Satchmo at the Waldorf continues to run off Broadway at the Westside Theatre. John Douglas Thompson’s performance–incredibly–grows deeper and deeper. If you haven’t seen it, do, and if you have, tell your friends (or see it again!).
I have a compliment to report: a playwright of note who came to last Tuesday’s opening-night performance told me afterward that he thought I’d created “a remarkable cubist portrait” of Louis Armstrong. That’s actually a very subtle way of describing the play’s multiple perspectives on Armstrong and his career.
Some other pieces of news:
• The New Yorker caught up with us over the weekend, and the results were highly gratifying:
The last strains of the set die out, the door to the dressing room opens, and in walks Louis Armstrong (John Douglas Thompson), carrying his trumpet and making his way, stiffly but urgently, to the oxygen tank next to the sofa. It’s 1971, and the giant of twentieth-century American music is in a reflective mood….Teachout, Thompson, and the director, Gordon Edelstein, together create an extraordinarily rich and complex characterization. The show centers on the trumpeter’s relationship with his Mob-connected Jewish manager of more than thirty-five years, Joe Glaser. Thompson forcefully inhabits both men–and throws in a chilling Miles Davis–delivering an altogether riveting performance.
Read the whole thing here.
• I rejoice to announce that the script of Satchmo at the Waldorf will be published by Dramatists Play Service, Inc., whose other authors include Edward Albee, Christopher Durang, Horton Foote, Brian Friel, Athol Fugard, John Guare, A.R. Gurney, Amy Herzog, David Ives, Warren Leight, Tracy Letts, David Mamet, Martin McDonagh, Conor McPherson, Lynn Nottage, and John Patrick Shanley. I am honored beyond words to join their ranks.
The announcement is here.
• John and I took last Thursday afternoon off and drove out to Newark to to do an hour-long interview about Satchmo at the Waldorf on WBGO, the New York area’s top jazz radio station. Not only did we talk at length about the show and how it came to be, but Rhonda Hamilton, the host, also played several of our favorite Armstrong records in the course of the broadcast.
Not at all surprisingly, we had a lot of fun, and you can listen to us having it by going here.
• Finally, the TV ad for Satchmo rolled out late last week. Here it is. I’m biased, of course, but I think it’s way cool: