1027 – StarKid Sleepy Fan
Sleepy fandom of songs and fun carry you off to dreamland.
Episode 1027 – StarKid Sleepy Fan
[START OF RECORDING]
SCOOTER: Friends beyond the binary, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it’s time for the podcaster who’s a fan of things, but what I’m more a fan of is of people’s fandom. Tonight we’re gonna be talking about some kids and some stars. But patrons, you’re really the star of the show because the podcast literally would not exist without you, so couldn’t do it without all of you kids and stars everywhere and everything else in-between kids and stars. It’s time for Sleep With Me. It’s a podcast to put you to sleep. Thanks, patrons.
INTRO: [INTRO MUSIC] Hey, are you up all night tossing, turning, mind racing? Trouble getting to sleep? Trouble staying asleep? Well, welcome. This is Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. We do it with a bedtime story. Alls you need to do is get in bed, turn out the lights, and press play. I’m gonna do the rest. What I’m going to attempt to do is create a safe place where you could set aside whatever’s keeping you awake, whether that’s thoughts, things on your mind that you’re thinking about…so thoughts, feelings, anything emotionally coming up for you. Maybe they’re related to those thoughts; maybe they’re just there. It could be physical sensations, changes in time or temperature or schedule, routine. Maybe you work the second or the third shift. Maybe it’s something else.
Whatever it is that’s keeping you awake, I’d like to take your mind off of that, and what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna send my voice across the deep, dark night. I’m gonna use lulling, soothing, creaky, dulcet tones, pointless meanders, superfluous tangents, and I guess basically what that means is I’m gonna go off-topic, I’m gonna get mixed up, I’m gonna repeat myself, I’m gonna use words that have bare…that…I’m gonna misuse words. Yeah. I’m gonna mix words up, use them in the wrong places, all those things. It’s interesting when you think about sentience and words and sentience; this is the sentient sentence. If there was a sentient sentence, I would be in a…I would be in my…I would be in big doo-doo because the sentences and the letters would say Scooter, you’re on our list.
You’re not at the top of the list. We got a lot of other stuff to deal with, but you’re in there. You’re a bit of a…you’re a word vandal. I’d say oh boy, can we use that in a…? Isn’t that a…? I think I used this in a intro a while ago. I mean, I would say what’s the lighter version of vandal? I’m like a…I wouldn’t say I’m the Banksy of words; you’re right about that. I guess I don’t have the vocabulary to be more than…I’m just a word vandal, but not a big-time one; like a amateur one. Alls I do is kinda take a word…straightforward, and I say what does that mean? I take a word like…I perplex perplextion. Oh, but if you’re new…hello, regular listeners. Have I…when was the last time I talked about word vandals? Despite the connotations, vandal is a nice word. It really is. I mean, obviously it rhymes with candle and mandolin, if you’re giving me some space to make up…you say well, that’s…actually doesn’t…rhymes with the beginning of mandolin.
What about mantle? Not really. You’re right. Oh, so…sorry, sorry. So that’s…well, new listeners, hey, I’m glad you’re here. Let me give you some information because this podcast is a bit different than most other podcasts, even most sleep podcasts, as a matter of fact. Reason being is that…why is this different? Well, a couple things; one, this is not a podcast you really listen to or you really…you don’t need to listen. You could listen but you really don’t…clearly, I mean, if you’ve been listening for the past four or five minutes, you say okay, this person is not a…he’s serious; he’s about as serious as Yahoo Serious, and that’s a reference that even people that were around in the 80s wouldn’t get, but…he says things like Yahoo Serious and they have meaning to him. But so, this is a podcast you kind of barely listen to.
I’m here to keep you company while you fall asleep, so this is kind of a podcast you look at like clouds or…I don’t know. You just kinda barely pay attention. I’m here to be soothing, not quite background noise, but you’ll kinda see as you develop a regular habit of listening to Sleep With Me if you do. The other thing is this podcast is just not for everybody. It does take a few tries to get used to, so kinda see how it goes. But most regular listeners say yeah, it took me two or three tries to realize I don’t need to pay attention. It never really gets started. So, just kinda give it a few tries and see how it goes. I think I said that already. Oh, he repeats himself a lot and then he gets mixed up. It’s all part of the process. So, it’s a podcast you don’t really listen to. Also, it doesn’t really put you to sleep.
I’m here to keep you company while you fall asleep, not so much…like, I’m here to take your mind off of stuff, but if…and if you can’t sleep, I’m here for a full hour, plus. So, I’m here to keep you company whether you’re awake or asleep. I’m here to be your bore-friend, your bore-bae, your bore-bud, your bore-bestie, your bore-bruh if you’re between South LA, San Diego area, any coastal…any area where people say bore-bruh. I could be that. But so, yeah, I’m just here to keep you company while you fall asleep. So, those are two things for new listeners. If you’re skeptical or doubtful, that is totally reasonable because why wouldn’t you be if you tried other stuff like most of us have to fall asleep, and you said well, that worked once or twice; it didn’t work again or it didn’t work at all. Yeah, you can be skeptical.
I mean, this is a different…very different thing, and going…leaning into that skepticism, a few more things; another thing that throws people off is the structure of the show, so I’m gonna kinda explain to you the structure of the show. Show starts off with a greeting; friends beyond the binary, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, so you feel seen and welcome. Then there’s listener support for the listeners, then there’s support for the show so it can be free. Then there’s the intro, and the intro goes from like, minute six to minute eight…from minute six or eight to around minute ten to twenty to fifteen to eighteen to seventeen to six…somewhere between ten and twenty minutes long. Usually on the twenty-minute side.
The intro serves a purpose, ’cause a lot of people…and understandably, they get very…they have very strong feelings about the intro because they say, what are you doing? I’d say yeah, I understand. You have strong feelings about the intro ‘cause it’s very divergent from what you expect. You expect someone to get to the point and to put you to sleep and not…and that’s…our show eventually does that when you stop paying attention to me, so that’s the part of the…part of the intro serves is like, so new people know…I don’t know. So, I guess I can do an example. It’s a show within a show. I say well, I’m trying…gonna try to explain what the podcast is, but I’m not really good at that, even though I’ve done it a thousand plus times. Then I’m gonna get mixed up, I’m gonna go off-topic, and eventually I’ll kinda try to wrap it up.
But so, that’s for the new listener. You say oh, okay, I kinda get it, but I don’t really understand. I say oh boy, you’re onto something now. But as you become a regular listener, it becomes part of your bedtime routine. So, a lot of regular listeners, they’re getting ready for bed or they’re doing some sort of wind-down, maybe drawing or sitting or they might be on the couch, they might be paging through a magazine or a picture book; some sort of gentle activity, or just sitting around or getting in bed and getting comfortable. But what I found is for the majority of listeners…not everybody; yeah, there are people that skip the intro or that fall asleep right away or that turn the show on in the middle of the night or listen all night.
But for the majority of listeners, this part of the podcast gives you some distance between the day and the night and helps you wind down and slowly kinda get ready for bed, to start to unwind. I always use the analogy of a landing strip ‘cause it’s like you’re coming in for a landing. Then also the…but the intro’s also the taxiing. Nobody appreciates the taxiing after landing. If planes only served to park so you could fall asleep, you’d say…even then it would be unappreciated ‘cause you say okay, I just want to get to my gate and get…they say well, no; we’re gonna wait a little while and then we’re gonna drive over…oh, no, wrong one. They said Z-14. I’m at F-14. Looks like somebody’s parked there. You say, didn’t we leave like, four and a half hours ago? They didn’t…what do you mean somebody’s parked there?
I guess I’m…but that’s just true. This is stuff that goes through my…but in this case you say oh, but we’re not going anywhere. You’d say okay, I guess it’s hard to create an analogy out of something that would never happen or doesn’t make…they say okay, now we’re at Gate Z-14, everybody. I’m just gonna talk now and I’m gonna tell you about the air adjust…oh boy, is…and there’s only four of you; such a roomy place. Unexpected Airline, the airline that puts you to sleep because we don’t go anywhere, except we…when it’s time to wake up, we’ll go to another gate gently, and then you get a full breakfast and it’s great. That’s the imaginary airline. So, that’s what the intro is kinda like. It doesn’t make any…you say, what? I say, exactamundo.
It just goes on and on and on to ease you into bedtime and to give you a chance to slowly fall asleep, I guess ‘cause some people say what do you mean? You got the greeting, then you got the sponsors, and then you got this long intro. How come you don’t just get to the story? I’d say, after doing this show for a long time and even before going…doing the podcast, it’s like, when you’re supposed to fall asleep, it’s pretty tough. So with Sleep With Me, sleep kinda sneaks up on you and you drift…next thing you know you’re at breakfast tomorrow and you say, I got this great idea, hun. Oh yeah? Tell me about it. An airplane that doesn’t go anywhere. It’s like a train…or we could do a train. You say, what do you mean? Well, you get on the plane and it’s got beds and stuff, and then it goes to an…it goes around.
Maybe it goes a little bit faster, then it goes to a gate and parks. Or maybe it just drives around all night, ‘cause that might be a nice, rocking motion. Probably we’ll figure out the…we’ll have a running solar…stored solar energy or something or whatever. But I think Scooter was talking about that in the podcast, but not in a concise way like you’re saying, hun. Oh yeah, maybe. I thought he was talking about paper biplanes or something. So, that’s what the intro does, then there’s business between the intro and the show. Then that’s what keeps the podcast free again, and then there’s the story. Tonight it’ll be a StarKid stan cast, believe it or not, written…prepared by my daughter who’s a fan of StarKid.
So first you’ll find out what’s StarKid, and then we’ll talk about the history of StarKid and how I became a StarKid fan, or stan. That’s what the new…well, by the time this comes out, I’ll say Scoots, that was so 20…whatever; 2020, ‘19. I say…or 20…I say well, yeah, now’s the time for me to adopt it. I’m a late adopter. Usually by the time I adopt something, it’s right before…becomes back again a year or two after, so…once I’ve moved on again. So, then we’ll do that, then there’s some thank-yous at the end. So, that’s the structure of the show. The only other thing to know is the reason I make the show; one, I have trouble falling asleep, staying…last night it was staying asleep. I was tossing, turning by…I was baffled too, because even though I follow these routines and my own advice, I say what do you mean?
It feels like I had forty pots of coffee, like right around 12:30. I had…you know, my mind was…so, I know how it feels in the deep, dark night, and I know how it feels when you’re tired or over-tired. If I can help with that, that would be great. But I also believe if you get a good night’s sleep, our world’s gonna be a better place to live in, and that is cool for me to be a part of, too. If I can help you so you can live a bit fuller life ‘cause you’re rested, that makes the whole world better. At least, that’s what I believe. So, I’m here because you deserve a good night’s sleep, and I know how it feels when you don’t get one. So, I just really want to help. I really appreciate you coming by, checking the show out if you’re new. I yearn and I strive, I really want to help you fall asleep, and here’s a couple ways I’m able to do it for you free twice a week. Thanks.
Alright everybody, this is Scoots here. This is Present Scoots and you’re gonna be hearing Past Scoots which is even funnier when I talk about the subject matter of this, and I didn’t even realize that ‘til just now. This is a little bit of a peek behind the scenes. So, I recorded this upcoming…what you’re gonna hear coming up here in April of 2021, I think. Now it’s — when I’m recording this — October 2021. I was prepping this episode and I just felt like it was running a little bit short.
I said well, there was something I wanted to do with this episode anyway, which was kind of a Tale of the Tape type of thing, and I also realize this is great seasonal content, this part of it, and really one of the things was there’s just…so, this episode’s gonna be about StarKid as a whole, but I’m gonna start it out talking about A VHS Christmas Carol, and if you’re hearing this in the holiday season, it’s…and it’s available to purchase or to stream, I highly recommend doing so. It really made…it made my holiday season last year. It was one of the first StarKid productions I got to consume, as my daughter…as you’ll hear about in a minute, is a huge fan.
But there’s also songs that I just…the performances, the fact that it’s done in this VHS style, the fact that they produced it and made the best…they did what they could to be creative during 2020-2021 is inspiring. But it’s really good. I mean, that’s the main reason, and I really enjoyed it. But yeah, some of the songs are still with me. But then I also said Scoots, could you…what could you even remember? I’ve seen it at least two or three times ‘cause I can’t remember; it was one of those paid…a rental in some sense, so we paid for it and I think we had it for forty-eight hours or a week or something where we could stream it. The music is not on Spotify. It might be on Apple Music or yeah, purchase it so that the…everybody…the kids from StarKids can get paid, and make sure to pay to rent it this holiday season.
So, it’s a Christmas Carol. It’s done in a VHS style. It’s a musical and it tells, of course, the story about Scrooge and the Cratchits. The first song I definitely remember; Bah Humbug, and I can hear it in my head. It kinda talks about…everybody’s talking about Scrooge, so in storytelling, it definitely helps with the exposition, very similar to…and other telling…tales telling a Christmas Carol, or the actual Christmas Carol, like seeing Scrooge’s behavior. We also see some of that, and Scrooge is wonderful. I’ll talk about the cast. Past Scoots in the future will talk about that, so that’s funny ‘cause I’m Present Scoots for me, Past Scoots for you talking about Past Scoots for me, which is Future Scoots for you, and the intro is by Past Scoots.
So, that’s the first part of the story, talking about Scrooge, introducing the Cratchits and Bob Cratchit, and then there’s the Jacob Marley sequence usually, just like in other tales, who kinda gives Scrooge a warning. In this one, he says there’s gonna be…3 Spirits is the next song, and I can’t quite hear this one, though I mean, I’m sure I remember it. It says there’s a dancing sequence with Marley. I’m just trying to hear it, but I mean, the next song, I guess, is just dominating my attention. So, hopefully by the time you hear this, I’ll have rewatched it if it’s the holiday season. Then the ghost of Christmas Past comes, and this one is one of my favorite…probably in…it’s just really good. I mean, the song has a hook and I won’t spoil the VHS-80s kinda feel of it, but it’s called…I’m the Ghost is the next song. Very, very catchy.
That goes kinda into Scrooge’s past, right, and Fred and Belle…in this one, Scrooge’s former fiance. Fezziwig, Bob Cratchit, all that stuff. Let’s see, this is their Christmas past. Then they go…they have a scene with Belle and young Scrooge called That Scrooge, and the…so, I’m trying to, again…when you have a ear worm, it’s kinda hard to get rid of it. When you have a StarKid ear worm…but so, there’s that one, then Scrooge obviously is back sleeping, and that’s where he discovers…and goes to Christmas present. This one is called Christmas Electricity which is kind of explaining joy in the holiday season. So, they go to Christmas Present and they go to Fred’s house. Scrooge is actually having fun, and this is…Christmas Electricity; you couldn’t name a kind of 80s song better. I guess you should just settle into it and enjoy it.
I do remember this one. Again, thematically, really well done. Then they go to another Christmas party, again, with the Cratchits, and we kinda see Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchit and their gratitude and everything, and then even the gratitude towards Scrooge, in some sense, and steaks for Tiny Tim, and that’s priceless. That’s a beautiful one, and again, it fits the notes and the progression of the story and stuff really well. Then Scrooge runs into Christmas Future. Don’t get it twisted; this is different than the Scrooge Scrooged, which I watched last season too, and which we have a episode about.
But this…so, Scrooge meets up with the ghost of Christmas Future and they go around; they see…there’s a slow reveal and kinda shows Scrooge’s legacy that he’s leaving behind and what Scrooge’s…and then they see, again, other legacies with the Cratchits and some of the costs of Scrooge’s…the impact of Scrooge’s choices in the present and the past. That’s called The Final Casper. That song has a different title. But then we go into the final sequence of the story, and this song really hits. The name of the song is Christmas Day. It’s a full…Scrooge and then built the full cast at Scrooge’s reawake…had a reawakening or rebirth after his night with the…I already used the G word but I guess in this case, it’s very specific.
I tried to use Casper at the end. But Scrooge has joy; he’s decided to change his life and live a new life, make different choices. So, he sends the turkey to the Cratchits, goes to Fred’s house; he gives…makes donations, apologizes and asks for forgiveness, making amends. Wow. Fred and Scrooge connect, then Fred…this probably is his…or then Scrooge deals with Bob Cratchit. First he does a fake-out and yeah, they…so, they sing the song Christmas Day again. Really, really enjoyable, and just a really…musical I really, really got a lot out of, really had fun, and just can’t forget…I mean, that…I guess that to me is their songs that you can return to, even non-contextually, and the images it leaves behind. So, it’s StarKid musical…that one…there’s a couple songs from the Superhero one, but then Ani…also, I couldn’t do a full Tale of the Tape of Ani ‘cause it’s very long. It covers kind of…I think it…now that I’m removed from my talking about that, it takes this tangent about Anakin Skywalker, Vader so far off the beaten path, but with so many different characters.
I think I probably talked about it in…Past Scoots is gonna talk about it more. But there’s so many good ones. But again, just the joy of Ani and his love of pod racing and wanting to relieve the past and recapture the past is another powerful one to check out. But my daughter watches the Oregon Trail one over and over again, and the guy didn’t like musicals, which I don’t think I’ve seen either one of those…sat down…I apologize…straightforward watched them beginning to end…watched sequences of those. But yeah, those are Star…places to start with StarKid. Starting StarKid this holiday season…maybe they have a new holiday…’cause they did the one about shopping, too. Maybe they have a new one this year. But definitely check out A VHS Christmas Carol. I’ll even put a link in the show notes for it and support some people out there making creative stuff. Thanks, everybody.
Alright everybody, this is Scoots here and this is definitely the first time we’ve done this style of episode that I can remember. This episode — I think I was talking about it in the intro — was prepared by my daughter Sophia. So, we’re calling this Sleepy StarKid Stan and we’re gonna talk about StarKid and some of the musicals they made so you’ll understand it better. It looks like I got twelve pages of notes. Sixty divided by twelve is like, six minutes a page. Sleep With Me exists because of fandom, really, and so, being a fan is something I like to encourage. You know, a respectful fan, a fan that enjoys stuff and reflects on it and then is maybe inspired by it. But that’s why Sleep With Me exists, is…in the aughts when I first started listening to podcasts, a lot of the podcasts I was listening to were shows like fans…one was…there was other…one genre I listened to was fans of theme parks.
That’s kinda where I met Ray. This was years before the podcast, like five, six, seven years before the podcast. I listened to a podcast that Len Testa was on. Actually, I found recently that I even missed a lot of podcasts. There was this whole genre of theme park fan podcasts back then, some of which…even the one Len used to be on, WDW Today, doesn’t…it exists in a different format and it…with different hosts now, I think. But let’s see, who was on that? Mike, Mike, Matt, and Len. But so, there was a couple other ones that I didn’t even listen to that now I’ve kind of discovered. But I wasn’t really listening for the content as much as their fandom of…their enjoyment of the content they were talking about.
It’s kinda like Ray, and everybody has a different relationship with this stuff, so that’s great too; is like, some people might enjoy the immersiveness of Ray’s trip reports. What I enjoy is listening to his appreciation of stuff. So, at some point I think over 2020, but maybe it was before this, my daughter became a fan of StarKid and all the performers and musicals associated with StarKid. When your kid’s excited about something, sometimes you’re like okay, that’s great for you. But you really…I think it adds a connection to be like okay, let’s sit down and let me enjoy this not just through your eyes, but let me enjoy it myself, too. I think it was…at first I just wasn’t ready for the ones she was a super, super fan of, so I kinda dipped my toe in and then I slowly descended into the StarKids…StarKid bathtub.
StarKid; it’s not StarKids, though I probably will mix it up and call it that. In my opinion, everybody associated with this really should…is really, really talented and I have a great love for. There’s a couple people…and it’s interesting; there’s a small tangential connection to the podcast, even, through one of the breakout performers of StarKid, though every person on StarKid will be eventually breaking out. I’m convinced of that. Maybe breaking out means behind-the-scenes, because I think that’s a really good place to be. So, let’s start with our notes. What we’re gonna do here is we’re gonna go through the founding of StarKid and then we’re gonna go through some summaries of Ani, Christmas VHS, Holy Musical B@man!, and AVPMS, which I think is a A Very Potter Musical. S…I don’t know what the S stands for.
But StarKid…I almost said Farkid just ‘cause I saw ‘founding’. StarKid was founded — according to Michigan Today — March 9th, 2011. This is from teamstarkid.com…is Brian Holden and Nick Lang were roommates. Matt Lang, who was Nick’s brother, wanted to put on a show he and his friend had an idea for. So, the three of them wrote the script over the phone. Here’s where your first breakout performer…Darren Criss; yeah, that Darren Criss, though if you’re a Darren Criss fan, you already know all this. I’ll go on a Darren Criss…one wonderful, wonderful performer. Actually, I’ve had to slowly…I discovered Darren Criss in 2020? No, no; 2019 on a cable show. So let’s see, okay, so, the three of them wrote the script…then Darren Criss and A.J. Holmes wrote the songs for the show.
All the roles were written with a specific person in mind, so this was their first musical. Darren Criss was gonna be Harry Potter. Okay, this explains a lot of it. Then it was originally produced as Harry Potter the Musical, but then it became A Very Potter Musical, probably ‘cause of some sort of complication with legal stuff. This was…or maybe…this was April 2009. They put it on at the University of Michigan as part of the Basement Arts program. Then it was put on YouTube just for the cast to see it, according to this, and then it became one of the most-watched channels on YouTube, so it quickly became…because of the popularity of Harry Potter.
The channel was called StarKid Potter at first, because Draco Malfoy says in the show in a British accent which I can’t do, rocketship Potter, starkid Potter, moon-shoes Potter, transversing the galaxy for intergalactic travels to pig farts, which makes my daughter laugh the most. But the first StarKid musical I saw…let’s see, I just want to run through. Okay, so this is…so, the first musical I saw was Ani: A Parody. Again, sometimes as a parent you don’t have…you’re so busy parenting and…you need a chance…you almost need your…or at least for me; I can only speak for me, I guess. Sometimes you need to be shaken out of your parental malaise and you’re making a sleep podcast or whatever your job is malaise. I knew this was really important to my daughter so I said okay, let’s sit down and let’s watch.
She said, why don’t we start with Ani because you’re a fan of Star Trek, or Star Wars, and I think you’ll really like this one. I’ll be honest; I’m not a easy person to introduce stuff to because I tend to…I have issues with C-R-O-N-T-R-O-L and I’m full of skepticism, like a lot of people that listen to a sleep podcast, even though my daughter…I…but when…a lot of times you want to try to meet people on their level, like meet their excitement. You know what I mean. That’s a still…skill I need to work on and improve on. I think…feel like this one, I was able to get…I was able to have some progress, not perfection, and say okay, let’s watch this. Let’s put down the phone, let’s put aside everything, and let’s try to suspend our disbelief. I think we even talked about that. Oh boy, was I able to suspend my disbelief with this.
It’s a parody based off of Star Wars. Oh boy, what was that Star…? You gotta see this thing. If you’re a fan of Star Wars or you experienced a level of dissatis…like, if you ever wondered what would it be like to reinvent that Star Wars movie, Episode 1? I don’t even know what it’s called. Let’s see, there’s Clone Wars, the Darth Vader one, and this one, Phantom Menace. Is that what the first one’s called? That’s a pretty good title. I guess that’s what it was. So, I don’t know if it’s specifically just the Phantom Menace, but it does…yeah, I guess it kinda jumps around, but it mostly focuses on the Phantom Menace. If you could say let’s just go for it and let’s just have fun and let’s make this as fun as possible for everybody…and I guess if they made this after the Potter musical, they probably had a idea of like okay, what worked well or even what jokes?
So, this was my first one, so all the jokes felt very fresh to me. But it has Anakin Skywalker…it actually has Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader in both roles. Really, Chris Allen…especially as…I feel like…well, he’s Ani and Darth Vader because that’s kinda the fact of the matter, right; Anakin. Spoiler alert. But I feel like Chris Allen really captured…and I think this is probably why StarKid is so good, is that the performances and the songs and the musicals…are in…service not just the audience’s enjoyment but also to whatever these things that are going on below the surface, or at least that’s how I felt. I felt like the Chris Allen performance was tormented enough, but not in a way…but in a fun way. I don’t know.
I’ll have to rewatch it, but I’m just picturing…I knew as soon as I sat down to suspend my disbelief, within the opening scene I said whoa boy, this is something that’s gonna be a little bit different, and…’cause he’s trying just so hard, Darth Vader, or Ani in the opening couple numbers. Okay, it also has Obi-Wan Kenobi, Emperor Palpatine, Jar-Jar Binks, a couple of stormtroopers. This is StarKid’s summary of the show; Ani Skywalker is in the dumps. We all know that Padma went to the big spaceship in another universe. He’s stuck in a bogus government job he dislikes. He spends most of his time staring out into space, thinking of the good old days. But things are about to change for Ani as he sets off for adventure and the galaxy’s biggest comeback. Again, they really play with genres and stuff like that.
You could kinda see even…I don’t know where all of the members of StarKid were in their life journeys, but it almost has a post-[inaudible] feel or actually somebody in their forties feel to it. But let’s see, we have Chris Allen as Ani, Joseph Walker as Tarkin, Denise Donovan as Mara, Brian Holden as JJ, and I think JJ is Jar-Jar. Oh yeah, Jar-Jar. Julia Albain is Emily, Erica Gale is Sebulba, Joe Moses is Bob and Veers, Meredith Stepien is Ula, and Nick Lang as Obi-Wan and as Palpatine. Then creatively…the creative was…Nick Lang and Matt Lang did the book. The music was by Clark Backtresser and Pierce Siebers. Director was Matt Lang. Assistant director was Nick Lang. The music directors were Clark Backtresser, Pierce Siebers. Katie Spellman did the choreography. Jen Lang and Teia Smith did the sets.
Nick Lang and Matt Lang did the costumes. Sarah Petty did the lights. Mark Swiderski did the sound design. Ruby Summers was stage manager, and Jeff Dumbroff did the assistant stage manager. Then the music was…keyboard and vocals were Clark Backtresser. Keyboard 2 is Pierce Siebers and vocals. Max Evard did vocals and keyboard, too. Corey Richardson on guitar, Mason Cormie on bass, Nick Kabat on drums, and Meredith Stepien on percussion and backing vocals. Here’s the song list; Ani, Long Ago and Far Away, Strike Back, With My Own Eyes, The Force (You Got It), Haunted by the Kiss, One in a Million, and then Back on Top. It follow…I don’t want to spoil it for you but it follows the…a pretty straightforward plot that doesn’t happen in Star Wars. It’s just really fun.
Again, you can relate to Ani or maybe there’s a couple love stories, or there’s other people that are down on their luck and need a comeback, too. There’s a father-son thing with Palpatine and there’s some competition with grandma of Tarkin. So, it’s a really fun…I mean, really fun movie. Then there’s just a lot of inside Star Trek jokes. Okay, then the next musical…I don’t know if this was the next one I saw, but it’s the next one on the list. I either saw this one next or the one after it. Not super important, but this one’s called Holy Musical B@man! without a T, ‘cause again, I…with not an A either, but like the other kind of A with a circle around it. ‘Cause again, I think that it…you gotta deal with the people that own this stuff. But it’s a parody musical based off of Batman, Superman, and DC Comics.
It is very pun-heavy. The first…Ani has a lot of puns in a different way, or knock…I think it’s knock-knock jokes, right? I would love to know…I mean, maybe the Langs are just…and everybody that works on this is really just brilliant, or how many pieces of paper they have where they were sketching out puns over and over again, or how much improv worked its way into the final performance. But it’s really cool. So, Holy Musical B@man!…let’s see, StarKid’s summary says Holy Musical B@man!; it’s time for stopping people doing stuff, shenanigans with everyone’s second-favorite superhero, right after Spider-Man. He had that stuff with his family and this young billionaire makes a solemn vow to dress up like an evening bird and wage…try to deal with the rogues of Gotham.
So, get ready to see the dark knight you’ve always dreamed of singing and dancing. So, this one was also very fun. Again, it had some conflict with Batman and Superman and just how heroes are perceived. I don’t know. I thought it was…so, Joseph Walker plays Batman, and then Nick Lang played Robin. That was definitely…Robin added a lot. Brian Holden played Superman, Jeff Blim plays Sweet Tooth, Chris Allen played a variety…a lot of other people played a variety of other roles. Chris Allen did Lucius Fox, O’Malley, Spider…whoops; Web-Slinger, Two-Face. Dylan Saunders played Scarecrow, Green Lantern, Narrator, Egghead. Lauren Lopez was Commissioner Gordon, Calendar Man, King Arthur, Green Arrow. Nico Ager played Sluggers in Sherlock Holmes. Julia Albain played Vicki Vale, Mother Goose.
Jaime Lyn Beatty played Candy and Poison Ivy. Denise Donovan; Cat Woman. Jim Povolo played Malone, Mr. Freeze. Meredith Stepien played the Riddler and Chase Meridian. Nicholas Strauss played Penguin, O’Hara, Mxyzplx. This one, the book was by the Langs, Nick and Matt Lang. Music was by Nick Gage and Scott Lamps. Directors were the Langs. Katie Spellman did choreography. Scott Lamps and Nick Gage also did the music direction. Corey Lubowich did the set. June Saito did costumes. Sarah Petty did light. Sound design was by Mark Swiderski. Angel Kissel did the stage, and Laura McKinnon did hair and makeup. Nick Gage was on one synth. Scott Lamps was on another. Max Evard was on another one, and Justin Cona was on drums. They did a bunch of songs in this one.
So, they had Holy Musical B@man!, Dark, Sad, and Lonely Night, Rogues are We, Rogues are We Reprise, The Dynamic Duet, then Robin S-U-C-K-Ss, The American Way, To Be A Man, and Super Friends. So, this one was…so yeah, you can kinda see, but there was all…so many puns and so many villains. They kept re…it’s just a really fun one. There was a lot of…they were able to do a lot of action. This would have been a fun…I mean, really fun one to see in person ‘cause there’s so much going on on the stage. Okay, this one we saw at the holidays, and this was a streaming purchase. It was worth every penny. If you have a chance to buy it next year or rent it next year, please do because it is absolutely worth every single penny.
I mean, I don’t know how many times we watched this, but it was really, really well done, especially considering it was 2020. They were really able to deliver something special for 2020 and a stage show you could enjoy and that was…you could tell how much they considered how they were making it. It had the throwback stuff that they like, so it was…it’s called A VHS Christmas Carol and it was an original musical based off of Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol. It was made during 2020 as a virtual performance with editing and green screens. The StarKid summary says join StarKid for a new holiday tradition, blending Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with 80s musical videos in a synthillating live visual album experience. The reimagining of a…the classic tale from composer Clark Backtresser.
Features an all-star kid cast serving up vibes from Christmases Past to offer an escape from Christmas Present and a cutting-edge blend of live and filmed performances straight out of the Christmas Future. This was just so good; so, we had…Dylan Saunders played Scrooge, Corey Dorris played Fred, Joey Richter was Bob Cratchit, Meredith Stepien was Jacob Marley, Jaime Lyn Beatty was Ghost of Christmas Past. Probably…if you have to pick a…the Ghost of Christmas Past song might have been the best song. Brian Rosenthal was young Scrooge. Britney Coleman was Belle. A.J. Holmes is Fezziwig. James Tolbert is the Casper of Christmas Present. Lauren Lopez played Emily Cratchit. Jamie Burns was the Casper of the Christmas Future. Ally Gordon was Turkey.
Brian Holden played Tim, and Clark Backdress…Baxtresser was the narrator. This one was written by Clark Baxtresser. It was directed by Corey Lubowich. Produced by Brian Holden and Corey Lubowich. This was just a really fun one, and I guess ‘cause it was a little bit shorter and because it wasn’t a stage performance, I think, maybe it was a…it was more…much more song-based. Because of these parody musicals…so this was more of a parody musical…something that’s in the public domain and because it was done…everybody was doing it with green screens and stuff. The songs may be have…were more easily consumed over and over again for me. But I really enjoyed…the first song is Bah Humbug with Scrooge. Spirits was really good. I’m the Casper of Christmas Past, That Scrooge, Christmas Electricity, Priceless, The Final Casper, and Christmas Day. It was just really fun to watch.
So, I don’t know. I really, really, really enjoyed it. Then we have kinda what made StarKid famous, even to my daughter, because kids today…or even more now and especially with the ubiquitous…of the internet, you want to…things you’re a fan of, you want to consume more and more and more. Then when there’s these Venn diagram overlaps, it makes you even more likely to consume even more. So, it’s like fanfiction and fiction and stuff may not be everybody’s cup of tea or parody or whatever, but when you’re already a big fan of something, then discovering something that’s real…also really good is cool. So, this is AVMPS, A Very Potter Musical Series. It starts off with AVPM, A Very Potter Musical, which was originally Harry Potter the Musical.
This one, it’s a musical parody of the Harry Potter books, but it was based off of multiple books, most recognizably Goblet of Fire. This was the first StarKid show. StarKid summary goes, Harry and his pals are in for adventure when the One Who Can’t Be Named returns to deal with the boy who was in the world, living. So, take a right on…ride on that’s who’s not’s name’s flying machine and get ready to get back to Hogwarts. This was a big one; this was Darren Criss as Harry Potter, Joey Richter as Ron Weasley, Bonnie Gruesen as Hermione Granger, Joseph Walker as Volde…Who…the…yeah. Lauren Lopez is Draco Malfoy. Jaime Lyn Beatty is Ginny Weasley. Dylan Saunders is Dumbledore. Brian Rosenthal is Quirrell. Joe Moses is Snape.
Jim Povolo is Gregor…is Goyle, Britney Coleman is Beatrix Lestrange, Tyler Brunsman is Diggory, Devin Lyttle is Cho Chang, Richard Campbell is Neville Longbottom, Julia Albain is Crabb, Sango Tajima is Lavender Brown, and Lily Marks is Molly Weasley. The book was by Nick Lang, Matt Lang, and Brian Holden. Music by A.J. Holmes and Darren Criss. Matt Lang was the director. Musical director was A.J. Holmes. Stage manager was Emily Stromberg. Costumes were Marguerite Woodward. The band was A.J. Holmes, Carlos Valdes, and Joe Carroll. They had the songs Going Back to Hogwarts, Different As Can Be, Ginny’s Song, Harry, Different As Can Be Reprise, Dragon Song, Ginny’s Song Reprise, and Cho’s Song. Granger Danger, Dance Again, Missing You, Not Alone, Voldemort is Going Down, Not Alone, Going Back to Hogwarts Reprise, and then the bonus track Pig Farts, Pig Farts, Here I Come.
We just rewatched this the last couple nights and it’s just…I mean, this was a great musical. You could kinda see why it was so successful and then the cast was so successful, and just that it was so popular and it got another piece of fandom. But I was looking on this one Tumblr and a lot of people get…went to the books after they saw this musical first. So, it was like StarKid…they were StarKid fans first and then they became fans of the underlying material here or in other cases. Then after that, they had AVPS; A Very Potter Sequel. This is the second one. It ends up as a three-musical series. This is also a parody of multiple books; Order of Phoenix and Philosopher’s…Sorcerer’s Stone, mostly.
This is the summary; Harry and his pals are back for more adventure when they face off against wizards, forest friends, and Dolores Umbridge. So, strap on your diapers ‘cause it’s time to go back to Hogwarts. Let’s see, we had Darren Criss as Harry Potter, Joey Richter as Ron Weasley, Bonnie Gruesen is Hermione Granger, Lauren Lopez is Draco Malfoy, Joseph Walker is Dolores Umbridge, Joe Moses is Snape, Brian Holden is Lupin, Dylan Saunders is Dumbledore, Tyler Brunsman is Malfoy, Jim Povolo is Goyle and Frienzay. Jaime Lyn Beatty is Rita Skeeter and Ginny Weasley. Nicholas Strauss is Sirius Black. Corey Dorris is Yaxley, Devin Lyttle is Cho Chang, Arielle Goldman is Lily Potter, Luna Lovegood, Hedwig, and Fred Weasley. Brian Rosenthal is Seamus Finnigan and James Potter.
Britney Coleman is Dean Thomas, Lily Marks is Molly Weasley, Richard Campbell is Neville Longbottom. Sango Tajima is Lavender Brown. Julia Albain is Vincent…is Crabb and Candy Lady. Nick Lang is Arthur Weasley, Sorty, Scarfy, Pettigrew, and Big Mama Umbridge. The book was by Nick Lang, Matt Lang, and Brian Holden. Music was by Darren Criss. Matt Lang directed. Choreography was by James Tolbert. Bruce Kiesling did the music. Corey Lubowich did the sets and the costumes. Let’s see, the songs; It’s Not Over Yet, Harry Frickin’ Potter…Freaking Potter, which I have stuck in my head, To Have A Home, Hermione Can’t Draw, The Coolest Girl, Getting Along, Let the Games Begin, Those Voices, Guys Like Potter, You Were Never My L-O-V-E-R, Stutter, No Way, and Days of Summer.
Then we had A Very Potter Senior Year which is the last musical in the Very Potter Musical series. It was mostly based off of Chamber of Secrets and the Hallows books. The StarKid summary goes, get ready for one last romp of magical shenanigans ‘cause Harry and his pals are back for their senior year at Hogwarts. The gang’s in for the biggest adventure as they face off against other people and other stuff. Either way, this is the end. I think the cast is kinda the same. Let me just see if there’s anybody that’s different. Ivana Lynch played Luna Lovegood…oh, Brian Holden in this one plays Hagrid, Lupin, and the basilisk. But one thing I did want to say as I’ve been watching these with my daughter is really good performances.
So, it’s like okay, wow; I can see…especially just having fun, letting the audience have fun, but also capturing…making the characters their own. Again, they had the other stuff that…like jokes that kept paying off over and over again or long payoffs. But yeah, it’s just so enjoyable and so much talent. So much talent. So, let’s see. I mean, alls I can say is…about StarKid is that I highly recommend you checking out some of the musicals and discovering for your own and supporting them. I did want to talk about…maybe there’s two people I have a connection to the podcast, but Darren Criss is kinda one of them. Indirectly; I mean, Darren Criss…not that I know have ever listened to Sleep With Me, and I was aware of Darren Criss but when I saw Darren Criss…so, Darren Criss was the star of a show that I try to figure out how to talk about. It came out in 2018.
Let me see…and one of the producers of that show was a listener of Sleep With Me. I’m not sure if they still are. Maybe the cool…I’m not gonna say who that person is, but I was just like…when I found out they listened and that they’re just one of the most impressive people and their creative work as a producer, but also what they do with their time to support other people. But let’s see what we got here, is…this is from Darren Criss’ Wikipedia page. You say okay, let me learn more. So, Darren Criss is a American actor/singer. This is from Wikipedia…and songwriter. He was on Glee from 2010 to 2015 and then he won a Emmy and a Golden Globe for his role…he played a character named Andrew and he was so good.
It was in this show about…it was called Versace Shirts, the Fashion…A Fashion Story is my parody name for the show. He’s also been on Broadway and movies. He was the founding member and co-owner of StarKids where he first garnered attention as Harry Potter. Then he was in Broadway on How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch. He also was a founder of Elise Fest in New York, a outdoor music festival. On Glee he played Blaine Anderson. He was the…his first number on the show reached…was the fastest-selling Glee single, Teenage Dream. He also has a indy pop band, Computer Games, where he’s in with his brother, Chuck. He’s from the Bay Area which is cool. In 2009 is when he went to…he…oh no, that’s when he graduated from the University of Michigan.
He did take violin lessons and was classically trained on…he’s learned on guitar, mandolin, harmonica, piano, and drums. He spent a lot of time focused on that. Let’s see, after he got his Bachelors of Arts in 2009, Chris, along with some friends and classmates from Michigan, co-founded StarKid. Let’s just read a little bit more about that on Wikipedia. Let’s see, they…it was originally founded in 2009 at the University of Michigan. Focuses on comedy…musical comedies focused on pop culture. StarKid distributes their musicals for free on YouTube or funded by Kickstarter and physical ticket sales. They’ve gone…the Harry Potter…Very Potter Musical did two world tours, two reunion concert specials, three sketch comedy tours, three web series.
They’ve charted twelve albums and they did a cast reading of Starship and they had a musical in 2019 called Black Friday. Let’s see, so they had A Very Potter Musical, then another musical about someone named Richard, A Very Potter Sequel, Starship, which was inspired by Star Troopers and The Little Mermaid. Holy Musical, Very Potter Senior Year, Twisted: An Untold Story of a Royal Visor which is Aladdin, and Wicked, The Trail to Oregon, Ani: A Parody Musical. So, it looks like they…man, they’ve been putting out…they put out like, a couple a year for a while. Firebringer, The Guy Who Didn’t Like Musicals, Black Friday, A VHS Christmas Carol, and they’re getting ready to put out the third in this Hatchetfield saga. A lot of them premiered at LeakyCon in Orlando. Let’s see what else we have.
They did a Space Tour in 2001; twenty-one stops in fifteen cities. The Space in the tour stands for StarKids. Precarious auditory concert experience. It had most of the main cast. They did the Apocalypatour; twenty-four stops in twenty-one cities. Then A Very StarKid Reunion in 2015. That was a reunion with…to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. StarKid Homecoming was a reunion concert in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Harry Potter musical. They’ve also done some sketch comedy productions, one, two, three web series. A great place to get started where you would actually be supporting StarKid, probably, but I don’t really know…I mean, would be their website, but also listening to their musicals on Spotify ‘cause hopefully they’re getting paid for that.
But Brian Holden is also…does audiobooks. He’s a current member of StarKid. He’s from Michigan. He was also…he was a ice cream server. He’s been in their…the…he was in A Very Potter Sequel, he was in the Richard story, Starship, Holy Musical B@man!, Ani. He plays JJ. But he’s on this Reach of Space podcast for kids that’s somewhat new, and he’s appeared on Kids Listen Activity Podcast and been a guest on a bunch of other podcasts before. I guess I should try to wrap up, though. But I guess the hard thing with this is that so many people are gonna be fans of specific members of team StarKid. This is just meant as kind of a introduction as I begin my descent into that, and then just looking for…one thing I love is then looking forward to their careers and what’s gonna come out of it.
But it is also this other thing that I always try to talk about when I talk about making stuff, is if you’re…whether you do something creatively or you want to or you’re not sure about it is…your fandom is a great place to start, of what you’re a fan of. When you start making stuff, remember what it’s like to be a fan of things because I guess what is the connection you have with StarKid or whatever it is that you’re a fan of? What’s that like and what is it about that stuff that excites you? Is it the performers? Is it the music? Is it the humor? Is it the joy? Is it the mirth? Is it a combination of things? How does it make you physically feel? What else do you like about it? Unpacking that stuff can then help you…it’s not about taking that and making something similar as much as it is using that to inform your creation.
But also, I don’t know. I’ve always been someone that struggles with all that kinda stuff, for me. I either go in too deep or not deep enough, and so, I…it’s almost like one of those things fandoms…almost something that’s easier for me to observe and enjoy through other people, unfortunately like a lot of other stuff. I mean, this is why I make a sleep podcast and at times I have trouble falling asleep, is…but it’s like, I am a fan of fans. I think I did a episode about that a long time ago. To me, that’s pretty important, too. Then it’s like…it’s also about getting over yourself and enjoying things. So, thanks so much for listening and goodnight, everybody.
[END OF RECORDING]
- Sentient Sentence
- StarKid Productions
- Evanna Lynch
- The Assassination of Gianni Versace
Notable Talking Points:
- He’s about as serious as Yahoo Serious
- Progress, not perfection
- Evanna Lynch was in the one of these?!