Back in February of 2010, I discovered A Very Potter Musical for the very first time. Harry Potter mixed with mid-sentence bursts of song? Sign me up!
Unfortunately, my love for Team Starkid was not born that day. In fact—though I’m embarrassed to admit this to those who know the level of my obsession now—I believe my exact reaction roughly two minutes in was, “This is ridiculous”. And I promptly turned it off and forgot about it.
As fate would have it, I had a ‘We’ that just couldn’t fathom a world wherein I wasn’t privy to the genius of this group of theatre kids from Michigan. (Aka: Keely bugged the hell out of me until I agreed to watch it with her a few months later).
Now, fast forward from that girl who rolled her eyes at Joe Moses’s ridiculously over-the-top Snape voice (This is absurd!), to the girl who actually cried with joy when the ghost of Snape returned to help Harry one last time.
Like Keely said, A Very Potter Senior Year was a great big love letter from Starkid to us. Voldemort danced again, Dumbledore came back when Harry needed him, Cedric found something beyond the grave, and Quirrell and Voldemort reunited—presumably for that long-postponed roller-skating date.
(At this time, I’d like to give a shout out to Tyler Brunsman for channeling Maggie Smith to perfection, Meredith Stepien for making the role of Hermione her own, and Brian Holden for managing to channel at least 17 different dialects of Scottish accents).
But like any Starkid show, it was as much about the parts that were clearly unrehearsed or improvised as it was about the story itself. Usually it is the tightness of a performance and the flawless execution that invites audiences into the world of the play, but with Starkid, it’s the frayed edges that do that. Perhaps they don’t help to suspend your disbelief, but they certainly bring us further into the world of the actors. And that is precisely why we Starkid fans appear a tad, erm…crazy in our love for these people—because it sort of, kind of…maybe feels like we know them.
The frayed edges of AVPSY mean that I wasn’t just watching the story. I was also watching A.J. jump seamlessly from centre-stage as the exuberant Gilderoy Lockhart, to his piano where he helped run the musical part of the show. It means that I laughed until I cried when Darren proved incapable of putting on a tie (and then acknowledged the fact mid-song with—Fuck the tie! I gotta get back to Hogwarts!). It means that I was watching Brian Holden accidentally pull his fake mustache into his mouth during one of Hagrid’s more boisterous monologues and smiling like a lunatic when Joey and Darren fumbled the new Goin’ Back to Hogwarts lyrics with the old ones. It means that when Harry said goodbye to Draco, and it was plain as day that Lauren’s tears were triggering Darren’s—I cried too. It means I was more impressed than I should have been that Evanna Lynch (yes, the real Luna Lovegood) flawlessly melded into the play, took no portion of the spotlight for herself, and proved that she, too, was just another Starkid.
This is what I like most about Starkid—that they don’t try to be too professional or too separate from their audience.
They are Starkids, and we are Starkids—there is no differentiation. We’re all just fans of the same nerdy stuff, and prone to bursts of silliness, song, and sentimentality.
And like Keely already mentioned, you only get it if you get it. That is why Starkid is so extraordinary. Sure, it’s about a mutual love for Harry Potter, but you can have a conversation about good ol’ HP with just about anyone you pass on the street. But finding another Starkid? That’s a pretty special thing.
So you see, Starkid is a lot of things to us, but at its core—our obsession is far greater than finding mutually silly, like-minded theatre kids to cheer on as they try to find their big breaks.
Most importantly, Starkid is about our friendship with each other.
It’s about our inside jokes, and our spontaneous adventures, our sing-alongs and treasured memories.
It is about Keely freaking out so loudly the night Darren Criss appeared on Glee for the first time (I’m warm! I’m so warm!), that I didn’t even hear him sing his first song.
It is about my knees shaking uncontrollably when, after eight hours of joking about the possibility, we randomly bumped into Joe Walker and Brian Rosenthal (and then Joey Richter!) on the street in Ann Arbor (We were cool right? Wait! Were we not as cool as I thought we were?).
And finally, it is about sitting side-by-side on the couch, watching each other’s reactions as much as the actual show, as we laughed and full-out sobbed through the end of this era together.
So yes, Team Starkid—it really has been totally awesome.
Thank you for taking us with you on such a wonderful adventure.
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