A Very Potter Musical (originally titled Harry Potter: The Musical and often shortened to AVPM) is a musical with music and lyrics by Darren Criss and A.J. Holmes and a book by Matt Lang, Nick Lang and Brian Holden. The story is a parody based on several of the Harry Potter novels, particularly Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling, as well as their film counterparts.
A Very Potter Musical tells the story of Harry Potter's return to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, his participation in the House Cup Championship, the trials and tribulations of adolescence, and the return of the dark wizard Lord Voldemort and the Golden Trio's attempts to destroy the Horcruxes.
The musical was performed in April 9–11, 2009 on the University of Michigan campus and is currently available to watch online. It was produced by StarKid Productions and directed by Matt Lang. The musical starred Darren Criss as Harry Potter, Joey Richter as Ron Weasley, Bonnie Gruesen as Hermione Granger, Jaime Lyn Beatty as Ginny Weasley, Lauren Lopez as Draco Malfoy, Brian Rosenthal as Quirinus Quirrell and Joe Walker as Lord Voldemort. In late June 2009, the group put the entire musical up on YouTube and it became a viral video, obtaining millions of views.
The musical allowed StarKid to create subsequent musicals, as Me and My Dick (2009), A Very Potter Sequel (2010), Starship (2011), Holy Musical B@man! (2012) and Twisted: The Untold Story of a Royal Visier (2013). A third installment called A Very Potter Senior Year premiered at LeakyCon on August 11, 2012.
Harry Potter, the legendary "Boy Who Lived", rejoices that he is entering his second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with his best friend Ron Weasley and frumpy nerd Hermione Granger ("Gotta Get Back to Hogwarts"). Headmaster of Hogwarts Albus Dumbledore welcomes everyone back, skips the Sorting Ceremony and introduces the House Cup Tournament, in which a champion will be chosen on behalf of each House (Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin) to fight for the House Cup.
The names are chosen out of a magical trophy by Potions Master, Severus Snape, with Harry being chosen for Gryffindor. The other champions are his crush Cho Chang (Ravenclaw), her current boyfriend Cedric Diggory (Hufflepuff) and Harry's obnoxious rival, Draco Malfoy (Slytherin). Hermione then voices her concern about the bloodstained history of the House Cup Tournament but no one can drop out due to the enchantment on the trophy from which the names were drawn. Draco attempts to intimidate Harry by claiming that he will transfer to a prestigious wizarding academy on Mars called Pigfarts, but Hermione threatens him and forces him to back off.
Meanwhile, Defense Against The Dark Arts teacher Quirinus Quirrell is secretly conspiring to revive the evil wizard Lord Voldemort, who is parasitically attached to the back of his head after Voldemort's previous defeat by an infant Harry Potter. They bicker about this arrangement, which causes inconvenience to both of them due to their conflicting personalities ("Different As Can Be").
Harry convinces Hermione to do all of his school work for him while he writes a love song intended to win the heart of Cho Chang. He tests out the song on Ron's younger sister Ginny ("Ginny's Song"), while being oblivious to Ginny's own crush on him. Harry, Ron and Hermione use his Cloak of Invisibility to sneak off and investigate what the first round of the House Cup Tournament could entail, leaving Ginny alone to lament her unrequited love ("Harry").
Voldemort convinces Quirrell to go out and celebrate the progress of their evil plan instead of grading papers. Harry, Ron, and Hermione discover that the first round will involve dragons, while also eavesdropping on a conversation by Malfoy that hints at an unrealised crush on Hermione. Voldemort and Quirrel return from a night of drunken escapades, reminiscing on past events and how they have become friends from their time spent (literally) together ("Different As Can Be (Reprise)").
Harry continues to neglect his preparation for the tournament, and is caught completely off-guard when he is forced to face a deadly Hungarian Horntail in battle. With no other choice, Harry summons his guitar and serenades the dragon into submission, allowing him to move on to the next round of the competition ("The Dragon Song").
The annual Yule Ball is announced, and Ginny attempts to ask Harry to be her partner. Unfortunately, Harry is dead set on asking Cho and unknowingly rejects Ginny, causing her to run off in tears. Harry plays his song for Cho ("Ginny's Song Reprise (Cho's Song)") but is rejected because Cho has already agreed to go with Cedric, leaving him and Ron as the only two male students without partners. Quirrell relieves Voldemort of his worries surrounding their master plan as the two weigh the pros and cons of their upcoming physical separation. Voldemort realises he has become close with Quirrell, and that he wishes to remain his friend.
At the Yule Ball, the normally-unattractive Hermione suddenly shows up with a gorgeous makeover, causing Ron and Malfoy to suddenly realise their feelings for her ("Granger Danger"). Harry develops an attraction to Ginny and asks her to dance, leaving Ron to get "drunk" on Butterbeer and fight over Hermione with Malfoy, causing her to lash out at both of them. Harry pulls back from a kiss with Ginny, stating that they cannot be together because of his friendship with Ron. Ginny leaves in tears and a flustered Harry attempts to regain his dignity by cutting in with Cho, causing him to get into a fight with Cedric. As Harry grabs for a weapon, he touches the enchanted ladle that Quirrel had planted earlier, teleporting both Cedric and himself to a mysterious graveyard.
Quirrel appears, killing Cedric with the Killing Curse and using the full Body-Bind curse on Harry. Snape then appears; while Quirrel and Voldemort submerge themselves in a large cauldron, Snape uses his own hand and Harry's blood to complete a ritual that successfully revives Voldemort, who joyfully celebrates with his Death Eaters ("To Dance Again!"). Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange arrives to welcome back her master and former lover, and reveals their plan was to use Quirrell as a scapegoat for the murder of Harry. Heartbroken at the betrayal of their friendship, Quirrell falls out with Voldemort and is taken to Azkaban. Before Voldemort can kill Harry, Harry manages to use the ladle to escape back to Hogwarts, where he exclaims in horror that Voldemort has returned.
The Minister of Magic is in disbelief of Voldemort's return, despite evidence such as Voldemort's new video blog and his review of 17 Again, starring an idol of the show, Zac Efron. Meanwhile, Harry is consumed with stress over the situation and ostracizes his friends with his self-centered behaviour. Malfoy attempts to mock Harry, but is humiliated once again in front of the student body and vows revenge. Ginny attempts to clarify her relationship with Harry, but he explains (using the Spider-Man film trilogy as reference) that as long as Voldemort is at large, they cannot be together. As Ginny runs off in tears once more, a disguised Dumbledore summons Harry to his office to discuss Voldemort.
Snape reveals himself as an undercover Death Eater and meets with Voldemort, who is in a deep depression following his fight with Quirrell. He brings in Malfoy, who tells Voldemort of a secret entrance into Hogwarts in exchange for a rocket ship to Mars ("Pigfarts"). Voldemort also makes Malfoy enter into a binding magical contract to kill Dumbledore for him.
Harry, Ron and Hermione arrive at Dumbledore's office for the meeting. There, Dumbledore explains the horcruxes that sustain Voldemort's existence, revealing that he has already destroyed five of the six and giving Harry magical equipment to locate and destroy the last one, which is hidden somewhere in Hogwarts. Just then, Death Eaters burst into the office and apprehend Dumbledore. Malfoy prepares to uphold his end of the bargain, but following a pep talk from Dumbledore finds himself unable to strike the killing blow. Snape takes the initiative and kills Dumbledore himself, which so traumatises Harry that he declares he must fight Voldemort alone.
Voldemort successfully takes over the Ministry of Magic, but finds that he still pines for the companionship of Quirrell. Voldemort, Quirrell and Harry all lament those they have lost ("Missing You"). Afterwards, a Death Eater informs Voldemort that Hogwarts has fallen, and Voldemort prepares to depart to Hogwarts itself.
Ginny finds Harry within Hogwarts and attempts to convince him that he has the power to save everyone; however, Harry is in denial and bemoans the unrealistic expectations and pressure placed on him as "The Boy Who Lived". Ginny, Ron, and Hermione reassure him that he is not alone in his fight against evil ("Not Alone"). With the help of Malfoy, who has changed his ways, Harry and Ron head to Dumbledore's office to destroy the last horcrux while Ginny and Hermione attempt to contact the Order of the Phoenix. Before parting, Ron apologizes to Hermione for his behaviour at the Yule Ball and the two share a sloppy, but passionate kiss.
Harry, Ron and Malfoy discover that the last horcrux is Dumbledore's Zac Efron poster, which attempts to turn Ron against Harry by taking the forms of Voldemort and Hermione and preying on his insecurities. Ron fights off the deception and destroys the horcrux, reaffirming his friendship with Harry.
A group of Death Eaters led by Bellatrix storm the office, having captured Ginny and Hermione. Snape reveals himself to be a double agent and attempts to save the students, but is struck down by a snake conjured by Bellatrix. However, Ron and Ginny's mother Molly comes to the rescue and kills Bellatrix. With his dying breath, Snape reveals that Harry became a seventh horcrux on the night of his parents' death.
Voldemort arrives at Hogwarts and demands the student body turn over Harry in exchange for their lives. Harry realises that he must die to save everyone and surrenders himself to Voldemort, who kills him. Finding himself in what he believes to be a realm between life and death, Harry meets Dumbledore, who explains that Voldemort has inadvertently destroyed his seventh horcrux by killing Harry. Dumbledore sends Harry back to the realm of the living before departing to Pigfarts on the back of Rumbleroar, its lion headmaster.
Ron and Hermione rally the remaining students of Hogwarts ("Voldemort is Goin' Down"), their efforts greatly bolstered with the return of Harry. Voldemort breaks through the students' barricade and is shocked to find that Harry is still alive. Harry explains that his act of self-sacrifice has rendered the student populace of Hogwarts immune to Voldemort's magic, and that Voldemort's lack of concern for others will ultimately be his downfall. Voldemort attempts the Killing Curse, but Harry reflects the spell and kills him.
The student body celebrate the death of Voldemort, with Dumbledore's will tying up the last loose ends by posthumously awarding the House Cup to Gryffindor and appointing Harry as the new Headmaster. Harry passionately kisses Ginny, and all the students leave to throw a party.
In Azkaban, Quirrell learns of Voldemort's death and is devastated. However, the last remnant of Voldemort's spirit comes back to Quirrell, because he lives on in Quirrell's happy memories of him and the love they had for each other. Voldemort shares the lessons he learnt and how he grew as a person, and the two joyfully reunite. The rest of the cast come onstage and they all link arms, showing the unity their adventure has brought. ("Not Alone/Goin' Back to Hogwarts (Reprise)").
A.J. Holmes, the piano player for the show, is involved in the actual musical twice, first leaving his duties as the piano player to give Ron some Twizzlers (not Red Vines, which would be saved for the next musical), and second being threatened by Voldemort when he starts playing sad music to accompany Voldemort thinking about Quirrell.A rendition of "Granger Danger" performed by Darren Criss is played during the credits of the YouTube version of the production.
While reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Nick Lang and a few others attending the University of Michigan discussed the possibility of Draco Malfoy having a crush on Hermione Granger because of him constantly bullying her, and created the concept of a song "Granger Danger," which led to the idea of making a Harry Potter musical. When the script was being written, they asked Darren Criss if they could use his songs "Sami," which was originally written for the web series Little White Lie, and "Not Alone," which they ended up using as a model for the show.
Harry Potter: The Musical was performed April 9–11, 2009, on the University of Michigan campus. Soon after, the group posted the entire musical on YouTube. However, it was later taken down and edited to make it less inappropriate for the younger audiences, but was posted again, slightly edited and under the new name A Very Potter Musical in late June 2009.
A cast recording of the production was released in 2009 through the StarKid Productions website. All of the songs featured on stage are present on the recording. The group also released the album through Bandcamp on July 29, 2010.
Entertainment Weekly named the musical one of the 10 Best Viral Videos of 2009.