ACT Explores Louis Armstrong's Complex Legacy with Terry Teachout's 'Satchmo at the Waldorf'

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 (Charles Erickson)

Louis Armstrong's music blazed trails by popularizing jazz and breaking down racial barriers during a time of segregation. But despite the gains he helped black musicians achieve, Armstrong has also been accused of pandering to whites and of having, as Dizzy Gillespie put it, an "Uncle Tom-like subservience." A one-man play opening at ACT this week explores Armstong's complex legacy and his relationships with his longtime manager Joe Glaser and fellow trumpeter Miles Davis. Forum talks with actor John Douglas Thompson and playwright Terry Teachout about Satchmo's life and legacy.

Louis Armstrong makes an appearance in this Betty Boop cartoon about 30 seconds in.

John Douglas Thompson did a little sampler for the New York Times:

More: More about "Satchmo at the Waldorf" at ATC


Terry Teachout, author of "Satchmo at the Waldorf"; author of "Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong"; drama critic for The Wall Street Journal

John Douglas Thompson, OBIE Award winning-actor; star of "Satchmo at the Waldorf"