StarKid Productions, also known as Team StarKid, is a Chicago-based musical theatre company founded in 2009 at the University of Michigan by Darren Criss, Brian Holden, Matt Lang, and Nick Lang. Best known for the musical A Very Potter Musical, a parody of the Harry Potter series, the troupe produces musical-comedies inspired by pop culture, with original scripts, songs, and music. StarKid uses social media for theatrical distribution, to make their productions accessible to a worldwide audience.
StarKid's repertoire additionally consists of albums, concerts, web series, sketch comedies, and books. The company's album Me and My Dick, featuring original songs and music, became the first charting student-produced musical recording on Billboard, debuting at #11 on the "Top Cast Albums" chart in 2010; the following year they landed at #1 on the same chart with Starship, another original album.
StarKid Productions is composed of actors, writers, directors, composers, choreographers, and designers, most of them originating from the University of Michigan's School of Music, Theater and Dance. The members met while collaborating on original and classic plays through Basement Arts, the university's student-run theater organization.
Me and My Dick, October 2009. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. The cast album of the production is the first student-produced college musical's cast recording to debut on a Billboard chart. The album debuted at #11 on Billboard's Top Cast Albums Chart.
A Very Potter Senior Year, LeakyCon, Chicago, IL. StarKid presented a staged reading of the play on August 11, 2012. It featured nearly all of the StarKid actors and actresses. The script and soundtrack became available December 2012 and the play was released on YouTube on March 15, 2013.
Twisted, July 2013, Chicago, IL. The musical is a Wicked style parody of the 1992 Disney film Aladdin, telling the story from the point of view of Jafar, the Royal Vizier. It premiered on StarKid's YouTube channel November 28, 2013.
Starship: Requiem, August 2, 2014, LeakyCon, Orlando, FL. It was announced on March 31, 2014 through the LeakyCon Twitter feed that Starkid Productions would hold a theatrical reading of their sequel to Starship, Starship: Requiem. The story followed the adventures of Mega-Girl the robot and her half-witted Starship Ranger husband, Tootsie Noodles. The newlyweds are sucked into a black hole of trouble when they go to visit Mega-Girl's human-hating family, including her overbearing mother-unit, her jealous sister-unit and the return of her hunky ex-boyfriend-unit. The reading was a one-time only event.
The Trail to Oregon!, July 3–August 10, 2014, Chicago, IL. This musical was announced on April 9, 2014 as a part of StarKid's 2014 Summer Season. The show will feature a book by Jeff Blim, Matt Lang & Nick Lang and music & lyrics by Jeff Blim. The basic premise of the show is a parody of the popular computer game The Oregon Trail. It premiered on StarKid's YouTube channel February 13, 2015. An encore production ran in New York City at the Cherry Lane Theatreoff-Broadway from May 26–31, 2015.
Ani: A Parody, July 3–August 10, 2014, Chicago, IL. This musical was announced on April 9, 2014 as a part of StarKid's 2014 Summer Season. The show features a book by Matt Lang & Nick Lang and music & lyrics by the musical duo TalkFine, consisting of Clark Baxtresser and Pierce Siebers. The basic premise of the show is a parody of the popular science-fiction franchise Star Wars. It premiered on StarKid's YouTube channel October 31, 2014. The cast recording reached #4 on Billboard's Comedy Albums the week of November 22, 2014.
As The Trail to Oregon and Ani were performed as part of the same season, several actors who appeared in one show worked as crew members on the other.
Firebringer, July 6-August 7, 2016, Chicago, IL. Announced on the StarKid YouTube page on January 1, 2016,Firebringer is StarKid's first female-led show, with a book by Nick Lang, Matt Lang, and Brian Holden and music and lyrics by Meredith Stepien and Mark Swiderski. The music was interpreted by musical duo, TalkFine. Like Twisted, it was funded via Kickstarter. It premiered on StarKid's YouTube channel December 31, 2016. It's being touted as the company's tenth full-length musical production, as Starship: Requiem was a one-time staged reading.
Airport for Birds, January–March 2013, 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 and ran from January through March.
1Night 2Last 3Ever, September–November 2013, Chicago, IL. StarKid Productions second sketch comedy show with The Second City. The show was produced at the UP Comedy Club and ran from September through November. 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!, September–October 2015, Chicago, IL. StarKid Productions first improv comedy show with iO Chicago. The show was produced at the iO Theater and ran from September through October. The show was a parody of the 1990s children show Are You Afraid of the Dark? with the cast creating an entire episode based on audience suggestion.
The SPACE Tour: On September 27, 2011, StarKid Productions announced their first national concert tour: "The SPACE (StarKid Precarious Auditory Concert Experience) Tour". The group performed at 21 stops in 15 cites. The tour began on November 4, 2011 in Ann Arbor, Michigan and ended on November 27, 2011 in New York City. The tour featured songs performed in all their productions and the StarKids who participated were Lauren Lopez, Joey Richter, Joe Walker, Brian Holden, Dylan Saunders, Jaime Lyn Beatty and Meredith Stepien. Darren Criss performed in the Boston and New York shows. Elona Finlay appeared at the Canada shows.
Apocalyptour: On April 9, 2012, StarKid Productions announced their second national tour: "Apocalyptour"; titled in reference to the 2012 phenomenon. The tour began in Chicago on May 9, 2012, and finished with a sold-out show at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City on June 10, 2012.
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.
On June 7, 2011, Starkid Productions released a novel named The Bully Book, written by Eric Kahn Gale with illustrations by Matt and Nick Lang. It was originally only available as an e-book, but was later re-released in hardcover on December 26, 2012. Gale mentioned in an interview that it takes place in the same universe as Little White Lie and the sequel will tie into the series.