The Court Theatre, the resident professional theater company of the University of Chicago, has just announced its 2015-16 season. It includes productions of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean, Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Richard Bean’s One Man, Two Guvnors, and—yes—my own Satchmo at the Waldorf, which will receive its Chicago premiere at the Court in January of 2016. The production, which will open on January 7 and run through February 7, will be directed by Charles Newell, the company’s artistic director.
According to the press release:
After one of his final performances, Louis Armstrong retires backstage and begins to reminisce about his incredibly successful career. As the evening unfolds, he reveals an intimate, unknown portrait of the man behind the trumpet and the ever-evolving struggle to live with dignity as a black musician in a white world. Written with theatrical ingenuity by Terry Teachout, who has entrusted Artistic Director Charlie Newell with the play’s Midwest premiere, Armstrong’s story is told through the voice of a single actor playing both Armstrong and his Jewish manager Joe Glaser, bringing to life an emotional journey of deep friendship and its tragic destruction. Satchmo at the Waldorf is an intimate exploration of Armstrong’s life, legacy, and above all, jazz.
It’s a matter of long-standing record that I consider the Court to be one of America’s great regional theaters. I called it “the most consistently excellent theater company in America…a shining example of what American theater can and should hope to be” in my best-of-2006 theater column for The Wall Street Journal. I am honored beyond words to learn that my first play will be performed there, and that it will be directed by an artist whom I admire without limit.
For the record, Satchmo is now set to receive four regional productions in the next fourteen months: it will be staged in Beverly Hills this May, in Chicago and San Francisco next January, and in West Palm Beach in May of 2016.
How lucky am I? Boundlessly so.
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To read the Court’s season announcement, go here.
To read the Chicago Tribune’s story about the Court’s season announcement, go here.
Jimmy Rushing sings “Goin’ to Chicago Blues” on The Subject Is Jazz in 1958: