Call Answered: Andrea Bell Wolff: "I Can't Trace Time" at The Green Room 42
Time is a funny thing. Days, months, years all blend together. Some moments you remember forever and others you forget completely. This thing, time, is fascinating, which is the reason I was so excited to interview Andrea Bell Wolff about her upcoming show I Can’t Trace Time.
I Can’t Trace Time is an impassioned, hilarious look at the arc of life. With a mixture of pop and Broadway, Andrea will demonstrate why she is considered a master entertainer who has been widely lauded for her strong comic timing, offbeat and compelling characterizations and superb taste in music.
I Can’t Trace Time will play The Green Room 42 (42nd Street & 10th Avenue, 4th Floor of the Yotel) this Sunday, October 7 at 7pm. Click here for tickets!
For more on Andrea follow her on Facebook!
1. This October you are making your Green Room 42 debut with your show I Can't Trace Time. What made now the right time to break out into such a posh venue with a new show? I feel at this moment in my life totally ready to expand my horizons. I went to see Frances Ruffelle at The Green Room 42 and thought she - and the room - were quite stunning. I knew I was ready to step out of my box and up the game.
2. What are you looking forward to most about this show? I’m doing material I’ve always wanted to explore! I never had a musical director who could take me on this particular journey. There’s a lot of contemporary (and other) pop in the show, as well as theater music. My voice lends itself to these songs, and these songs have the sentiments I want to convey. Having Jude Obermueller, a 27 year old genius Music Director, is an incredible gift. We have the same vision for this show as does my director Dan Ruth. We’re having an absolute blast of a time.
3. What is making you nervous? Everything!!!!!!
4. What is one event in your life where "I Can't Trace Time" would describe that situation? Well, one event would be hard. It’s more like a continuum, but experiences take you back and forth sometimes, emotionally. As a teen, I lived in an apartment in NYC by myself while I worked on Broadway, so I was very young and just starting out on my path and yet I had to take care of myself and live in the city. I was young and the majority of my lifetime was ahead of me, and I could conquer everything.
Later I had the experience of being a mother to two children. My first child - my daughter - who is now an adult, had special needs, and I was a young single mother trying to figure that out and make a living too. Then sometimes you become ill, as I did in the 2000s, and you need to be taken care of. I could feel the specter of death near me, and yet I recovered and became more determined to enjoy my life, and that means continuing to create.
Later I was caretaker to my own mother - very briefly - when the roles switched before she passed last year at 100. Now my future is shorter than my past, and while in some ways - especially emotionally - life is much, much simpler, my desire to create and have fun and keep growing creatively and learning has not waned one bit. So, I can’t trace time.
5. You have appeared in five different productions of Hello, Dolly! including the First National Tour with Carol Channing. What is one story about Carol, that is not in your show, that you can share with us? Carol is a lovely woman, however she did not mingle with the cast much. She did, however, rent out movie houses and have elegant dinners for us from time to time.
6. Did you first play "Ermengarde” and then "Minnie Fay" in other productions? Did you swing them? And did you ever get the two roles mixed up? I did five productions of Hello, Dolly! I played “Ermengarde” first. It’s a great role, but no comparison to playing “Minnie Fay.” After Channing’s tour ended I went into the Broadway company of Dolly playing “Ermengarde,” and then understudying “Minnie Fay” with Betty Grable. I went on the road with Dorthy Lamour and Betsy Palmer as “Minnie,” and as “Ermengarde” with Phyllis Diller and Ethel Merman. I never got theses characters mixed up as they are so totally different.
7. How do you feel your time spent in theatre and television variety shows prepared you for where you are today? Well its always nice to have experience in your pocket! However we certainly play on a different playing field than years ago. I now have the maturity and confidence that I probably lacked in the past. I now have more fun, and if things don't turn out as I wish, so be it.
Let's bring it all back to your upcoming show in these last few questions.
8. One song you will be performing is Sia's "Death By Chocolate." If you were do get killed by chocolate, how do you think you would die? Mmmm - probably from drinking too many chocolate egg creams. YUM!
9. You are also going to be performing Stephen Schwartz's "Spark of Creation." What do you feel gave you the spark to become a performer? It was just bestowed on me. I sang before I talked, and I danced in front of a mirror with a hair brush as my microphone before I can even recall. My mother told me this. A constant day dreamer in school, I was reprimanded numerous time for playing out musical shows in my mind instead of paying attention in class. I had a huge ambition to fulfill and my determination never left me.
10. Another song you will be singing is "Be Aware." What do you think the most important thing you have to "Be Aware" of when you are singing a cabaret show? Not being self serving. Your audience paid good money to be entertained and put their problems behind while in your presence. I am so happy when I can take an audience on the journey with me. That feeds my soul.
More on Andrea:
Andrea Bell Wolff is a comic actress and singer with an esteemed show business history. She was a teenager attending the Professional Children’s School when she was cast as “Ermengarde” in the first National Tour of Hello, Dolly! starring Carol Channing. All in all, she did five productions of Hello, Dolly! playing both “Ermengarde” and then “Minnie Fay” on Broadway and National Tours, as well as major roles in George M!, L’il Abner, Grease, Little Shop of Horrors and Funny Girl. Her work in the revue, Bottoms Up! took her from Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, opening for huge stars such as The Fifth Dimension and Engelbert Humperdinck, to Australia, and she toured extensively with Disney in many shows around the country.
Andrea has performed at The St. James Theater, Goodspeed, The Papermill Playhouse and Sacramento Music Circus. Her work with a show band, Your Father’s Mustache, landed her a job on the Ed Sullivan Show doing warm-ups for the audience, and in Los Angeles, she was also a regular on the Donny and Marie Show working with Sid and Marty Krofft. She appeared on network TV, and acted in commercial work as well on both coasts.
Andrea took a long break from performing to raise two children, including a daughter with a rare disease (she is doing very well, now!) and then returned to the stage in 2011 with a show called Loose Screws, a risqué, fictional biographical journey of an also-ran entertainer, Chelsea Sutton Place.
In 2017, Andrea premiered the critically lauded Prisoner of Love – her final collaboration between the late Barry Levitt, which featured a title song Andrea commissioned from Levitt and director Pater Napolitano. Andrea is thrilled to be premiering her new show, I Can’t Trace Time, at the glamorous Green Room 42, and to be working with award winning and wonderful musical director/composer, Jude Obermuller, and award winning and wonderful writer/actor/director, Dan Ruth.