In the beginning, God and Darren Criss created Harry Potter: The Musical, a madcap Harry Potter parody originally performed at the University of Michigan in 2009. The musical, cowritten by Matt Lang, Nick Lang, and Brian Holden and produced by StarKid Productions, arrived on YouTube that summer and quickly went viral, inspiring a 2010 sequel that helped to launch Criss into mainstream stardom. (Its popularity also inspired a name change meant to stave off the litigious Warner Bros; that’s why you now know the show as A Very Potter Musical.)
Potter‘s Harry soon joined the cast of Glee, and StarKid’s other members moved on to other projects as well. Still, though, the story didn’t seem quite finished — which is why a whole passel of StarKids (including Criss) reunited for a one-night-only performance of a second Potter sequel at Chicago’s LeakyCon convention last summer. Though the gang released the show’s cast recording in December, the full musical itself remained absent from YouTube… until this past Friday.
AVPSY is a staged reading rather than a fully-realized show, so it’s not as polished as StarKid’s previous Potter efforts. Actors wear costumes but hold their scripts; the set is minimal, to say the least. Its length, too, is daunting — the musical is broken up into 18 videos that are anywhere from 3.5 to 21 minutes long.
But still, for fans of Harry — or StarKid’s own devotees, who might be more fervent than even the most rabid Potterphiles — there’s nothing quite like the joy evoked by seeing Evanna Lynch (the Potter movies’ Luna) revive her onscreen role for the stage show, or hearing the familiar strains of “Goin’ Back to Hogwarts,” or watching Criss return to play the part that made him famous one last time.
Check out the first part of AVPSY below — and catch the whole kit and caboodle, including a preview for StarKid‘s upcoming “Aladdin meets Wicked” parody, Twisted, on YouTube.