The new show, with book by Matt Lang and Nick Lang, music and lyrics by Nick Gage and additional lyrics by Scott Lamps, is billed as "a parody musical that is produced and performed solely for the enjoyment of its creators and other comic book fans." Though clearly referencing dark hero Batman, the show, according to the creators' disclaimer, "is in no way sponsored, approved, endorsed by or affiliated with DC Comics, Warner Bros. or any of their affiliates."
StarKid Productions was co-founded by University of Michigan theatre grads, including Darren Criss, a breakout star of TV's "Glee" who recently starred in Broadway's How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
StarKid Productions is a parody-minded "ensemble of writers, actors, directors, designers, producers" who blend "live performance with the accessibility of the internet."
The troupe's roots are in The University of Michigan's School of Music, Theater and Dance. In April 2009, with a budget of less than $150, the cast and creative team — including Nick Lang, Matt Lang and Brian Holden — created A Very Potter Musical, featuring Darren Criss as Harry. The filmed performances were put on the internet, and the show went wildly viral.
According to the company, StarKid's original works have earned 117 million views on YouTube. (Part One of A Very Potter Musical alone has been viewed more than 8.1 million times on YouTube.) The troupe's titles include A Very Potter Sequel, The Space Tour, Me and My Dick and Starship.
"There's something about getting this particular group of friends together in a rehearsal room that you can't really match," company member Dylan Saunders, who has acted with the group since its founding in 2009, told Playbill.com. "There's an electricity and an energy, and an understanding in the air that doesn't exist in a whole lot of other places. A lot of the group came of age together, so I feel lucky that we are still at a place where we can create new work together, run a business, and stay friends. It's a pretty amazing setup."
Co-songwriter Scott Lamps said, "Nick Gage and I wrote the music and lyrics over the course of about six weeks. He would come up to my place in Madison for a few days at a time and we would surround ourselves with synthesizers, a piano, drum machines, guitars and ukuleles. A few times Nick would show up at one in the morning bursting with some new crazy idea that came to him on his drive. Most of the time we would latch on to a good core concept and throw ideas around until something stuck. This was my first time working with StarKid, and I was blown away by their ability to combine fun and hard work."
Co-songwriter Nick Gage, who also makes his StarKid debut with Holy Musical B@man, said, "The way Scott and I have always written when together, is by writing and recording simultaneously. Scott is a studio wizard as much as he is a brilliant composer/arranger/multi-instrumentalist, so he's able to keep up with the pace of ideas, and we can record as we go. I bring the raw ideas, and the pop sensibilities, Scott brings sophistication, a deep understanding of song structure, and a most of all a calm to the process. I can get lost in the minutiae, and Scott's able to stay outside and assess prudently. I can obsess over a sound, or a click, and he can either say, this is too tiny to truly matter, or he'll help me articulate musically what's inside my head. It requires a lot of trust both ways."
He added, "As for the lyrics. Some are very simply me inserting myself into the show. I couldn't really get around that. Typically, I write the music first. Often the melody simultaneously. That part comes very naturally to me. The lyrics are hell. They come in such fits and spurts for me. Scott would chime in occasionally with a lyric here or there. We'd play back the tracks, and I'd try out different lines and rhymes, and we were almost always in agreement when something worked or didn't. That helps tremendously, since you're constantly asking yourself in the process, 'is this good enough?'"
Holy Musical B@man! boasts a cast of StarKid veterans including Julia Albain ("Crabbe" and Various Characters – A Very Potter Musical and Sequel); Chris Allen ("Duder Reese" – Little White Lie); Jaime Lyn Beatty ("Ginny Weasley" – A Very Potter Musical, "Rita Skeeter" – A Very Potter Sequel); Denise Donovan ("February" – Starship); Brian Holden ("Remus Lupin" – A Very Potter Sequel); Nick Lang (Various Characters – A Very Potter Sequel, Starship); Lauren Lopez ("Draco Malfoy" – A Very Potter Musical and Sequel); Jim Povolo ("Goyle" and Various Characters – A Very Potter Musical and Sequel); Dylan Saunders ("Dumbledore" – A Very Potter Musical and Sequel); Meredith Stepien ("Mega-Girl" – Starship); Nicholas Strauss ("Old Snatch" – Me and My Dick, "Sirius Black" – A Very Potter Sequel); and Joseph Walker ("Lord Voldemort" – A Very Potter Musical, "Dolores Umbridge" – A Very Potter Sequel, "Dick" – Me and My Dick). The cast also includes two new additions to the StarKid acting company: Nico Ager and Jeff Blim.
Holy Musical B@man! features choreography by Katie Spelman (Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Paramount Theatre), set designs by Corey Lubowich (Me and My Dick, A Very Potter Sequel, Starship, The Space Tour), costume designs by June Saito (Starship), lighting design by Sarah Petty (A Very Potter Sequel, Starship, The Space Tour) and sound design by Mark Swiderski (Starship, The Space Tour).
View the show's promotional video here:
For more information, visit www.teamstarkid.com.