The eighties brought us tape players and hair-bands. The nineties were filled with CDs and bubble gum pop-stars, and with the turn of the century came a whole new realm, a new frontier if you will, YouTube.
Since its invention many artists and bands have used YouTube as a media platform to take their careers to a new level. We all remember OK Go performing the same treadmill routine at the VMA's that brought them fame and notoriety along with millions of YouTube views. Let us not forget that a little known musician named Justin Beiber also had humble beginnings making videos on the worldwide video-sharing site.
YouTube can take any ordinary person, and bring his or her face into the homes of millions. This is how a little theater group called Team StarKid began their journey to fame.
It all began when a group of theater students at the University of Michigan decided to put on a Harry Potter parody musical for their friends and post videos of the musical on YouTube. Within a week, the videos had gone viral, and Team StarKid had become a household name among teenage girls and Harry Potter fans everywhere.
Since graduating the troupe has relocated themselves to Chicago, where they performed their latest musicals including Starship and their newly released, Holy Musical B@man.
Today their YouTube channel consists of four self-written musicals and one web series. Their channel recently hit 100 million views, they finished a sold-out concert tour in December, dubbed the S.P.A.C.E. Tour, which ran throughout parts of the U.S. and Canada, and are currently performing their newest parody about one of the most beloved super heroes, Batman.
At their Cincinnati S.P.A.C.E. Tour show on Nov. 23, a line of people winding around the block waited to be let into the doors of the venue. Many small groups could be heard singing songs from their musicals, and the crowd was reminiscent of a comic-con of sorts with people dressed up as characters of their previous shows.
The atmosphere inside was palpable, and the crowd sang along song after song knowing the words just as well as the troupe themselves. With each song performed, the crowd became more and more adoring of the ensemble.
Though Team StarKid may be a little known group of kids right out of college, it can definitely be said that they have the same fan base that even some rock stars can't compete with. To their fans, which are known as StarKids themselves, the troupe isn't just a theater group but a bunch of role models that beat the odds and are able to do what they love against all likelihoods. How many kids straight out of college are really able to make their dreams come true with the help of their best friends?
Natalie Price, a freshmen journalism student from West Virginia University, said that her friend told her about the group one day when they were talking about Harry Potter. "I hadn't heard of them, so I looked it up, watched it, and my life was changed forever." Price also said that, "I love StarKid because they took something that I was already in love with, Harry Potter, and turned it into a freakin' musical. Not only that, but it's a hilarious, fun and a relatively inappropriate musical."
Not only is the group as a whole a huge hit amongst their audience, but one member has hit verifiable fame. Darren Criss, who performed at their New York City and Boston shows hit fame barely a year ago. Along with being a co-founder of the Team Starkid, Criss played Harry in both A Very Potter Musical and A Very Potter Sequel, and was cast as Blaine on Fox's Glee. Criss just finished filming a movie with Kristen Wiig, was featured as one of People Magazine's Sexiest Men Alive, and took Daniel Radcliffe's place in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
The troupe's newest show, Holy Musical B@man, is a top secret musical that is in a vault of sorts hidden from most of the group's following, which are unable to know the individual facts of the show until it's official YouTube release later this month.
Audience members who attended the showings in Chicago were sworn to secrecy, though the allure of the secret seems to be keeping StarKid fans enticed and guessing.
StarKid has grown its following from word of mouth alone. In a world where Disney can make a cookie-cutter pop-star in minutes, StarKid has used the Internet to fight the stereotype of what music is and can be.