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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

Stage Review

A deep, impassioned bio-play about a jazz legend

LENOX — We’ve all seen them: so-called bio-plays that muster the known facts of a subject’s life so superficially, you’d be better off just consulting Wikipedia. “Satchmo at the Waldorf,” Terry Teachout’s impassioned portrait of jazz pioneer Louis (“Satchmo”) Armstrong — receiving its New England premiere at Shakespeare & Company before heading to New Haven’s Long Wharf Theatre — goes deep.

Based on Armstrong’s private tape-recorded reminiscences, which in turn enriched Wall Street Journal theater critic Teachout’s well-received 2009 biography, “Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong,” this is a true play. It’s shaped; it has forward motion.

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