PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: "Becoming Satchmo" Intimate Backstage Portraits as John Douglas Thompson Transforms into Louis Armstrong

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28 May 2014

John Douglas Thompson repeats his acclaimed performance in the New York premiere of Terry Teachout's one-man Louis Armstrong play Satchmo at the Waldorf. Photographer Reed Davis trailed the award-winning actor during a recent day at the theatre, capturing these moments.

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Onstage.
Photo by Reed Davis Photography



Long Wharf Theatre artistic director Gordon Edelstein directs. 

Here's how the play is billed: "In March of 1971, one of the greatest music legends the world would ever know was performing the final set of shows he would ever play at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel. But the audiences who adored him onstage never really saw the man behind the trumpet. In Terry Teachout's searing and surprisingly intimate play, Satchmo at the Waldorf, we encounter Louis Armstrong where few ever had the chance to see him: backstage. Reflecting on his own unlikely career amidst a rapidly changing society, the icon is stripped bare, revealing complexities and contradictions that his omnipresent smile, horn and handkerchief belied. Critically acclaimed actor John Douglas Thompson, seamlessly morphing between Armstrong, his manager Joe Glaser, and fellow trumpeter Miles Davis, gives one of the most vivid portraits ever created for the stage."



Thompson starred in the Wilma staging of Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train, which won him a Barrymore Award in 2004. He has also appeared at the Goodman Theatre in The Iceman Cometh. He played Richard III at Shakespeare & Co. in 2010, and won an OBIE for his portrayal of Othello in a 2009 production at Theater for a New Audience.

This is Teachout's first play. He's better known as the drama critic for The Wall Street Journal.

The design team includes Lee Savage (scenic design), Ilona Somogyi (costume design), Kevin Adams (lighting design) and John Gromada (sound design).

Tickets are available by phoning (212) 239-6200 or by visiting Telecharge.com. The Westside Theatre is located at 407 West 43rd Street.