Coronavirus closure: Musicals worth watching

Team StarKid channel provides hilarious music-themed content

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Screenshot of the musical "Firebringer"

Characters Zazzalil, Jemila, and Emberly perform the song “We got work to do." Performing are actresses Lauren Lopez, Meredith Stepien, and Rachael Soglin.

Kyra Horvat, Staff Writer

In 2009 at the University of Michigan, a bunch of Harry Potter fans decided to produce a parody musical called “A Very Potter Musical.” More than 10 years later, this group of kids is still producing musicals under the name StarKid.

These musicals have all been posted to the company’s YouTube channel: Team StarKid. Along with the 12 amazing musicals, the company posts behind-the-scene access, comedy sketches, web series, fundraiser videos, live streams, and company updates. Team Starkid has enjoyable humorous content about ranging topics for those who love music.

The core founders of the company are Nick Lang, Matt Lang, Darren Criss, and Brian Holden. Though Criss and Holden have gone on to other careers and only do minimal appearances on the channel, both Langs are still major parts of the company and have continued to write great content for each show.

Some cast members of the company have been performing since “A Very Potter Musical” (AVPM) and continue to be in current productions. Actor Joey Richter is one of the continuing members of the company who has been in nine out of 12 of the musicals, and most notably is seen in the “Harry Potter” series as the comical character Ron Weasley.

One actress has been in all but one musical and has never gotten a lead and still continues to wow watchers with her talent. Her name is Jaime Lyn Beatty, and she’s most known for playing Ginny Weasley in AVPM and the daughter in “The Trail to Oregon.” She has also played a wide range of hilarious background characters from old men to crazy bosses.

Beatty isn’t the only one to play a wide range of lovable characters, as junior Cadie Kulnane thinks multiple actors and actresses on the channel are talented. She said, “The actors and actresses are beyond amazing at playing multiple different characters, sometimes all in one show.”

What is special about the musical “The Trail to Oregon” is not only that it is a parody about “The Oregon Trail” computer game, but it is also an interactive musical. At the beginning of the show during the first song, the audience gets to name the main characters of the family. Along with their names, the audience gets to choose the ending as well, and the channel has all possible endings uploaded for you to watch.

Another one of their most popular musicals is their show “Twisted: An Untold Story of a Royal Vizier.” It is a parody of “Aladdin” in the style of the musical “Wicked” where they tell the story of Jafar. During this musical, the cast members poke fun at many of Disney’s films making it hilariously funny for those of us who grew up on Disney, and on top of that, the music is extremely well done.

Junior Carolina Tellado is a theater lover and got hooked on Starkid’s content. Tellado said, “They give a great view of some of your childhood movies and just the world in general. They are always just great to watch and laugh and sing along.”

Besides their musicals, they have a couple web series (some serious and some mostly comedic) that they’ve posted over the years. Their oldest being “Little White Lie,” a series about “a bunch of high school rock bands” that consists of 11 episodes, some split into multiple parts. The series focuses on these two siblings and their struggles with their band and their school competition, Battle of the Bands, and all the drama that comes along.

Some of their older musicals or series are uploaded in five-to-ten minute parts that have been put into playlists. While just watching the playlist isn’t that hard, it can get annoying to deal with commercials and stopping every few minutes for it to change videos.

In order to create their musicals, sometimes they do fundraisers where they live-stream and create bonus content when they reach a goal. Some of the original members have returned to the channel to do these fundraisers like Darren Criss. Their most recent fundraiser was their reunion concert “Starkid Homecoming.”

Junior Alexis Glumm is a fan of Starkid and enjoys watching their unique content. She said, “They have amazing shows that you can watch anytime for free but they also show the behind the scenes of their fundraising and their bonds as people with their co-stars and crew, as can be seen in things like their kick-starter live-streams where they just hang out and chat with each other and the audience for like 17 hours.”

Their content ranges from musicals about space to sketches about would-be musicals based on movies.  For this reason, I rate the Team StarKid YouTube channel five out of five Disney Parodies.