Andrea Bell Wolff: Bad Girls Do Cry!

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Andrea Bell Wolff

Bad Girls Do Cry!

Iridium, NYC, December 22, 015

Reviewed by Joel Benjamin for Cabaret Scenes

Andrea-Bell-Wolff-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212If jukebox shows of sixties’ ditties are your cup of tea, then Andrea Bell Wolff’s Bad Girls Do Cry!,  performed at Times Square’s Iridium jazz club, would have been a perfect evening—an imaginatively staged tribute to that era, by a vocalist who clearly loves these songs.

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With two backup singers and a generously sized band, she managed to run through virtually all of the well- known girl group numbers, with some help from videos.  Although there was a technical glitch with her videos later in the show, the opening number, “Leader of the Pack” (Ellie Greenwich/Jeff Barry/George “Shadow” Morton) was accompanied by a funny vignette in which Arnold Schwarzenegger became the leader of the pack and Bell Wolff the tragic heroine of the song, complete with leather jacket (changing later into a shiny red outfit in preparation for the holiday portion of the set).

In rapid succession, “the girl group sound of the 1960s” just poured out of her and her two talented cohorts:  “Be My Baby,” “Chapel of Love,” “Da Doo Ron Ron”—all by Greenwich/Barry/Phil Spector) and featuring a long, spectacular saxophone solo; two “walking songs”—“Walking in the Sand” (Morton) and “Walking in the Rain” (Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil/Spector) were the closest to meditative moments in the show; and a medley of Lesley Gore songs—“It’s My Party” (Walter Gold/John Gluck, Jr./Herb Weiner/Seymour Gottlieb), “Judy’s Turn to Cry” (Beverly Ross/Edna Lewis) and “You Don’t Own Me” (John Madera/David White).

There was a dance medley and a nod to Christmas with “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” (Johnny Marks), “Jingle Bell Rock” (Joe Beale/Jim Boothe) and the somber “It’s Christmas in America” (Pat Benatar).

A rousing “Dancing in the Streets” (Marvin Gaye/William “Mickey” Stevenson/Ivy Jo Hunter) ended the show.

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Andrea Bell Wolff clearly put her imprint on this show—her energy, wonderful ditziness and musicality rubbing off on her cast:  Carolee Goodgold and Deb Lyons (the terrific singers); Musical Director Barry Levitt; Bob Magnason (saxophone); Tom Hubbard (bass guitar); Scott Newman (drums); and Jack Cavari (guitar).

Joel Benjamin

A native New Yorker, Joel was always fascinated by musical theater. Luckily, he was able to be a part of seven Broadway musicals before the age of 14, quitting to pursue a pre-med degree, which led no where except back to performing in the guise of directing a touring ballet troupe. Always interested in writing, he wrote a short play in high school that was actually performed, leading to a hiatus of nearly 40 years before he returned to writing as a reviewer. Writing for Cabaret Scenes has kept him in touch with world filled with brilliance.