A Very Potter Musical is a parody that pokes fun at its subject while never losing sight of the fact that everyone loves Harry Potter. A group of college students from the University of Michigan created a three hour musical and uploaded it in short scenes to YouTube. It quickly went viral and spawned two sequels and a theater company.
The Harry Potter books will always be first in my heart, because they are the foundation for all things Hogwarts. But when it comes to visual representations of the stories, I believe the cheap student-made production far exceeds the multi-billion dollar movie franchise.
Like the books themselves, AVPM makes sure that the darkest storylines are littered with humor, though to be fair, the musical veers into the absurd far more often than its source material. I love how AVPM captures the heart of its characters by heightening their quirks and little plot holes. Dumbledore admits:
So basically, I’ve been putting everyone who looks like a good guy into Gryffindor, a bad guy into Slytherin and the others can go wherever the hell they want.
(See A Very Potter Wiki for more amazing quotes.)
In AVPM, Harry is a curly-haired egomaniac with self-esteem issues, Ron is his biggest cheerleader, and Hermione is the exasperated brains of the operation who wishes she fit in more. Dumbledore is a bit of a creep, and is perhaps the only caricature of which I’m not fond.
The musical does its finest work with the story’s villains: Draco is played by a tiny girl in a blond wig, a pompous idiot who desperately wants to be friends with The Boy Who Lived. Snape boasts the best accent in the show and is condescending, insecure, and absurd. And Voldemort is attached to Quirrell in the show’s best sight-gag until he is resurrected in all his glitter-caped, dance-loving glory.
You think killing people will make them like you, but it doesn’t… It just makes them dead.
As wonderful as the characters are, the whole production would fall apart if the music wasn’t as excellent as it is. Luckily, these college students are incredibly talented. The songs give us glimpses into the character’s psyches, revealing depths they won’t share while quipping with their friends. Some of them are just plain fun, and all of them are excellent road trip fodder. My particular favorites, from each of the three musicals, are as follows (click the link to watch them performed on YouTube):
Well, there goes my heart. Watching these scenes to put in the links twisted my heart, and I might have teared up during both “I Was” and “Everything Ends.” I guess that’s the best way to end this recommendation. These musicals are hilarious, heartbreaking, and they capture the heart of Harry Potter: that good can triumph over evil with the power of love and friendship.