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October 1, 2012

TT: Turn, magic wheel!

SatchmoSCO12KSPRA_0093.jpgThe great engine of publicity is starting to have its way with Satchmo at the Waldorf, which begins public performances in New Haven this Wednesday. On Friday the New Haven Register ran an interview with John Douglas Thompson written by Donna Doherty, the paper's arts editor:

The play captures a wistful [Louis] Armstrong looking back on his career and some of the choices he made, questioning whether the price was too high or whether he made the correct choice, including his relationship with [Joe] Glaser. But the audience, when [John Douglas] Thompson is in the Glaser character, learns some of the behind-the-scenes maneuverings that Armstrong never knew about, some good, some bad.

Thompson says he can identify with Armstrong as a person of the same race, and though Glaser was white, "What I have in common with him is we come from the human race. That's enough for me to work my way in. But it's always the writing, always the playwright to open the door. If you don't have their words to open the door, it's not going to work.

"My performance has been constructed out of Terry's imagination. He gave me something to follow. Then you have someone like Gordon [Edelstein], who's really vigilant at culling things out of words, putting things around you, whether it's lighting or props. This is one of those times when me, Terry and Gordon, it's been this truly creative process...."

To read the whole thing, go here.

On Sunday the Hartford Courant ran a feature story by Frank Rizzo, the paper's drama critic:

There was more to jazz great Louis Armstrong than what people saw on "The Ed Sullivan Show," says Terry Teachout, who wrote a comprehensive biography of the beloved performer titled "Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong."

Teachout, who is also theater critic for The Wall Street Journal, gives his story a theatrical life in "Satchmo at the Waldorf," which begin performances Wednesday, Oct. 3, at New Haven's Long Wharf Theater, staged by its artistic director Gordon Edelstein. The production had a late summer run in the Massachusetts Berkshires at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox....

"This is not just storytelling but a real play with real conflict," says Teachout, who says he has no problems being on the other side of the critical pen. "This is more than what Gordon calls 'a taxidermy play,' which is a famous guy sitting around talking for two hours about what a great guy he is."...

To read the whole thing, go here.

Posted October 1, 2012 12:57 PM

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