Starmites is one of University Theatre's most ambitious undertakings in recent years. The light rock musical is set in a comic book fantasy world that features the superheroic Starmites, a collection of "droids," the Arch Creep of Chaos, and a half-lizard, half-humanoid.

Best of all, says director William A. Earl, the play is suitable for the entire family.

"It's squeaky clean," he said, "and a great play for kids. It's fun, it's got computer-generated music, lively dance numbers, sound effects, and even fog and pyrotechnics. It's a bit of a departure for OSU; we don't do a lot of fantasy shows."

Starmites will open on Thursday, May 16, at the Withycombe Theatre, 30th and Campus Way. Other performances are scheduled May 17-18 and May 23-25. Curtain time for all performances in 8:15 p.m. Ticket information is available by calling 541-737-2784.

Earl said the Tony-nominated Starmites is a lighthearted coming of age story about Eleanor, a comic book-loving teenager slowly awakening to her own self-worth. That awakening quickens when she is transported into a parallel universe, eventually becoming Milady, Superhero of Innerspace.

Eleanor's mother is a quiet, unassuming woman who loves her daughter, wishing only she would outgrow her comic book craze. In the parallel universe, however, the mother is Diva, the imposing and powerful Queen of Innerspace.

The Starmites - Space Punk, Herbie Harrison, Dazzle Razzledorf and Ack Ack Ackerman - are wisecracking, sworn protectors of Milady, as she tangles with Shak Graa, the Arch Creep of Chaos, who is out to destroy both Earth and Innerspace.

Diva is surrounded by her henchwomen - the Banshees - who are peculiar bird-like creatures that answer Diva's every command and provide a constant nightmare for the Starmites.

The diverse cast is headed by Sarah Ericksen, a junior from The Dalles majoring in theater arts, who portrays Eleanor and Milady. Her mother and Diva are played by Elizabeth Tanner, a non-student from Hastings, Minn.

Also playing key roles are Judy Ringle, a Corvallis community member, as Shak Graa; and Jason Cooper, a junior theater major from Albany, as Space Punk, captain of the Starmites.

The production staff includes Martin John Gallagher, music director; Charlotte Headrick and Tanner, choreography; Paulus Van Breeman, vocal coach; Marion O. Rossi, Jr. and Earl, set design; Marie Chesley, costume design; and Christopher Wood and Dan Carlgren, lighting design and special effects.

Starmites was written by Barry Keating and Stuart Ross and features a wide range of musical styles, from rock and roll, to ballads, to reggae, Gallagher pointed out.

OSU's University Theatre will offer a narrative description for visually impaired theater patrons and signing interpretation for the hearing impaired during its Friday, May 24 performance. Call the theater office at 541-737-2853 for more information.

The cast of Starmites includes: ALOHA

Steve Fuller, a freshman in biochemistry and biophysics, as Herbie Harrison


Cyndi Weir, a senior in theater arts, as a Banshee


Chris Wood, a senior in theater arts, as Ack Ack Ackerman


Jason Cooper, a junior in theater arts, as Space Punk


Tanner Wood, a freshman in civil engineering, as Dazzle Razzledorf


Sarah Ericksen, a junior in theater arts, as Eleanor and Milady


Frances Leach, a freshman in elementary education, as a Banshee


Terry Terrell, a post-baccalaureate in theater and music, as a Banshee


Melissa Ho, a senior in business accounting, as a Banshee


Elizabeth Tanner, as Mother and Diva

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William Earl, 541-737-2853