Ani, Team StarKid’s Star Wars parody, made its YouTube debut last night after live performances this summer. Watch the show – and read a few words from the creators – right here.

Team StarKid have created a teasing and loving homage to George Lucas’s Star Wars universe in Ani, the story of Anakin Skywalker – that is, of course, Darth Vader – set in the time period between the prequel trilogy and the original Episodes IV-VI. Ani premiered at Chicago’s Stage 773 on July 3, and ran for five weeks along side The Trail To Oregon! as the major productions of StarKid’s “summer season.”

Ani closed on August 10, but, as per usual, Team StarKid have brought the show to YouTube to share with their huge online following. If you missed out on visiting Chicago this summer, watch Ani here and now!

Ani stars Chris Allen as Anakin Skywalker, Brian Holden as Jar Jar Binks, Nick Lang as Obi-Wan Kenobi, with a full cast including Julia Albain, Denise Donovan, Eric Kahn Gale, Joe Moses, Meredith Stepien and Joe Walker. The show was written by Nick and Matt Lang, and features music by Clark Baxtresser and Pierce Siebers as TalkFine. Unlike Team StarKid’s other musical productions, Ani’s music is performed by the band rather than the characters – more like a film score than musical theatre. TalkFine’s soundtrack for Ani will be made available on iTunes.

If you’re keen to know more before watching, Hypable staff member Danielle Zimmerman saw Ani live this summer and reviewed it for us:

One of our favorite scenes in the entire show comes in the second act with just a few characters sitting around a table. What makes this scene so awesome is the fact that they rip apart and expose all of the most gaping flaws in the prequels in a single conversation. It’s not bashing, per say, but rather a really great way of paying tribute to the source material while also making fun of all of the plot holes and ridiculous story points.

Since their University of Michigan days, the founders of StarKid have always wanted to do a Star Wars show, but it’s taken over five years for them to finally take the plunge. Creator Nick Lang comments: “Star Wars is a tricky thing to tackle. There have already been countless great parodies out there, so it’s tough to find something original to say about the franchise. It took us a long time to settle on what was going to be in the show and what wasn’t. We ended up focusing on how the prequel trilogy changed how we perceived the character of Darth Vader. The show is also kinda about George Lucas in a way, and it’s a little autobiographical for us as well.”

We spoke more with Nick, along with composer Clark Baxtresser, about StarKid’s departure from the traditional musical format (“we chose to do it this way because we wanted the show to feel like a Rocky movie”), the reaction the show got from old-school Star Wars fans (“they didn’t look like our usual demographic”), and just exactly what they think of Jar Jar Binks (“he’s probably the world’s biggest fictional victim of cyber-bullying.”) Keep your eye on Hypable later today to read our full interview with Nick and Clark about the creation of Ani – but watch the show first, because it’s going to be a little bit spoilery!

Watch StarKid’s Ani and tell us what you think!

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