In addition to this being a great time for jazz biography (essential studies recently published on Ellington, Armstrong, Bird, Mingus, and Bud Powell), as Nate Chinen points out in Sunday’s New York Times, it is also a terrific time for its presentation on the stages of New York, with Terry Teachout’s “Satchmo at the Waldorf” now playing at the Westside Theater, and Lanie Robertson’s “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” at Circle in the Square (revived after a successful Off Broadway run in 1986).
“Satchmo” seems particularly compelling, described by Chinen as a “showcase for the acclaimed classical actor John Douglas Thompson” who, in addition to playing Armstrong, also portrays his manager Joe Glaser “toggling between the two.” (He also briefly plays Miles Davis).
I haven’t seen either of these productions so my thoughts about them aren’t presently relevant, although my dreams about soon making a trip to the city where such entertainment options exist are!
“Satchmo at the Waldorf” trailer
Terry Teachout discusses “Satchmo”
A look at “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill”