imPERFECT CHEMISTRY [sic], a satirical comedy with music about the bad and the bald, opens at Off-Broadway's Minetta Lane Theatre Aug. 24. According to spokespersons from the Pete Sanders Group press agency, though the show moved its first preview from Aug. 8 to Aug. 15, the opening night has not changed.
CHEMISTRY, formerly titled After the Follicle, deals with issues of science vs. ethics, good vs. evil and big business vs. "big hair."
Brooks Ashmanskas, who played various roles in the Roundabout Theatre Company's Little Me, and Deirdre Lovejoy, who had a featured role in Getting and Spending, are among the castmembers. Also featured are Ken Barnett, John Jellison, Amanda Watkins, Joel Carlton, Michael Greenwood and Sara Schmidt.
With the mid-spring closing of Fuddy Meers, rumors abounded that two shows were seriously considering Off-Broadway's Minetta Lane Theatre: Keith Glover's Thunder Knocking on the Door and Christopher Durang's Betty's Summer Vacation. However, Thunder's producers didn't feel that show was ready for prime time, and plans for Durang's show remain up in the air. Instead, the chemistry seemed right for Chemistry, which has music by Albert Tapper and book and lyrics by James Racheff. Racheff, librettist and co-lyricist for the Goodspeed's Houdini, also adapted the David Merrick-produced Broadway revival of Oh, Kay! a few years back.
The comedy tells of two geneticists who, funded by a wealthy philanthropist, find a cure for male pattern baldness. The problem? Capitalism and advertising twist their discovery into one that ends up threatening all humankind. John Ruocco directs and choreographs, and Peter Press is producing the show, which has sets by Rob Odorisio, lighting by John-Paul Szczepanski, costumes by Curtis Hay and sound design by Rob Kaplowitz. August Eriksmoen serves as musical director, vocal arranger and orchestrator. The tuner is produced by a new outfit called Back to Back Productions, LLC, a theatrical partnership formed by a group of veteran theatregoers who saw the lack of new original American musical shows and decided to do something about it, according to the Playbill bio. The group works on developing two musicals simultaneously, thus the name Back to Back. The producers hope that the formation of this company "will encourage new composers, lyricists and book writers to keep the American musical alive and kicking."
Executive producer Peter Press is a native New Yorker who has collaborated twice before with composer Tapper. He co-produced the musical, What's a Nice Country Like You Doing in a State Like This and has co-written a series of books of jokes under the Joe King Label published by Andrews McMeel. Press is also the managing director of Back to Back Productions.
For tickets ($50) and information on imPERFECT CHEMISTRY at the Minetta Lane Theatre, Sixth Avenue (West 3rd St.), call (212) 307-4100 or check out the website www.imperfectchemistry.com.