Preview: John Douglas Thompson in Terry Teachout’s “Satchmo at the Waldorf” [Berkshire on Stage]
The Berkshire theatre season of 2012 is shaping up to be recalled as the year in which real people and their lives were made into intimate docu-dramas for the stage.
Back in June there was the fascinating – and largely untold – story of the lively Dr. Ruth Westheimer which returns September 19 to October 7 (Review) for another run at Barrington Stage Company. Then that of John Merrick, The Elephant Man (Review) who came and went in the blink of an eye at Wiliamstown Theatre Festival last month, and most recently Edith about the redoubtable First Lady, Edith Wilson, currently playing at the Berkshire Theatre Group.(Review)
Now comes the biography and back story on Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, an incredible musician, a colorful celebrity, and a witness to America as it changed from a segregated nation to one that has attempted to legislate civil rights for all. Terry Teachout’s play is based on his book, Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong. He is expected to be on hand for much of the rehearsal process, and has been seen in the Berkshires quite often this summer as the company has prepared to mount his play.