Xmas In Las Vegas

By Joe Bravaco, Larry Rosler, & Tony Finno

It’s Christmas, 1961, and Edward T. Wellspot is determined to break the Olympus Casino. For years, he has spent each Christmas trying to beat Spiros Olympus, the owner of the casino, and each year he has failed. This year is no different — added to which, Edward is in debt with a $10,000 marker from Olympus.

Accompanying Edward are his pill-popping wife, Eleanor, and their children: Lionel, a perennial student, and Emily, a serial divorcee. While Edward believes his luck will change, his family doesn’t hold out much hope. Unlike their father, Lionel and Emily have retreated from the game of life rather than take a gamble.

Now Edward faces a dilemma: If he consents to the marriage of Olympus and Emily, Olympus will forgive his marker.  If Edward doesn't give his blessing and fails to make good on the $10,000, Olympus will ruin Edward’s name up and down the Strip.

Just when things seem darkest, Edward meets Mrs. Edna Periapt. She has never gambled in her life but, behold, Mrs. Periapt is blessed with the Midas touch. Edward can’t lose if he follows her hunches. Rather than quit while he is ahead, he recruits Mrs. Periapt as his secret weapon in a head-to-head game of blackjack with Olympus.  But Olympus has a weapon of his own, and when he employs it, Mrs. Periapt crumbles like a marionette.

Although their father has lost, Emily and Lionel have been inspired to jump back into the game of life. Now, with Olympus left waiting at the altar and certain to turn Edward into a Vegas pariah, Edward has no choice but to say good-bye to gambling, return home to Pittsburgh and work off his debts. But Eleanor knows her husband isn’t down yet. There’s always bingo at the Elks Club.


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  • TITLE OF WORK: Xmas in Las Vegas


  • SELECT ONE: Adapted with permission

  • REFERENCE WORK: Xmas in Las Vegas, a play by Jack Richardson

  • MUSICAL STYLE: Broadway

  • NATURE: Comedy


  • STRUCTURE: Spoken dialogue with occasional songs

  • APPROXIMATE DURATION (Hrs/Min): 2 hours

  • DESIRED INSTRUMENTATION: piano, bass, drums

  • BRIEFLY STATE THE THEME or MESSAGE: Life's a gamble. Roll the dice.



EDWARD T. WELLSPOT, early 50s, a professional gambler, who is on a long losing streak, but never gives up on making a better life for his wife and children


ELEANOR WELLSPOT, late 40s, his wife, a pill-popping optimist who wants Edward to give it up, but ultimately she supports her husband through thick and thin and only wants his happiness.


LIONEL WELLSPOT, their 27 year-old mathematician son, a prophet of doom who lives on the dark side of life and believes man's existence is a lesson in futility


EMILY WELLSPOT, their 30 year-old daughter, a narcoleptic five time divorcee whose only hope for happiness lies in dreams SPIROS OLYMPUS, early 50s, the oily-slick owner of the Olympus Hotel and Casino, a self-assured man who has everything but a suitable wife


MRS. EDNA PERIAPT, 60s, a sweet, slightly dim widow, visiting Las Vegas for the first time, can’t lose at the gaming tables, Edward’s lucky charm WILLY, early 20s, the casino’s croupier, Olympus’ right hand man and protégé, still learning the ropes about the winning side of the gaming tables