You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Imperfect Chemistry

Often, it's the audaciously imperfect performance that lingers not only longest but fondest in the memory. But while Albert Tapper and James Racheff's "Imperfect Chemistry" is certainly a candidate for the so-bad-it's-good pantheon, sometimes bad is just bad. Aficionados of theater disasters can take heart that the new musical at the Minetta Lane Theater does possess one moment that will have you retrieving your jaw from the floorboards. Unfortunately, it comes late in the proceedings, long after any sensible theatergoer has dozed off or fled.

With:
Dr. Goodman/ Dr. Bubinski - John Jellison Harry Lizzarde - Brooks Ashmanskas Dr. Alvin Rivers - Ken Barnett Dr. Elizabeth Gibbs - Amanda Watkins

Often, it’s the audaciously imperfect performance that lingers not only longest but fondest in the memory. But while Albert Tapper and James Racheff’s “Imperfect Chemistry” is certainly a candidate for the so-bad-it’s-good pantheon, sometimes bad is just bad.

Aficionados of theater disasters can take heart that the new musical at the Minetta Lane Theater does possess one moment that will have you retrieving your jaw from the floorboards. Unfortunately, it comes late in the proceedings, long after any sensible theatergoer has dozed off or fled.

Two geneticists, Alvin (Ken Barnett) and Elizabeth (Amanda Watkins), have created a cure for male-pattern baldness that has the unfortunate side effect of causing de-evolution. An incredibly hirsute chorus of four — this is a very Off Broadway production — has taken the drug only to find themselves doing a Neanderthal striptease that’s one for the books.

Curtis Hay’s costumes are masterpieces of Velcro. John-Paul Szczepanski’s lighting brings the strobe out of blessed retirement. And Rob Odorisio’s unit set showcases an “Alien”-style computer that explodes, spins and spurts fog. Director-choreographer John Ruocco’s make-like-a-monkey ballet rivets the attention in the worst way, like an ambulance careening through an erupting mine field.

As the naive geneticist lovers, Watkins and Barnett survive by underplaying roles that give them nothing to do. As the villains who market the drug, John Jellison and Brooks Ashmanskas work hard to induce pity when the laughs don’t materialize.

Tapper’s bland music makes us wish for the return of Racheff’s book, which is so confused it sends us back to the music for relief. And as for the lyrics, “Imperfect Chemistry” breaks some ground. It is certainly the first musical to bring down the act one curtain with the line, “Let’s go grow some hair!”

Imperfect Chemistry

Minetta Lane Theater; 399 seats; $50

Production: A Back to Back Prods. presentation of a musical in two acts with story and music by Albert Tapper, book and lyrics by James Racheff. Directed and choreographed by John Ruocco.

Creative: Musical direction, vocal arrangements and orchestrations, August Eriksmoen. Sets, Rob Odorisio; costumes, Curtis Hay; lighting, John-Paul Szczepanski; sound, Robert Kaplowitz; stage manager, Renee Rimland; Opened Aug. 24, 2000. Reviewed Aug. 22. Running time: 2 HOURS.

Cast: Dr. Goodman/ Dr. Bubinski - John Jellison Harry Lizzarde - Brooks Ashmanskas Dr. Alvin Rivers - Ken Barnett Dr. Elizabeth Gibbs - Amanda WatkinsWith: Joel Carlton, Michael Greenwood, Deirdre Lovejoy, Sara Schmidt.

More Legit

  • Wicked

    Broadway Box Office Gets a Little Love From Valentine's, Presidents' Day

    Often, it’s the audaciously imperfect performance that lingers not only longest but fondest in the memory. But while Albert Tapper and James Racheff’s “Imperfect Chemistry” is certainly a candidate for the so-bad-it’s-good pantheon, sometimes bad is just bad. Aficionados of theater disasters can take heart that the new musical at the Minetta Lane Theater does […]

  • Frozen Broadway

    Stagecraft Podcast: Behind the Scenes With Cast, Creators of 'Frozen'

    Often, it’s the audaciously imperfect performance that lingers not only longest but fondest in the memory. But while Albert Tapper and James Racheff’s “Imperfect Chemistry” is certainly a candidate for the so-bad-it’s-good pantheon, sometimes bad is just bad. Aficionados of theater disasters can take heart that the new musical at the Minetta Lane Theater does […]

  • Andrew Garfield Variety Facetime Interview

    Andrew Garfield on Avoiding 'Sickness' of Celebrity Culture

    Often, it’s the audaciously imperfect performance that lingers not only longest but fondest in the memory. But while Albert Tapper and James Racheff’s “Imperfect Chemistry” is certainly a candidate for the so-bad-it’s-good pantheon, sometimes bad is just bad. Aficionados of theater disasters can take heart that the new musical at the Minetta Lane Theater does […]

  • Geoffrey Rush

    Geoffrey Rush Accused of 'Inappropriate Touching,' Court Documents Show

    Often, it’s the audaciously imperfect performance that lingers not only longest but fondest in the memory. But while Albert Tapper and James Racheff’s “Imperfect Chemistry” is certainly a candidate for the so-bad-it’s-good pantheon, sometimes bad is just bad. Aficionados of theater disasters can take heart that the new musical at the Minetta Lane Theater does […]

  • Andrew Garfield Tony Kushner Angels in

    'Angels in America': Inside Broadway's Big Bet, Led by Andrew Garfield With Renewed Relevance

    Often, it’s the audaciously imperfect performance that lingers not only longest but fondest in the memory. But while Albert Tapper and James Racheff’s “Imperfect Chemistry” is certainly a candidate for the so-bad-it’s-good pantheon, sometimes bad is just bad. Aficionados of theater disasters can take heart that the new musical at the Minetta Lane Theater does […]

  • What's Next for 'Natasha, Pierre and

    What's Next for 'Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812'

    Often, it’s the audaciously imperfect performance that lingers not only longest but fondest in the memory. But while Albert Tapper and James Racheff’s “Imperfect Chemistry” is certainly a candidate for the so-bad-it’s-good pantheon, sometimes bad is just bad. Aficionados of theater disasters can take heart that the new musical at the Minetta Lane Theater does […]

  • Berlinale --2018-- Special Touch, Paul Thiltges

    Special Touch Studios, Paul Thiltges Set 'Allah Is Not Obliged'

    Often, it’s the audaciously imperfect performance that lingers not only longest but fondest in the memory. But while Albert Tapper and James Racheff’s “Imperfect Chemistry” is certainly a candidate for the so-bad-it’s-good pantheon, sometimes bad is just bad. Aficionados of theater disasters can take heart that the new musical at the Minetta Lane Theater does […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content