I had a very confusing night last night. I went to go catch the latest tour offering from musical theater parodists Team StarKid with their "Apocalyptour" at the Neptune Theatre. My first moment of confusion was when I arrived an hour before the show and the line was already down the block and around the corner. I didn't realize how much of a cult following they have especially with the younger crowd as the majority of the crowd was still in their teens. But the place was packed! Then, once the show started, came the rest of my confusion as apparently seeing a Team StarKid show requires loads of advanced knowledge as there's no way you could hear any lyrics over the band not to mention the screaming fans who sounded as though they were witnessing the second coming of The Beatles.
Bursting onto the Internet in 2009 with their "A Very Potter Musical", Team StarKid quickly established themselves as a new force in musical theater. With music and lyrics by StarKid co-founder Darren Criss, A.J. Holmes and Nick Gage the group even managed to make it to #11 on the Billboard charts for the cast album of their show "Me and My Dick" which was a first for a non-commercial, student production. And now the team (featuring Jaime Lyn Beatty, Brian Holden, Lauren Lopez, Jim Povolo, Joey Richter, BrIan Rosenthal, Dylan Saunders, Meredith Stepien and Joseph Walker) is on tour presenting hits from their shows such as the aforementioned Potter musical as well as it's sequel, plus shows such as "Starship", "Me and My Dick" and their upcoming "Holy Musical B@man!" under the guise of attempting to placate Mayan God Margaret with musical theater parodies before she destroys the world.
The problem with the show and where my confusion and frustration came from is that in order to successfully parody something you need two things; clever lyrics and an audience with a familiarity of what you are parodying. And while the screaming throngs of teens who seemed to know every lyric were having a wonderful time, people like me with only a passing familiarity of the work were left out in the cold. Not only due to the fact that we couldn't hear the lyrics but also since they transplanted the parodies out of their shows and into this Mayan jungle setting they lost the connection to what they were satirizing. So even the few lyrics I could hear weren't as funny out of context. Yes, the performers seemed to have great voices and knew how to sell the numbers but it was just lost on us newbies.
Now you may say that I was not the right audience for the show. I'm far from a teenager and I'm not a huge fan of StarKid's work. But I am a fan, just not a rabid one and don't know the work by heart. What I've heard I liked, and I was hoping to hear more of it last night. But I guess in that respect the show was not for me. So if you're hoping to be introduced to more of the work from Team StarKid you'd be better off with catching them on YouTube or downloading their albums. But if you are indeed a teen with an encyclopedic knowledge of everything StarKid has ever uttered, well you were probably there and you looked to be having one hell of a time.
"Team StarKid's Apocalyptour" performed at the Neptune Theatre for one night only on May 28th. For information on upcoming dates in other cities, visit their website at www.teamstarkid.com.
Photo credit: Chris Dzombak