Review Fix chats with Andrea Bell Wolf who discusses her new production “Prisoner Of Love.” Detailing the creative process and inspiration behind the work, Wolf lets us know exactly why it’s a unique piece of theatre.
About the Production:
PRISONER OF LOVE
Musical Direction and Arrangements by Barry Levitt
Direction by Peter Napolitano
February 3rd @ 8pm
Don’t Tell Mama NYC
343 W 46th St, New York City
$20.00 cover charge and a 2 drink minimum per person
$15.00 cover charge and a 2 drink minimum per person MAC
Seating starts at 7:30PM
Approximate running time: 65 minutes
This skilled musical comedy performer with copious Broadway, National Tour, and TV credits, offers up a compelling repertoire featuring some of the finest tunes Broadway, Pop, and Great American Songbook has to offer, and includes music from Kander & Ebb, Joni Mitchell, Cole Porter, The Righteous Brothers and Carrie Underwood to name a few. The title song was written by Barry Levitt and Peter Napolitano. In October, Matthew Martin Ward stepped into the role of Musical Director in place of Barry Levitt, who passed away suddenly. Ms. Wolff always dedicates her performance to the renowned Mr. Levitt. Ward leads a quartet that includes bassist Boots Maleson, Violinist Rob Thomas and percussionist Howie Gordon. Peter Napolitano directs.
Review Fix: What was the inspiration for this project?
Andrea Bell Wolf: When I started searching for a theme for my show, love seemed to be at the forefront of my mind. Love can come in many ways and in my life usually was not so pretty. Being a child of the 60s I had numerous men in my life and many times the relationship or one night stands (no apologies) would end on a pretty sour note. I cheated, he cheated. You know the usual breakup reason. I decided to let it all hang out and sing and talk about the many guises of love. This is almost all autobiographical. I emphasize almost.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Wolf: My musical director, the late Barry Levitt and I worked on this project for well over a year. We would get together every week for two to three hours. I would bring in music and it was yay or nay. We must have gone thru about 100 selections. We started with a lot of comedy songs, however as we proceeded the show took on a more serious approach. We eventually ended up with 15 songs. Some of the songs were pop rock and converted into ballads. Barry Levitt was a genius that way. We brought my directer Peter Napolitano into the fold the final three months of preparation. He did the final set list and formed Prisoner of Love into the show it is now.
Review Fix: What makes this different or special?
Wolf: What makes my show special? it’s not a happy reason. Three days before my second performance at The Metropolitan Room my wonderful dear friend and musical director Barry Levitt collapsed at the Laurie Beechman Theater of a massive heart attack. He never gained consciousness and died three days later. I, as well as the entire Cabaret community, were devastated. My show and one other were the last musical arrangements Barry worked on. Prisoner Of Love was also the last song he ever wrote for any show. Lyrics by Peter Napolitano. It is the title song of my show. The arrangements for the entire show, Prisoner of Love are exquisite. I have four amazing musicians who bring all the arrangements to life.
Review Fix: What did you learn about yourself through this process?
Wolf: Being a musical comedy performer I came to realize that there is a serious side of me that can sing songs that can make people laugh and also cry. I’ve had audience members who said I brought tears to their eyes on certain numbers. Of course my last wish would to make people sad, however, if I make them feel then I’ve done my job as a performer. I also learned that after Barry passed, that I had the strength and desire to continue on with my show. He would have insisted.
Review Fix: What are your ultimate goals for this production and for the future?
Wolf: I’m hoping casting folks will come and see my show and perhaps think of me for some future theatrical production. To me, this is the ultimate showcase.
I love all aspects of the business. Unless you have a financial backer its difficult to keep performing a show of your own in NYC. You have musicians etc and it becomes quite costly. Also, the amount of Cabaret venues seems to be getting smaller and smaller.
Review Fix: What do you think your audiences will enjoy the most?
Wolf: For one hour I will take them away from their world into mine. They will listen to my story and be entertained. As I said earlier 99percent of my story is true I do sing of killing someone. That is not true lol!
Don’t know what tomorrow brings. I live for today. I love life. I have been happily married for 34 years. I’ve raised two children. One who was born handicapped. I am a breast cancer survivor. I have three crazy dogs that I’m wild about. I’m alive and living my life to the fullest! The cabaret community has taken notice of me which is a fantastic thing and I’ve received some amazing reviews on my show. At this point. I’m a happy gal.