Comic-Con lovers take note – “Starmites Lite,” currently presented by Carroll County Arts Council, is a comic book come to life as teenage Eleanor finds herself in Innerspace, Earth’s parallel universe. In this rock musical performed by middle school-aged actors, Eleanor has the arduous task of saving the universe against the evil powers of Diva and Shak Graa. “Starmites Lite” will transport you to another dimension and entertain you with fascinating characters, plenty of action, and some rocking costumes and special effects.
…”Starmites” is a rocking good time for comic book lovers – and non-comic readers – alike.
Eleanor (Sara Stromberg) has built a fantasy world around the sci-fi comic books she collects. When she mysteriously finds herself in the world of her favorite comic book, she discovers she’s the legendary Milady, a superhero who must lead the Starmites on their quest to save the universe. In order to conquer the evil force of “the cruelty,” she has to battle Shak Graa (Carolyne Paschal). And, as if that’s not enough, she has to go head-to-head with Diva (Danielle Rizzo), Queen of Innerspace, and her myriad of Banshees, who have a ravenous hunger for the Starmites. Meanwhile, Eleanor falls for Spacepunk (Patrick Scott), the leader of the Starmites, but her newfound love is rudely interrupted when Diva’s daughter, Bizarbara (Lilian Stoneberger) decides that Spacepunk is the only intergalactic man for her.
As Eleanor, Stromberg is a standout, completely comfortable in her role as teenage superhero. In ‘Superhero Girl,’ she also shows she’s a talented singer – and can really hold a note. Scott as Spacepunk is a born leader but also shows his tender side as he sings ‘Love Duet’ with Stromberg. The Banshees (too many to name!) have some great dance numbers, including ‘Ravenous’ and ‘Hard to Be Diva,’ and are completely menacing as they crawl out of the audience in one of the numbers. Paschal is frightening as Shak Graa and has mastered the art of the evil laugh (‘mwahaha’). And Rizzo is the mother you love to hate as Diva, controlling her crew of Banshees and her daughter, Bizarbara.
Props have to be given to the costume and makeup crew since they completely transformed the actors. The Starmites are decked out a la David Bowie in striped leggings, gelled hair, and all sorts of metallic accessories. Glittery stars on their t-shirts add the perfect touch (after all, they are called the ‘Starmites’). Diva has some amazing velvet leggings and a coat only a diva could pull off. The Banshees look positively ravenous, dressed in black and made up with red masks around the eyes. And Paschal is completely transformed as Shak Graa, with creepy red and white face makeup. Since the makeup and costumes for the cast are so outrageous, Eleanor really stands out as the ‘strange’ one in her run-of-the-mill t-shirt, jeans and a plaid shirt tied around the waist.
The technology used in the show also needs to be commended. Shak Graa appears larger than life on a screen behind the actors as he threatens Eleanor and the Starmites (I admit I was a little creeped out). The sound effects when the cruelty is played or Diva uses her magic enhances the comic book feel of the show. And then there’s the transformation of Bizarbara into Eleanor (ok… maybe that was more a quick change than technology).
Sure, the lyrics are uninspired and the plot is a bit convoluted, but all in all, “Starmites” is a rocking good time for comic book lovers – and non-comic readers – alike. This musical has it all – evil villains, a girl superhero, a love interest, and some fantastic punk rock costumes. Go directly to Innerspace to see it.
Running Time: 1 hour and 50 minutes with one intermission.
“Starmites” is no longer playing. For more information about the Carroll County Arts Council, click here.