A sure way to break the winter doldrums along the East Coast is to attend the New York theater production of Terry Teachout’s Satchmo at the Waldorf, a thoroughly entertaining play featuring the brilliant performance of John Douglas Thompson as an elderly Louis Armstrong reflecting on his career and life.
I saw the play last year in Philadelphia and reviewed it for NRO.
Prolific writer, critic, playwright, librettist, and author of award-winning biographies, Teachout is a national, cultural treasure. In addition to his regular theater review columns for the WSJ, he also blogs at About Last Night, where he writes more widely about the arts and, recently, about the plans leading up to the off-Broadway production of his play.
Teachout’s many skills are on display in Satchmo, whose script is based on Teachout’s own biography of Armstrong, Pops. This is a superb play, captivating from beginning to end. The only caveat is that Teachout’s script accurately depicts the sort of language Armstrong used off-stage, so the language is often coarse, raw, and explicit.