For the first time in memory -- and quite possibly ever -- a student-produced college musical's cast recording debuts on a Billboard chart. And the student show album that takes the honor is the, ahem, cheeky "Me And My Dick" from a troupe at the University of Michigan.
Kudos then go to the Team StarKid production group and the U ofM's Basement Arts student-run theater organization, as the troupe's cast album of its cheeky original show "Me and My Dick" debuts at No. 11 on the Top Cast Albums chart.
Note: The "My Dick" video above might not be suitable for all audiences.
The album -- released on March 9 by Tunecore to iTunes -- is sandwiched on the chart between two unlikely neighbors: the original London cast recording of "The Phantom of the Opera" at No. 10 and the Broadway cast album from "Rock of Ages" at No. 12. The No. 1 Cast album this week is the new London cast recording of "Love Never Dies."
A.J. Holmes, who co-wrote the show's music and lyrics with Carlos Valdes and Darren Criss, says "We can't believe the company we're in. So many of our classmates just could not believe this news. Least of all us. We do think the No. 12 (cast album) must be very confused."
"Dick," according to its press materials, is about a "boy with a very special relationship with his very best friend ... his Dick! Together they face the trials of growing up, love, sex and high school, but these two best pals are in for the adventure of a lifetime."
Brian Holden, who co-wrote the show's book with Matt Lang, Nick Lang and Eric Kahn Gale, sums up the show thusly, "What if you could have a conversation with your penis?," he says. "What would that be like? What happens when you don't see eye-to-eye?" That dynamic launches the bawdy romantic comedy with song titles like "Land of the Dicks," "Gotta Find His Dick" and "Flight of the Pussies."
In the show, the boy is played by Joey Richter, while his Dick is portrayed by Joe Walker. In order to convey his character's unique attributes, Walker is costumed with a pink knit cap and genie-like pants that balloon at the ankle. The musical had a limited run last October at the university but a filmed version is available to view at Youtube.com.
"Dick's" journey to the stage began in a so-called 24-hour theater festival through the Basement Arts program at the university, where students were tasked to create a show in just one day. Holmes participated in the festival and was paired up with Matt Lang, who would later go on to direct "Dick."
"It was an idea that Matt and (his brother) Nick Lang had been kicking around for a while," Holmes says. "We started mapping out the show, fleshing out a silly, funny plot. We stayed up 'til morning trying to fit it all together before the actors showed up at noon." By the next morning, Holmes had hooked up with Valdes and at the end of the day, "Dick" was born. "The reception was fantastic, and right away we started talking about making a real show of it," Holmes says.
Most of the show's creators are also members of the StarKid production team -- consisting of current University of Michigan students and recent graduates. For example, Holmes and Valdes are both currently juniors in the school's Musical Theatre department, while Holden graduated in 2008 with a bachelor of fine arts in acting and performance. The latter has since moved to Los Angeles along with a number of his StarKid co-horts.
The StarKid team first gained widespread notoriety when it staged a musical parody of the "Harry Potter" books titled "A Very Potter Musical." The show, which premiered in April of 2009 at the university, has since collected hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube. It's become so popular, a sequel named (appropriately enough) "A Very Potter Sequel" will take a bow at the university on May 14. After that in July, the creative team will participate in a live panel and perform at Infinitus, the Harry Potter fan convention at the Universal Orlando Resort.
Presently, the "Dick" guys are awaiting word if "Me and My Dick" will be selected for inclusion in the upcoming New York International Fringe Festival. In the past, a number of the festival's shows have gone on to off-Broadway and Broadway runs, most famously with "Urinetown: the Musical." The show debuted at the 1999 festival and went on to Broadway in 2001, eventually earning three Tony Awards and seven additional nominations.
So if all goes very, very well there may be a whole lot of "Dick" in New York come this summer when the Fringe Festival opens on Aug. 13.