Satchmo at The Waldorf
For those of you in the NY Metro area, there's a play running called "Satchmo at The Waldorf". It's a one man show written by Terry Teachout, who also wrote the definitive Armstrong bio and stars the brilliant John Douglas Thompson playing Louis Armstrong, Joe Glaser (Armstrong's manager) and Miles Davis. It's a fictionalized account of real events and an insightful, endearing and sometimes challenging exploration of what it was like for a person of color in the early days of Jazz. It turns out that Louis kept an audio diary on a pretty regular basis throughout his career and was an incredibly deep, complex and multifaceted man as well as being a total genius on the side. He also cursed like a sailor which probably makes the play inappropriate for tender young ears. The show takes place in Armstrong's dressing room after one of his last gigs near the end of his career and life. There's no singing or music as this is really the story of the man behind the music, his humble beginnings, run ins with the Mob, his complex relationship with Joe Glaser, coming to terms with his place in history, his conflicted image in the Afro-American community (where Miles Davis comes in to highlight how challenging that became) and a reminder of what an remarkable person he was.
For anyone that likes Armstrong's music, appreciates him as a person or just likes truly great theatre this is a must see.