Day in the Life: Team StarKid (Featuring Darren Criss)
Day in the Life: Team StarKid (Featuring Darren Criss)

As individual StarKids emerge the crowd gasps and squeals, pitching louder each time. Even though Darren's appearance isn't a surprise, when he finally takes the stage following the first song camera phones shoot into the air and stay there. While it's definitely clear Darren is new to the routines, nothing looks sloppy, and the crowd adores anything that edges on imperfection for its authenticity.


Go Behind the Scenes

• PHOTOS: Candid Team StarKid


Throughout the show not one of the StarKids is relegated to supporting player, each taking a chance to shine during the hour and a half set. Upstairs June and Corey Lubowich, the production designer, take advantage of the quiet and watch the performance on a silent video stream. Sometimes they go down for a full show, but 11 stops into the tour and they're not feeling the need. In most tour circumstances the opening band would also be lounging in the green room, but Charlene and her band take on double-duty as the StarKid band -- there's not much room for frivolity or excess in the StarKid world. Minus Darren and Jim, the rest of the crew spends most of the show on stage, although they do all pile off en mass between the finale and encore.

What was contained professionalism leading up to the show has bubbled over into unbridled joy, and while they remain focused on their performance the show's made them loose, brushing shoulders and joking on the small ramp that leads back to the stage, pointing out raunchy graffiti left behind by past performers. They come knocking off after the true finale, laughter echoing off the endless stairs to their dressing room about the balls being "out of control" tonight. It's beach ball warfare. Darren might have been more helpful managing them after all.

Upstairs clothes come off in typical unselfconscious theater kid fashion, and the group hurries to pack their things so they can enjoy their final night in Los Angeles. Hugs and well wishes backstage are brief, since they need to load out their own set and equipment before they can celebrate. It's not exactly Beatlemania, but kids do run, scream and snap photos as the StarKids hoist equipment into their trailer for an 11 p.m. departure.

The StarKids exist straddling a very fine line between Theater and Rock and Roll. Rock stars headlining House of Blues across the U.S. don't load their own gear, and theater productions don't have roadies. But StarKid has always been a meeting point for the grand new world order of notoriety and the established culture of celebrity. In the last seconds before they're due on stage, Joe and Darren start singing a parody to one of their own songs, substituting the word "fart" for a key lyric, and soon the whole crew is harmonizing, transcending from a passing fancy to a moment. It's sophomoric, but if you put 1,000 monkeys in a room with typewriters, eventually one of them will produce Shakespeare. StarKid isn't aiming for the Bard, but they're adept at taking the absurd, the weird and simply what they find collectively funny and tapping into something that inspires their audience of digital natives to embrace the wacky and transform it into their own narrative. Their jokes inspire GIFs and art and parody in their own right, and then circles back to engage in the real world, and ouroboros of pop culture.

They're the new fame.