You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Stars in Your Eyes

Man in the Moon/

Man in the Moon/

Taylor St. Joseph …… James Stovall

Reginald Barclay ….. David M. Lutken

Charles Swanson ….. John Braden

Jo Jensen ….. Cristy Carlson Romano

Annie Patterson ….. Barbara Walsh

Helen Stevens ….. Heather MacRae

Leigh Hunt-Smith …… Crista Moore

Chip Meyrelles’ first musical, the gentle and utterly sincere “Stars in Your Eyes,” is in many ways a welcome antidote to the noisy incoherence of the recently opened “Saturday Night Fever” on Broadway. A talent to watch, Meyrelles has kept things small — anincreasing rarity in musical theater — while showcasing himself as a mighty triple threat: composer, lyricist and librettist. On the plus side, “Stars in Your Eyes” resembles an after-school TV special set to song, and many of those songs are lovely, indeed. But as for Meyrelles being a composer, lyricist and librettist? His work as a librettist threatens to undermine his efforts as composer-lyricist. And besides, whatever happened to the occupation of book writer?

The story of “Stars in Your Eyes,” set in 1962, is refreshingly simple: High school science teacher Reginald Barclay (David M. Lutken) attempts to save the local planetarium from the bulldozer while encouraging his prize pupil Jo Jensen (Christy Carlson Romano) to enroll in an all-male school for budding astronomers. As with its downright corny title, “Stars in Your Eyes” traffics in an optimism uncluttered by such outside-world complications as Sputnik, the Cuban Missile Crisis and JFK’s assassination. The former two are mentioned in passing and Mr. Barclay’s fiancee, the snooty and very rich Leigh Hunt-Smith (Crista Moore), does wear a Jackie Kennedy pink pillbox hat for most of act one.

But as for edgy controversy, that’s about it. Sometimes “Stars in Your Eyes” seems to have been written in 1962 and not just set there; at these moments, Meyrelles’ book-writing needs sharpening. Even after-school TV specials don’t view the Moon — a character who just happens to narrate “Stars in Your Eyes” — with blinders on.

As a composer, Meyrelles is much more assured. He’s filled his musical with rich, soaring melodies that only very occasionally pay homage to Stephen Sondheim. In time, he may learn to use his songs to further the action rather than just comment on it. Still, it is a relief to report that “Stars in Your Eyes” does not contain yet another rinky-tinky-tink-tink score a la William Finn.

Gabriel Barre directs a strong ensemble. David M. Lutken is an unlikely musical comedy performer in this age of oversell, but his Mr. Rogers impersonation is utterly charming. Also wonderfully understated is his final love interest, Barbara Walsh. As her predecessor, the Jackie-inspired Crista Moore begins too strong, but in act two she brings some needed bite to the show. James Stovall never does relax into his Ben Vereen/”Pippin” routine, but then there is no real precedent for playing the Man in the Moon.

Quieter is more. And since there’s not a mike onstage at the Cherry Lane, Meyrelles’ ballads are never forced into some deafeningly overamplified crescendo, which is the unfortunate affectation afflicting every other musical currently on Broadway. This music is left alone to speak for itself.

Stars in Your Eyes


Production: NEW YORK A Tom Wirtshafter/Planetearth Partners presentation of a musical in two acts by Chip Meyrelles. Directed by Gabriel Barre.

Crew: Set, James Youmans; costumes, Pamela Scofield; lighting, Tim Hunter; sound, Brian Ronan; musical direction/ arrangements, Georgia Stitt; choreography, Jennifer Paulson Lee; stage manager, Dan Zittel. Opened Oct. 24, 1999. Reviewed Oct. 23. Running time: 2 HOURS, 15 MIN.

More Film

  • Midnight Traveler review

    Film Review: 'Midnight Traveler'

    Refugees rarely get to tell their own stories, which means their stories get told for them — often inaccurately and with undue hostility. Lack of resources is one issue, but a lack of stability is another: Asylum-seekers are in a frightening state of limbo, fleeing the imminent dangers of their native countries only to suffer [...]

  • WGA Authorizing Managers, Lawyers to Make

    WGA Authorizing Managers, Lawyers to Make Deals if Agents are Fired

    The Writers Guild of America has authorized managers and lawyers to negotiate deals for writers in place of agents — if the guild tells members to fire their agents on April 7. The guild’s negotiating committee notified members of the plans in a message Wednesday. The WGA and the Association of Talent Agents having made [...]

  • Gone With the Wind Screening

    Film News Roundup: 'Gone With the Wind' Sets Event Cinema Record

    In today’s film news roundup, “Gone with the Wind” sets a new record, “Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles” is acquired, and Tracy Oliver signs with Topic Studios. EVENT CINEMA RECORD The 80th anniversary release of “Gone with the Wind” has grossed $2.23 million in six nationwide screenings on four dates — a record as the [...]

  • Made in Abyss - Journey’s Dawn

    Film Review: ‘Made in Abyss: Journey’s Dawn’

    It’s a Herculean effort to take a multi-volume manga like author Akihito Tsukushi’s “Made in Abyss,” adapt it into a popular anime television series, and then compress the show into a coherent feature (technically, two movies), but the folks at Sentai Filmworks have done just that. Part one, “Made in Abyss: Journey’s Dawn,” will screen [...]

  • HAF: 'Assassination,' 'Apprenticeship' Named Project Market

    HAF: 'Assassination,' 'Apprenticeship' Named Project Market Winners

    Eighteen prizes were presented on Wednesday afternoon at the closing ceremony of the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum. The project market sits alongside FilMart as part of the Entertainment Expo in Hong Kong. “Wong Tai Sin Assassination” to be directed by Wong Hoi and produced by Derek Kwok Tsz-kin, was named the winner of [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Writers Guild Makes Concession on Film Financing in Agent Talks

    The Writers Guild of America has made a concession in film financing in its negotiations with Hollywood talent agents — the second in six weeks of talks. WGA West executive director David Young said Wednesday that it had made a “significant move” toward reaching a deal with the Association of Talent Agents for a revamped [...]

  • Noah Centineo He-Man

    Noah Centineo to Play He-Man in 'Masters of the Universe' Reboot

    From a boy (who’s loved) to He-Man. Noah Centineo is in talks to take on the superhero in Sony Pictures and Mattel Films’ “Masters of the Universe.” Brothers Adam and Aaron Nee are directing the reboot. Mattel Films is partnering with Sony on the movie, which is based on Mattel’s beloved toy line that spawned [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content