Court Theatre Extends Satchmo at the Waldorf

image001-2Due to overwhelming demand, Court Theatre, under the leadership of Artistic Director Charles Newell and Executive Director Stephen J. Albert, announces an extension to its critically-acclaimed production of TerryTeachout’s Satchmo at the Waldorf, directed by Charles Newell and featuring Barry Shabaka Henley. Satchmo at the Waldorf now runs through February 14, 2016 at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Avenue. Tickets can be purchasedonline at or by calling the box office at (773) 753-4472.

The greatest trumpet player in the world has just finished a set in the Empire Room of the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York. It’s 1971, and Louis Armstrong is at the end of his incredibly successful career. After retiring backstage, he begins to reminisce about his life, revealing an intimate, unknown portrait of the man behind the trumpet and the ever-evolving struggle to live with dignity as a Black musician in a White world. Armstrong’s story is told through the voice of a single actor playing both Armstrong and his Jewish manager Joe Glaser, bringing to life an emotional journey of deep friendship and its tragic destruction. Satchmo at the Waldorf is an intimate exploration of Armstrong’s life, legacy, and above all,


Court’s production of Satchmo is part of a community-wide Louis Armstrong Festival, happening in partnership with The Beverly Arts Center, The Logan Center at the University of Chicago, The Promontory, South Shore Jazz Coalition, The Louis Armstrong House Museum and the Louis Armstrong Archives at Queens College New York. This community-wide festival allows audiences to deepen their understanding of Armstrong’s life through musical performances, historical exhibits, a symposium, talk-backs and film. A full schedule of events can be found at The Louis Armstrong Festival is supported by an IncentOvate grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and by the Chicago Community Trust and by the National Endowment of the Arts.

About the Artists

Terry Teachout (Playwright) is the drama critic of The Wall Street Journal, the critic-at-large of Commentary, and the author of “Sightings,” a biweekly column for the Journal about the arts in America. He also writes about the arts on his blog, “About Last Night” ( Satchmo at the Waldorf, his first play, was premiered in 2011 in Orlando, Florida, and has since been produced off Broadway and throughout America. Teachout’s latest book is Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington. His previous books include Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong, All in the Dances: A Brief Life of George Balanchine, and The Skeptic: A Life of H.L. Mencken. He has also written the libretti for three operas by Paul Moravec, The Letter, Danse Russe, and The King’s Man, and played jazz bass professionally in Kansas City before becoming a full-time writer.

Charles Newell (Artistic Director/Director) was awarded the SDCF Zelda Fichandler Award, “which recognizes an outstanding director or choreographer who is transforming the regional arts landscape through singular creativity and artistry in theatre.” Charlie has been Artistic Director of Court Theatre since 1994, where he has directed over 50 productions. He made his Chicago directorial debut in 1993 with The Triumph Of Love, which won the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Production. Charlie’s productions of Man of La Mancha and Caroline, Or Change have also won Best Production Jeffs. Other directorial highlights at Court include The Secret Garden, Iphigenia in Aulis, The Misanthrope, Tartuffe, Proof, Angels In America, An Iliad, Porgy and Bess, Three Tall Women, Titus Andronicus, Arcadia, Uncle Vanya, Raisin, The Glass Menagerie, Travesties, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Invention of Love, and Hamlet. Charlie has also directed at Goodman Theatre (Rock ‘n’ Roll), Guthrie Theater (The History Cycle, Cymbeline), Arena Stage, John Houseman’s The Acting Company (Staff Repertory Director), the California and Alabama Shakespeare Festivals, Juilliard, and New York University. He has served on the Board of TCG, as well as on several panels for the NEA. Opera directing credits include Marc Blitzstein’s Regina (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Rigoletto (Opera Theatre of St. Louis), Don Giovanni and The Jewel Box (Chicago Opera Theater), and Carousel (Glimmerglass Festival). Charlie was the recipient of the 1992 TCG Alan Schneider Director Award, and has been nominated for 16 Joseph Jefferson Director Awards, winning four times. In 2012, Charlie was honored by the League of Chicago Theatres with their Artistic Achievement Award.

Barry Shabaka Henley (Louis Armstrong) Feature films credits include Collateral, Miami Vice, The Terminal, Ali, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Devil In A Blue Dress and many others. Television credits include Flash Forward, Michael Mann’s Robbery Homicide Division, and HBO’s Luck. He has had guest starred on NYPD Blue, Law & Order, Shameless, Veep and many more. Henley spent 8 years as host and producer for a local NPR station in San Francisco. He appeared in August Wilson’s award-winning production of Jitney, winning an Obie, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, and the 2001/02 Olivier Award for best play. He has also appeared at The Taper Two in Joe Chakin’s production of Waiting For Godot and Robert Egan’s Richard II. He was in the company of actors at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, where he founded and was director of the Black Theatre Artists Workshop. He was the award-winning director of LATC’s production of Leslie Lee’s Rabbit Foot featuring Loretta Divine and Keb Mo. He is the writer and performer of the stage play Jungle Bells, which has played Los Angeles, San Francisco, East Berlin, and a critically acclaimed run at the Hackney Empire in East London. Henley has toured the globe as a company member of The San Francisco Mime Troupe. Most recently, he was the writer and star of Mingus Remixed, which premiered at the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre in San Francisco.

The creative team for Satchmo at the Waldorf includes John Culbert (scenic design), Nan Cibula-Jenkins (costume design), Keith Parham (lighting design), Andre Pluess (sound design) and Amanda Weener-Frederick (stage manager).


Now in its 61st season, Court Theatre is guided by its mission to discover the power of classic theatre. Court endeavors to make a lasting contribution to American theatre by expanding the canon of translations, adaptations, and classic texts. Court revives lost masterpieces, illuminates familiar texts, and distinguishes fresh, modern classics. Court engages and inspires its audience by providing artistically distinguished productions, audience enrichment activities, and student educational experiences.