Trumpet virtuoso, singer and bandleader Louis Armstrong propelled jazz onto the mainstream stage, shaping the music with his own distinctive style. Jazz documentary producer Ken Burns says “Armstrong is to music what Einstein is to Physics, and the Wright Brothers are to travel.”
Yet, the man behind the legend is less well known. The Wilma Theater is now staging Satchmo at the Waldorf, a one-man show by Terry Teachout, who is also the Wall Street Journal drama critic and the author of Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong. Both the book and the play are informed by audio tapes Armstrong made of his private conversations with friends and family.
Susan Lewis talks with playwright Terry Teachout, actor John Douglas Thompson, and WRTI's Maureen Malloy about Armstrong and his life, and about how the tapes, the book, and the play reveal a different, lesser-known side of the jazz icon.