Satchmo at the Waldorf is playing at the Westside Theatre/Upstairs located at 407 West 43rd Street. It runs ninety minutes with no intermission. The play is an open ended run.
The play has been nominated for a 2014 Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama Desk Award.
John Douglas Thompson was nominated for best Actor by the Drama Desk League. He won an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Solo performance. John has won an Obie and Lucille Lortel Award for “Othello” (2009).
Louis Armstrong was born on August 1, 1901 and died on July 6, 1971. He was an American jazz trumpeter and singer from New Orleans, Louisiana. Louis nick names were “Satchmo” and “Pops”.
It takes place in March 1971 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel backstage dressing room.
Satchmo has just finished performing. He enters his dressing room; stooped over and barely able to catch his breath. Satchmo manages to make it to the coach where he has an oxygen tank and a mask, it helps. As he recovers he talks to the audience as if they are friends. On the right side of his dressing are two reel to reel tape recorders. One is to record his memoirs and the other has music on it.
The story goes back and forth from Louie, to his manager Joe Glaser and Miles Davis. Joe Glaser is the character besides Louie we see the most of.
We learn in bits of his childhood, how he got stared in show business, and things about his manager, fourth wife and how he felt about different things.
When Joe is the character we get his version of things that were brought up by Louie or should I say Louis as her would have preferred to have been called.
Of course I’m not telling you the tidbits I found out about this talented man. You will have to see the show to find out.
The set is a dressing room; among the props are mirrors with lights around them. When Joe is on the mirrors become windows and you see buildings outside the windows.
John Douglas Thompson does a fantastic job as Satchmo and Joe Glaser. He does not miss a beat from stooped Louie to upright Joe. He does such a great job it makes you want to know more about Louie Armstrong. Louie’s house is located in Corona, (Queens) New York and is open to the public (718-478-8274).
This is a must see show.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos by Annazor.
To read a candid interview with the cast, scroll down to the left for resents photos. Click on resent photos for this and others shows.