What a wonderful world! Starring John Douglas Thompson and directed by Gordon Edelstein, the one-man Louis Armstrong bio-play Satchmo at the Waldorf is set to make its New York premiere. Penned by the Wall Street Journal's theater critic, Terry Teachout, the one-man show will begin performances at off-Broadway's Westside Theatre February 15. Opening night is scheduled for March 4.
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 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. Thompson morphs between playing Armstrong, his manager Joe Glaser, and fellow trumpeter Miles Davis.
Most recently seen on Broadway in A Time to Kill, Thompson made his Broadway debut opposite Denzel Washington in Julius Ceasar and later appeared alongside Jennifer Garner and Kevin Kline in Cyrano de Bergerac. Other credits include Othello, The Emperor Jones, The Forest and Antony and Cleopatra.
The design team for Satchmo at the Waldorf includes scenic design by Lee Savage, costume design by Ilona Somogyi, lighting design by Kevin Adam and sound design by John Gromada.