Sci Fi Hotel: The Musical

Rated 2.0 Sci Fi Hotel: The Musical is an ambitious and imaginative undertaking. This surreal show is billed as “a musical and poetic celebration of imagination, dreams and myth set within the context of a hallucinogenic science-fiction convention,” a description that makes one approach the show with as much apprehension as anticipation.

This locally written production brings together an eclectic variety of Sacramento’s experimental music and theater performers and combines their talents as writers, composers, actors and musicians for a musical-performance-art hybrid. Three members of Sacramento’s fringe cabaret group dRAW PiNKY (William Fuller, Jack Hastings and Jane Hastings under the new moniker Global Village Idiot Productions) and director Ann Tracy (Beyond the Proscenium Productions) are the idea team. The actors come with varied backgrounds, and the onstage musicians are three members from a Sacramento fringe band, Hell Toupee.

Simply put, though nothing in this show is simply put, it’s a musical about Witt, a “disgraced and disillusioned techno-geek” who has lost his focus and imagination. Witt (Drew Fesmire) stumbles into a science-fiction convention, guided by a big bug (Renee Gromacki), where he meets a cornucopia of quirky conventioneers. If you’ve been to a sci-fi convention, you’ll recognize all the nerd-enticing trappings: colorful costumes, award ceremonies, souvenir sellers, sci-fi speakers, seekers and seers.

Witt wanders about, and, as he wanders, musical numbers break out from everywhere. Most of the songs are clever, catchy kitsch that incorporate storybook rhyme, slam poetry, corny musicals, word play, bad poetry and wicked wit—just what you’d expect from the talented composers. However, the substance around which the musical numbers wrap—the weak plot, script, cohesiveness and characters—poses a problem.

The hard part is rating this production. You want to encourage such original thought, to applaud the inspired creativity, to reward the valiant efforts. Unfortunately, you can’t give a rating based on potential or intent; you’re stuck with the show in front of you. And, in the end, even with some good performances, this creative concoction is just not quite ready for prime time. But with script tweaks and a bit more rehearsal time, Sci Fi Hotel and its occupants would be worth visiting.

Sci Fi Hotel: The Musical plays at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, with 2 p.m. Sunday matinees on February 9 and 16; $12-$16. Geery Theatre, 2130 L Street, (916) 922-9774. Through February 16.