Satchmo at the Waldorf
San Jose Stage Company
Coughing and wheezing desperately for his next breath and with shoulders hunched as he stumbles toward the portable oxygen tank in the corner, the elderly man we see entering the large, backstage dressing room still is recognizable at first sight. After all, who else always has a white handkerchief hanging loosely from his left hand while usually carrying in his right a shiny trumpet? More than fifty years after his death in 1970, the audience members of The Stage in San Jose – like probably still so many millions around the globe – immediately know Louis Armstrong when they see him.
Smiles come to every face as each remembers the smile and the sounds of this giant of twentieth-century jazz. As this reincarnated Louis regains his breath, we lean forward in anticipation to spend the next ninety minutes to hear that gravelly voice relish us with the tales of his seventy years of life. So lucky we are to be witnessing San Jose Stage Company’s current, must-see production of Terry Teachout’s Satchmo at the Waldorf and the tour de force performance by the solo star, L. Peter Callender – with full apologies that ‘tour de force’ does not come close to describe adequately the full extent of the stunning, captivating, and delightful performance we are to see.
Please continue to Talkin’ Broadway for the rest of my must-see review.
Rating: 5 E, MUST-SEE
A Theatre Eddys Best Bet Production
Satchmo at the Waldorf continues through February 26, 2023, at San Jose Stage Company, 490 South 1st Street, San Jose, CA. Tickets are available at https://www.thestage.org/ .
Photo Credit: Dave Lepori/San Jose Stage Company