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Posted on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 12:45 p.m.

'Glee''s Darren Criss may return to Ann Arbor for new Potter musical; Team Starkid sets Chicago premiere

By Jenn McKee

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U-M grad and "Glee" star Darren Criss

Team Starkid — the young creative team behind the University of Michigan-born viral online hits "A Very Potter Musical" and "A Very Potter Sequel" — recently announced, via an interview with, two news items: Not only is the team on the verge of premiering a brand new original musical in Chicago in February, but it also hopes to stage a third Harry Potter-inspired musical in Ann Arbor, on U-M's campus, before the final film installment of the series hits movie theaters next year.

And because TS member and U-M theater grad ('09) Darren Criss — whose star has skyrocketed virtually overnight by way of playing Blaine, Kurt's friend and mentor on "Glee" — played the lead role in the first two musical Harry Potter spoofs, in addition to co-writing the catchy score, TS is hoping to work around Criss' schedule to ensure that he can be part of the third show as well. The first two Potter musicals were originally Basement Arts student productions at U-M that were filmed and put online.

According to the Starkids involved with the interview — Brian Holden, Joe Walker, and brothers Matt and Nick Lang — the team has a story in mind for a third Potter show; plans to reuse the set from the previous Potter shows; and would put the show together during a two-week rehearsal period.

"We know what the jokes are, and I think the main thing, the main concern, would be if Darren could be in it and do the music," TS members stated in the interview. "We’re not sure about the music or if Darren has the time to do it with the 'Glee' thing. And obviously we’d never ask Darren to leave 'Glee' because it’s the opportunity of a lifetime — so we hope there’s time."

Meanwhile, TS plans to post an announcement video this week about tickets going on sale for their newest stage venture, "Starship," which tells the story of a misfit bug on a bug planet who's eager to befriend the humans that arrive to help colonize the planet. The bug even falls in love with one of humans, making the show a kind of sci-fi/romantic musical mash-up. Though Criss won't be in the show, he wrote its music.

"Starship" will play February 10-23 at Center on Halsted in Chicago. Here's a short preview video:

Julia Albain — one of many Starkids now living in Chicago — is currently involved with preproduction work on "Starship," and she'll play one of the humans who arrives on the bug planet.

"It’s an ambitious project for us," Albain told "We’re building these bug puppets, and the actors will be puppeteering the bugs while also playing human characters."

Regarding the tentative third Potter show, Albain said, "Unfortunately, it's all about scheduling. The boys have the story, and we always wanted to finish it off. We thought that with three, we could put it to rest. But Darren's a season regular (on 'Glee') now, … and the 'Glee' cast goes on tour this summer, so it would be tough. But knowing the boys, and knowing everyone's willingness to make things work, I can honestly say that if it doesn’t work, we will have exhausted every possible option."

Albain noted that Criss, during his senior year at U-M, had the opportunity to audition for the role of Finn for "Glee"'s pilot. "It's funny," said Albain. "I remember him in my apartment, and we were running lines with him for the pilot. But he didn't get it, obviously. He'd gone in for 'Glee' a few times. This final time, this most recent time, I remember talking to him on the phone the night before, and he was just exhausted by the process. He kept getting called in again and again, and he wasn't getting it, and since a lot of us were in Chicago, he was feeling lonely. He was on the edge, on sort of a breaking point. But that’s when he landed that role."

And given the overwhelmingly positive response Criss has received since his November 9 debut on the show, my guess is that if the third Potter musical does, in fact, happen in Ann Arbor during this next year, "Glee" fans (also known as Gleeks) will join the throngs of those vying for tickets. Stay tuned.