Ron Weasley

Team StarKid, a Chicago-based theater troupe originally started by a group of theater students at University of Michigan, decided to do something unique with one of their original musical productions. After working with writers to create “A Very Potter Musical,” the group uploaded the production online, not expecting the millions of views and Internet fame that followed.

A Very Potter Musical” is a musical parody of the “Harry Potter” novels by J.K. Rowling. The idea came from a set of jokes written by Nick Lang, Matt Lang and Brian Holden who went on to write the musical. The musical features the key characters like Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermoine Granger, but combines the story with original music, choreography and jokes.

It has not been performed live for most fans because no one expected it to be more than just friends putting on a play. However, with the group’s first and almost completely sold-out tour underway, it has clearly become much more than that.

“You go into things with expectations, and this whole situation is a perfect example [that] you can’t,” said Joey Richter, a member of the troupe who starred as Ron Weasley. “It’s going to happen the ways it’s going to happen and that’s really exciting.”

Team StarKid’s tour, called The SPACE Tour (short for StarKid Precarious Auditory Concert Experience) will feature songs from “A Very Potter Musical” and its sequel, as well as its other musicals “Me and My Dick” and “Starship” being sung by familiar faces like Richter and Lauren Lopez, who played Draco Malfoy in “A Very Potter Musical.”

The troupe will be performing some songs originally composed by StarKid co-founder Darren Criss, who is now a member of the cast of “Glee.” Criss got his start with StarKid by playing Harry Potter in “A Very Potter Musical” and the sequel.

This has brought a lot of attention to the group as a whole. They sell T-shirts, their music on iTunes and DVDs of their musicals. They have 78,000 followers on Twitter and an extremely devoted fan base, but Richter does not feel like the group dynamic has really changed despite the success.

“Yes, there’s a lot of stuff we do at this point that has more money behind it, and there’s a bar set with everything we do,” Richter said. “But I don’t think as performers or friends or anything, that’s really affected who we are as a group.”

By putting “A Very Potter Musical” up for free on YouTube, they made a popular musical theater experience available to anyone with a computer. The musical quickly gained two million views and today the StarKid YouTube channel has over 99 million views. Musicals like “Wicked” are usually only available at established theaters with tickets priced anywhere from $30 to $60.

“It’s hard for people to see really cool, exciting new theater nowadays,” Lopez said. “So it’s cool to be able to bring [theater] to light and show people it’s not as inaccessible as they once thought.”

Though the internet productions have earned Team StarKid a lot of attention, neither Richter or Lopez think they will stop doing live performances.

“[Live performances] are where a lot of the spark from our shows come from. A lot of that chemistry you witness between us on stage comes from live performances,” Richter said. “I don’t think that’s an aspect we’ll ever want to lose.”

Lopez said with every project the group does become more efficient and cohesive, but their sudden Internet fame is a bond that really connects Team StarKid.

“We were kind of thrown into this accelerated path that kind of exploded out of nowhere,” Lopez said. “So we’re all kind of closer because we shared that.”

The characters played by Richter and Lopez and the rest of Team StarKid are what Richter calls “exaggerated versions” of themselves. Richter described playing Ron as taking the book character to a severe extreme in regards to his personality and relationships to other characters.

“I mean, ‘A Very Potter Musical’ we did in like a week. So there wasn’t a lot of time for really deep character analysis or anything,” Lopez said. “I mean that character is a joy to play. He’s a silly yet a very, hopefully, endearing character.”

It is thanks to these first characters and the positive reactions received from the fans that Team StarKid has had such success.

“We wouldn’t have done anything else after that because we were all kind of going our separate ways,” Lopez said of the musical. “So the fans have really made it possible for us to stick together.”

As much as they owe to the fans, Lopez and Richter would not give anything away about the tour just yet. The show will be their shortest yet, compared to the usual three or three-and-a-half hour shows on YouTube. The show will be StarKid classics, Richter said, including songs like “Granger Danger” and “Kick it Up a Notch.”

“The only thing we were told to expect [about touring] is that we are going to hate each other by the end from living on the buses,” Lopez said. “So I’m hoping that doesn’t come true.”

Though Richter and Lopez are excited to meet all of the fans and new faces that have never seen a live Team StarKid performance, the fame is not something either of them are used to just yet.

“I think we all feel lucky to be able to do what we do and to be able to do it so early in our careers,” Richter said. “But we’re all going, ‘What the hell are we doing? Who do we think we are going on this month long tour?’”

Emily Richardson works on her version of Rowena Ravenclaw’s Diadem for the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II. Richardson and her friends are going as the “Seven Horcuxes” which are just a handful of the potential costumes that will be seen.

Photo Credit: Ryan Edwards | Daily Texan Staff

The premiere of the final Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” is tonight and perhaps you’re thinking of taking this last chance to dress for the occasion. Or maybe you’ve dressed up every year and you want a fresh costume for the grand finale. Either way, there are enough details lurking in your own closet to make your costume as affordable as it is amusing.

Having a black cloak or robe and wand is critical to most costumes and is the easiest way to distinguish yourself from Muggles in line. A black sheet, Snuggie or even an old black graduation robe will work for a robe. If those aren’t lying around, you can always pick up a few yards of inexpensive black cloth at a fabric store. If you don’t have a wand to call your own, simply find a medium-small sized stick and peel the bark off. Or, you can use one of the many online tutorials found on the-leaky-cauldron.org to make one out of a pencil.

Though the characters aren’t at school in this film, the most easily identifiable costumes are the house uniforms. Since it’s summer, opt for a plain white undershirt instead of a button-down shirt and pick up a black sweater vest at a nearby thrift store. If you’re crafty, you can use a plain shirt and some spray paint or paint pens to create a simple Hogwarts costume on a T-shirt to go with your black pants and dress shoes. It will still look good under your cloak and will help you avoid too many layers. Find a tie that has one of the house colors and use a paint pen to add stripes.

The way to really make your costume cohesive and complete, however, is through the smaller styling details and accessories. Here are some tips for the main characters.

Harry Potter
Though early on Harry has a ruffed mop of brown hair, it gets much more polished with each year, so guys can simply go as is. To imitate short hair for girls, side part your hair and use bobby pins to securely pin down hair. Pull your hair into a neat bun or low ponytail and tuck loose hair into shirt. As a Gryffindor, try to incorporate red and gold into your outfit as much as possible — socks, earrings, hair ribbons, shoelaces, etc. Pick up a pair of Potter’s signature glasses at a costume supply store and wrap a bit of tape around the nose piece if you like. For an extra touch, spray paint a golf ball gold and attach paper wings to it — then you’ll have the golden snitch to keep with you. Don’t forget the scar! Eyeliner works best.

Ron Weasley
Another Gryffindor. It is doubtful that anyone would be interested in dying their hair red for one night out. But if you don’t want to purchase a wig, a can of temporary red hairspray color would suffice. However, like any regular hairspray, these make your hair very stiff. Girls should put their hair up in the same fashion as Harry’s and spray on the color only after they are pleased with the styling. Carry around a toy rat and feel free to load up on snacks — Ron is always eating.

Hermione Granger
It’s no secret that the brightest witch of her age was a little rough in the hair department early on. Either you can channel that unruly mane by teasing your hair out with a comb, or opt for more polished waves or curls. To replicate Hermione’s Time-Turner necklace, wear a long gold necklace with a gold ball or circle pendant — if you can find one that spins, even better. If you’re planning on studying for summer school while you camp out in line, tape a fake book cover on the front with a magical title such as “Divination” or “Defense Against the Dark Arts.”

Draco Malfoy
Snake jewelry has been trending this year, so if you have any this would be the time to showcase it. Besides a sour, bratty scowl, Draco’s most distinctive quality is his bleached-blonde hair. A wig will work much better than a drastic hairstyle change or, though it won’t get quite as bright an effect, yellow-colored hairspray will do the job. Draco is a Slytherin through and through, so green and silver will be your colors of choice. Using a washable black marker, draw the dark mark on your forearm (you can find stencils online) and make yourself a small badge or pin that says “Inquisition Squad,” from Umbridge’s reign of Hogwarts in the fifth book, to wear on your chest.

Luna Lovegood
This Ravenclaw (blue and bronze) is characterized by her long, blonde, wild hair and dreamy, spacey demeanor. In the movie, Luna wears bright plaid pink high tops, so wear your favorite bright shoes. Using a tutorial online from DIY Fashion, create a pair of Spectrespecs, her kooky, pink, hand-shaped glasses. And make your own copy of The Quibbler to carry around by printing a template cover from online and pasting it over an old magazine. Feel free to spout off any weird or outlandish thoughts you have — if you’re lucky, someone might call you Loony Lovegood. If you are looking for a snack to sneak in with you, opt for your favorite flavor pudding cup.

Though no one would discourage you from dressing as your favorite character, the most economical way to go is always with your natural features. If you have billowing blonde hair, Luna Lovegood should work. Red hair (and a hand-me-down-robe)? You must be a Weasley.

Worse comes to worst, though, you can always dress as a tourist and call yourself a Muggle.

Printed on 07/14/2011 as: Costumes an easy craft for final movie