A Louis Armstrong musical – Chicago Tribune


Satchmo is coming to town as the leaves fall in October.

Chicago is slated to get a pre-Broadway tryout of a new musical about the iconic American trumpeter and gravel-voiced singer Louis Armstrong, its producers — Thomas E. Rodgers Jr. and Renee Delaplaine in association with Martian Entertainment — announced Tuesday. The show is to star James Monroe Iglehart, the actor best known for his Tony Award-winning performance as the Genie in the original Broadway production of the Disney musical “Aladdin.”

Titled “A Wonderful World,” written by Aurin Squire and directed by Christopher Renshaw, the musical was first seen at Miami New Drama just prior to the pandemic, albeit with a different cast, and there was an industry reading in New York this past fall with Iglehart in place.

The current push to Broadway will begin with a short run at the Saenger Theatre in Armstrong’s home city of New Orleans before a move to Chicago for a three-week run from Oct. 11-29 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St.

The show is a jukebox musical told from the perspective of the women in Armstrong’s life, exploring Armstrong’s career within the context of American racial history, and showcasing many of this great American musician’s hits, likely including such numbers as “What a Wonderful World”, “Hello, Dolly!”, “When You’re Smiling” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.” The show also will feature original music, music arrangements and orchestrations by Annastasia Victory and Michael O. Mitchell, with choreography by Rickey Tripp.

Armstrong lived, and frequently performed, in Chicago for most of the 1920s prior to his move to New York in 1929 and Los Angeles in 1930.

Individual tickets are not yet on sale. For more details and group bookings, visit www.broadwayinchicago.com.

Chris Jones is a Tribune critic.

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