This is a blog about the arts in New York City and the rest of America, written by Terry Teachout. Terry is a critic, biographer, playwright, director, librettist, recovering musician, and inveterate blogger. In addition to theater, he writes here and elsewhere about all of the other arts–books, ballet, music, painting and sculpture, film and TV, and whatever else happens to catch his eye or ear.
Archives for January 14, 2014
Billy and Me, my second play, received its world premiere on December 8, 2017, at Palm Beach Dramaworks in West Palm Beach, Fla. Satchmo at the Waldorf, my first play, ran earlier this season at New Orleans’ Le Petit Theatre. It previously closed off Broadway at the Westside Theatre on June 29, 2014, after 18 previews and 136 performances. That production was directed by Gordon Edelstein, with John Douglas Thompson appearing in the triple role of Louis Armstrong, Joe Glaser, and Miles Davis. John won the 2013-14 Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle “Outstanding Solo Performance” awards for his performance.
The same production has also been seen at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Mass., Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Conn., Philadelphia’s Wilma Theater, the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theatre, and Colorado Springs’ Theatreworks.
In addition, Satchmo has been produced by New Venture Theater in Baton Rouge, La., the Court Theatre in Chicago, the Alley Theatre in Houston, Seacoast Repertory Theatre in Portsmouth, N.H., B Street Theatre in Sacramento, Calif., Mosaic Theatre in Washington, D.C., Palm Beach Dramaworks, and Triangle Productions in Portland, Oregon. (I directed the Alley Theatre and Palm Beach Dramaworks productions.) An earlier version of the play, starring Dennis Neal and directed by Rus Blackwell, was premiered at Orlando Shakespeare Theater in 2011.
Satchmo at the Waldorf is published by Dramatists Play Service, Inc. To inquire about obtaining rights to produce the play, go here.
Peter Marks, Elisabeth Vincentelli, and I are the panelists on “Three on the Aisle,” a bimonthly podcast from New York about theater in America.
Satchmo at the Waldorf, my first play, is coming to New York at last.
Here is part of the official press release. For more information, go here.
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It was announced today that, following acclaimed, sold-out runs at Long Wharf Theatre and Shakespeare and Company, Terry Teachout’s play Satchmo at the Waldorf will enjoy a New York premiere this spring. Starring John Douglas Thompson and directed by Gordon Edelstein, Satchmo at the Waldorf will begin performances at Off Broadway’s Westside Theatre (407 West 43rd Street) on Saturday, February 15. Opening night is set for Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
In March of 1971, one of the greatest music legends the world would ever know was performing the final set of shows he would ever play at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel. But the audiences who adored him onstage never really saw the man behind the trumpet. In Terry Teachout’s searing and surprisingly intimate play, Satchmo at the Waldorf, we encounter Louis Armstrong where few ever had the chance to see him: backstage. Reflecting on his own unlikely career amidst a rapidly changing society, the icon is stripped bare, revealing complexities and contradictions that his omnipresent smile, horn and handkerchief belied. Critically acclaimed actor John Douglas Thompson, seamlessly morphing between Armstrong, his manager Joe Glaser, and fellow trumpeter Miles Davis, gives one of the most vivid portraits ever created for the stage….
Tickets for Satchmo at the Waldorf, priced at $39 and $79, are available online via Telecharge.com or by phone at (212) 239-6200/(800) 447-7400. Tickets will also be available for purchase in person, at the Westside Theatre Box Office (407 West 43rd Street).
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Here’s the poster:
I’ve been deeply immersed in the world of words my whole life long. I started playing with my mother’s portable typewriter as a child. I really did read the dictionary for pleasure. I launched my first periodical, a mimeographed newspaper, in junior high school, and God only knows how many millions of words I’ve published since then. Yet I’ve never been one for wordplay, perhaps because I’m no good at it. Be it Scrabble, Boggle, or Wheel of Fortune, I invariably come up short, a deficiency that never fails to surprise friends who take it for granted that I excel at such games….
Read the whole thing here.
“Gloria had been an old-style Episcopalian, resenting any prayer book tempering with Cranmer’s Prayer-book language and any evangelical or feel-good pollution of the service, such as a homily at morning prayers or the passing of the peace at any service. Perdita had drifted from Unitarianism into Buddhism and settlement-house good works. Both women were religious aristocrats, for whom God was a vulgar poor relation with the additional social disadvantage of not existing.”
John Updike, Toward the End of Time