Although Andrea Bell Wolff, now in her seventies, has had a full life in theater, her Adventures in Vegas focuses on her relatively short period performing sexy revues and vaudeville routines in Las Vegas, 1969-1970. Adventures, now at the newly renovated AMT Theater in Hell’s Kitchen, is based on the diary she kept during those months.
A tiny dynamo, Bell Wolff, early in her career, found the perfect role as Ermengarde in several productions of Hello, Dolly!. She yearned to perform the bigger part of Minnie Faye and nearly got the chance when she auditioned for the film version of Hello, Dolly!. She tells of the disappointment of being passed over and sings “Moving the Line” (Mark Shaiman/Scott Wittman) about her frustration, one of 13 songs that punctuate Adventures in Vegas, illuminating her life experiences.
She is reprieved with an invitation to join a new act in Las Vegas, the Bottoms Up Revue at Caesars Palace, and jumps at the chance, starting a whole new chapter in her life which will include romance and, eventually, heartache.
She was presented with some logistical issues, including getting a car and making friends in a totally alien, overwhelming town. She managed to find a community with her colleagues both in her show and in other shows on the Strip, socializing happily, discovering a sexy Canadian singer, Grant Smith, whom she swooned over.
She also falls in love with Rusty Warren who had her own lusty show. Bell Wolff calls her a “bold, ballsy lesbian with a heart of gold.” She admires Warren and sings one of her songs, “Bounce Your Boobies,” not exactly a Women’s Lib ditty. There also was “the most gorgeous man” she had ever met, Bobby, who in a big way entered her romantic life with a bang.
She even traveled to Australia with her show where she had a near-death experience off Sydney’s Bondi Beach—cue “End of the World” (Matt Alber).
Handsome, smooth-voiced Elliott Litherland plays a number of roles, including Muriel, Bell Wolff’s agent, and a mellifluous-voiced Grant Smith (singing the up tune, “Keep on Running” by Jackie Edwards). He is totally game and supportive and a real talent. I do wish he had been costumed a bit more formally. A t-shirt and jeans just doesn’t cut it. (There is no costume credit.)
Bell Wolff, however, wears a spiffy, colorful one-piece outfit that complements her figure and is easily camouflaged when she plays other scenes including her lumpy, double-entendre-filled vaudeville act involving hot dogs and buns.
More of an extended cabaret act than a full-fledged musical, Adventures in Vegas was created by Bell Wolf, her director Jimmy Larkin and her music director Jude Oberműller, each contributing to the upbeat, entertaining show.
Oberműller conducts a small but energetic band and faithfully supports Bell Wolff and Litherland.
Adventures in Vegas (through August 24, 2022)
AMT Theater, 354 West 45th Street, in Manhattan
Running time: 75 minutes without an intermission
A tiny dynamo sings about her fascinating year performing on the Strip in Las Vegas.