1988 American Stage Festival
Starmites is a musical with music and lyrics by Barry Keating and a book by Stuart Ross and Barry Keating. It was first presented in 1980 Off-Off-Broadway by the Ark Theatre Company. It opened off-Broadway in 1987 and on-Broadway on April 27, 1989, where it ran for 60 performances. It received six Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical, winning none.
The story revolves around a shy teenager, Eleanor, who creates a fantasy world involving science fiction characters in her comic book collection. She escapes into her fantasy world where the "Starmites" are the guardian angels of Innerspace.
Starmites was staged by off-Broadway by Musical Theater Works at the CSC Theater in 1987, with staging by Mark Herko and featuring Liz Larsen, Gabriel Barre, and Sharon McNight. It was staged in Milford, New Hampshire at the now-defunct American Stage Festival, August 10–27, 1988. That staging was directed by Larry Carpenter, and featured Liz Larsen and Sharon McNight, all of whom would remain with the show when it opened on Broadway at Criterion Center Stage Right on April 27, 1989 and closed on June 18, 1989 after 60 performances and 35 previews. Directed and staged by Larry Carpenter with choreography by Michele Assaf, it featured Liz Larsen as Eleanor and Bizarbara, Gabriel Barre as Trinkulus, Brian Lane Green as Spacepunk, and Sharon McNight as Diva and Elinor's mother.
Currently, there are three versions of Starmites available through Samuel-French for amateur and professional performance: Starmites Lite, a junior version of Starmites indended for grade school and middle school performances; Starmites High School; and Starmites Pro, intended for professional-level performance.
Eleanor, a shy teenager, collects science fiction comic books. To avoid growing pains, she imagines herself as a superheroine, such as in the comic books ("Superhero Girl"). In her fantasy, she becomes involved in the conflict between the evil Shak Graa and the Starmites, guardian angels of Innerspace. The 'Mites believe that Eleanor is pre-ordained to save the universe from destruction ("Starmites"). Eleanor and the Starmites seek "The Cruelty," a powerful musical instrument, which they must find before it falls into the hands of Shak Graa. On their quest, they find what they believe to be a lizardly slave to Shak Graa named Trinkulus ("Trink's Narration".). Trink tells them that the Cruelty lies in Shriekwood forest. This scares the 'Mites, but their leader, Space Punk, encourages them to forge ahead. ("Afraid of the Dark").
In Shriekwood forest, Eleanor sings a soothing earthly lullaby ("Little Hero"), but amazonian women kidnap the sleeping 'Mites ("Attack of the Banshees"). The Starmites soon meet Diva, the Queen of the Banshees ("(Hard to Be) Diva"). She wants one of the Starmites to wed her awkward daughter Bizarbara to fulfill a Banshee prophecy. She also guards The Cruelty. Space Punk, and Eleanor are becoming attracted to each other ("Love Duet"), but Bizarbara also falls in love with Space Punk. He agrees to marry Diva's daughter to save his companions from torture ("Processional (Bizarbara's Wedding)") but changes his mind, unable to betray his love for Eleanor ("Milady").
Diva uses magic to disguise Bizarbara as Eleanor ("Beauty Within"), and at the wedding ceremony between Punk and "Eleanor," the Cruelty is revealed and Trinkulus plays it, casting a hypnotic spell ("The Cruelty Stomp"). Trinkulus reveals that he is truly Shak Graa in disguise and seizes the Cruelty. He prepares to sacrifice Bizarbara (who he believes to be Eleanor), which will enable him to become Master of Earth and Innerspace. Diva then joins forces with the real Eleanor and the Starmites to rescue Bizarbara ("Reach Right Down"). Bizarbara sacrifices herself to save the Earth. Eleanor, the wounded Space Punk and the Starmites battle and destroy Shak Graa ("Immolation"). It turns out that Eleanor is Diva's real daughter, the legendary Milady. Bizarbara finds her birth mother on Earth, and harmony is restored. Shak Graa, however, has escaped to Earth, leaving one loose end ("Finale").
A recording featuring members of the original Broadway cast was released on April 27, 1999 on the Original Cast Record label (ASIN: B00000GBYT).
Awards and nominations
Original Broadway production
|1989||Tony Award||Best Musical||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical||Gabriel Barre||Nominated|
|Brian Lane Green||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical||Sharon McNight||Nominated|
|Best Direction of a Musical||Larry Carpenter||Nominated|
|Best Choreography||Michele Assaf||Nominated|
|Theatre World Award||Sharon McNight||Won|
- "Opening This Week". The New York Times. October 26, 1980, p. D56
- Gussgow, Mel. "The Stage: 'Starmites,' A Musical". The New York Times. April 29, 1987, p.C16
- Starmites Lite information, SamuelFrench.com, accessed April 21, 2012
- Starmites High School information, SamuelFrench.com, accessed April 21, 2012
- http://www.starmites.com/external-link#http://www.samuelfrench.com/store/product_info.php/products_id/2763 Starmites Pro information, SamuelFrench.com, accessed April 21, 2012
- http://www.amazon.com/Starmites-1998-Original-Cast-Members/dp/B00000GBYT amazon.com recording