover, causing Ron and Malfoy to suddenly realise their feelings for her ("Granger Danger"). Harry develops an attraction to Ginny and asks her to dance, leaving Ron to get "drunk" on Butterbeer and fight over Hermione with Malfoy, causing her to lash out at both of them. Harry pulls back from a kiss with Ginny, stating that they cannot be together because of his friendship with Ron. Ginny leaves in tears and a flustered Harry attempts to regain his dignity by cutting in with Cho, causing him to get into a fight with Cedric. As the guys argue over who will get a thirsty Cho a glass of punch, they both grab the enchanted ladle that Quirrell had planted earlier, teleporting them to a mysterious graveyard.
Quirrell appears, killing Cedric with the Killing Curse and using the full Body-Bind curse on Harry. Snape then appears; while Quirrell and Voldemort submerge themselves in a large cauldron, Snape uses his own hand and Harry's blood to complete a ritual that successfully revives Voldemort, who joyfully celebrates with his Death Eaters ("To Dance Again!"). Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange arrives to welcome back her master and former lover, and reveals their plan was to use Quirrell as a scapegoat for the murder of Harry. Heartbroken at the betrayal of their friendship, Quirrell falls out with Voldemort and is taken to Azkaban. Before Voldemort can kill Harry, Harry manages to use the ladle to escape back to Hogwarts, where he exclaims in horror that Voldemort has returned.
The Ministry of Magic doesn't believe that Voldemort's back, despite proof such as Voldemort's new vlog and his review of 17 Again, with the star Zac Efron. Meanwhile, Harry, consumed by the stress this situation is causing him, pushes his friends away by acting egocentric. Malfoy tries to make fun of Harry, but he's once more humiliated in front of the student body and he promises revenge. Ginny tries to make sense of her relationship with Harry, but he explains to her that as long as Voldemort is around, they can't be together because he wants to protect her. When Ginny runs away in tears, Dumbledore in disguise calls Harry to his office to discuss about Voldemort.
Snape reveals himself as a Death Eater under cover and meets up with Voldemort, who's in a deep depression after his fight with Quirrell. Snape introduces Draco Malfoy to the Dark Lord, who informs him about a secret passage leading to Hogwarts in exchange for a rocket to Mars (“Pigfarts, Pigfarts, Here I Come”). Voldemort makes Draco sign a magical contract to make him kill Dumbledore. Harry, Ron and Hermione get to Dumbledore's office for the meeting. There, Dumbledore explains that Voldemort possesses some Horcruxes that make him immortal as long as they exist, he reveals that he has already destroyed five of the six Horcruxes and tells Harry to find the last one, hidden right there in Hogwarts. At that moment, the Death Eaters break into Dumbledore's office and arrest him. Malfoy is ready to follow through his part of the deal, but after a speech from Dumbledore he finds himself unable to give him the final blow. Snape takes the initiative and kills Dumbledore, traumatising Harry who declares he has to kill Voldemort on his own.
Voldemort successfully takes over the Ministry of Magic, but he's still sad about the loss of Quirrell. Voldemort, Quirrell and Harry lament all the people they lost (“Missing You”). After that, a Death Eater informs Voldemort that Hogwarts has fallen, and Voldemort gets ready to leave for Hogwarts.
Ginny finds Harry and tries to convince him that he has the power to save everyone, but Harry is pessimistic and he complains about all the unrealistic expectations and the pressure on him for being the “Boy Who Lived”. Ginny reassures him that he's not alone in his fight against evil (“Not Alone”) and he makes up with Ron and Hermione. With Malfoy's help, who regretted his choices, Harry and Ron go to Dumbledore's office to destroy the last Horcrux, while Ginny and Hermione try to contact the Order of the Phoenix. Before they separate, Ron apologises to Hermione for his behaviour at the Yule Ball and the two share a passionate kiss.
Harry, Ron and Malfoy find out that the last Horcrux is Zac Efron's poster that Dumbledore kept in his office. The Horcrux tries to turn Ron against Harry by taking the form of Voldemort and Hermione and relying on his insecurities. Ron fights against it and destroys the Horcrux, rekindling his friendship with Harry.
A group of Death Eaters led by Bellatrix arrives in the office, after having captured Ginny and Hermione. Snape is revealed to be Dumbledore's agent and tries to save the students, but Bellatrix kills him. At that moment Ginny and Ron's mother, Molly Weasley (Lily Marks) intervenes and kills Bellatrix. With his last breath, Snape reveals that Harry became a seventh Horcrux the night his parents died.
Voldemort has arrived at Hogwarts and demands that the student body delivers Harry to him in exchange for their lives. Harry realises that he has to die to save everyone else and he turns himself in to Voldemort, who kills him. In a realm between life and death, Harry meets Dumbledore, who explains to him that by killing Harry Voldemort involuntarily destroyed his seventh Horcrux. Dumbledore makes Harry return to the world of the living before leaving for Pigfarts riding Rumbleroar, the lion who acts as Headmaster at the Mars school.
Ron and Hermione gather the other Hogwarts students and convince them to fight because that's what Harry would have done (“Voldemort is Goin’ Down”). When Harry shows himself still alive, everybody cheers, but Voldemort bursts into the room, shocked that Harry isn't dead. Harry explains that his sacrifice made the Hogwarts’ students immune to Voldemort's magic, and that Voldemort's disregard about other people is eventually going to be his demise. Voldemort tries the Avada Kedavra curse, but Harry counterattacks the spell and kills him.
The student body celebrates Voldemort's death, and Neville Longbottom (Richard Campbell) finds Dumbledore's will in which the Headmaster awards Gryffindor with the House Cup and nominates Harry as the new Headmaster. Harry kisses Ginny after Ron gives them his blessing, and all the students throw a party.
At Azkaban, Quirrell hears about Voldemort's death and he's devastated. However, the last residue of Voldemort's soul comes to make amends with Quirrell, and the two gloriously reunite (“Not Alone (Reprise)/Goin’ Back to Hogwarts (Reprise)”).
Cast and characters
|Character||University of Michigan|
|Harry Potter||Darren Criss|
|Ron Weasley||Joey Richter|
|Hermione Granger||Bonnie Gruesen|
|Ginny Weasley||Jaime Lyn Beatty|
|Draco Malfoy||Lauren Lopez|
|Lord Voldemort||Joe Walker|
|Albus Dumbledore||Dylan Saunders|
|Quirinus Quirrell||Brian Rosenthal|
|Severus Snape||Joe Moses|
|Bellatrix Lestrange||Britney Coleman|
|Cedric Diggory / Cornelius Fudge||Tyler Brunsman|
|Cho Chang||Devin Lytle|
|Neville Longbottom||Richard Campbell|
|Vincent Crabbe||Julia Albain|
|Pansy Parkinson / Molly Weasley||Lily Marks|
A. J. Holmes, the piano player for the show, is involved in the actual musical twice, first leaving his duties as the piano player to give Ron some Twizzlers (not Red Vines, which would not appear until the next musical), and second being threatened by Voldemort when he starts playing sad music to accompany Voldemort thinking about Quirrell.
- A rendition of "Granger Danger" performed by Darren Criss is played during the credits of the YouTube version of the production.
While reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Nick Lang and a few others attending the University of Michigan discussed the possibility of Draco Malfoy having a crush on Hermione Granger because of him constantly bullying her, and created the concept of a song "Granger Danger", which led to the idea of making a Harry Potter musical. When the script was being written, they asked Darren Criss if they could use his songs "Sami", which was originally written for the web series Little White Lie, and "Not Alone", which they ended up using as a model for the show.
Harry Potter: The Musical was performed April 9–11, 2009, on the University of Michigan campus. Soon after, the group posted the entire musical on YouTube. However, it was later taken down and edited to make it less inappropriate for the younger audiences, but was posted again, slightly edited and under the new name A Very Potter Musical in late June 2009. As of March 2018, the production in its entirety has around 100 million views.
Due to the nature of the musical, Team Starkid is allowed by Warner Brothers to host the musical on their channel and owns the rights to the songs and script, but as they do not own the rights to the Harry Potter characters they cannot make money off of the production, nor can they give the rights for the show to any other production company: the University of Michigan version is the only "official" production. This has not stopped unauthorized productions from being performed elsewhere, also done non-profit. 
A cast recording of the production was released in 2009 through the StarKid Productions website. All of the songs featured on stage are present on the recording. The group also released the album through Bandcamp on July 29, 2010.
Two other musicals entitled A Very Potter Sequel and A Very Potter Senior Year were released by Starkid in 2010 and 2012 respectively.
- Lyons, Margaret. "The 10 Best Viral Videos of 2009" Entertainment Weekly, December 29, 2009. Retrieved on July 14, 2011.
- Davenport, Misha (February 2011). "Darren Criss from 'Glee,' Starkid launch Chicago home with 'Starship'". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
- Milam, Whitney (July 24, 2010). Team StarKid tops Glee and Gaga on iTunes, talks new projects. HollywoodNews. Archived from the original on July 12, 2011. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
- Team StarKid's Home Page for "A Very Potter Musical" Archived July 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- Guerra, Jennifer (July 15, 2009). "A Very Potter Musical!". Michigan Radio. Retrieved July 16, 2011.
- McKee, Jenn (October 25, 2010). "Darren Criss, U-M grad and 'Very Potter Musical' star, will be a new face on "Glee"". AnnArbor.com. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
- Austrone, Xavier. "StarKid Interview: Starship Coverage & A VERY POTTER THREEQUEL!?" Archived August 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Wizardinglife.com, November 22, 2010. Retrieved on July 16, 2011.
- Smith, Grady (July 30, 2010). "'A Very Potter Musical' star Darren Criss talks about his new EP and the future for Team StarKid". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 16, 2011.
- Caulfield, Keith. "'My Dick' Rises to Become First Charting Student Musical" Billboard.com, March 18, 2010. Retrieved on July 16, 2011.
- "Glee Star Darren Criss Confirmed to Succeed Daniel Radcliffe on Broadway". Broadway.com. August 1, 2011. Retrieved August 1, 2011.
- "Only at LeakyCon: "A Very Potter Senior Year"". Archived from the original on July 19, 2012.
- "Unauthorized Starkid Production Brings Wrath - GeekyNews". Archived from the original on November 17, 2017. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
- "A Very Potter Musical – StarKid". Bandcamp. July 29, 2010. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved July 26, 2011.