February 03, 2011
Photo by David Noe
Actor Dennis Neal performs Satchmo at the Waldorf.
Since the 2011 Winter Park Institute began a few weeks ago, Terry Teachout, drama critic for The Wall Street Journal, has presented three literary workshops, each with their own unique characteristics and delightful surprises. But his final presentation, Turning a Life Into a Play, was perhaps the most enchanting as Teachout debuted a portion of his play, Satchmo at the Waldorf, a one-man show he began writing during his 2010 visit to the Winter Park Institute (WPI).
The play, based on his best-selling biography Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong, is moving toward its first commercial production. After a brief discussion about how the play was conceived, local actor Dennis Neal gave a riveting 45-minute performance playing the dual role of Louis Armstrong and his manager, Joe Glaser.
An audience filled with members of the theater community, faculty, students and WPI regulars gave Neal and Teachout a standing ovation. “I think the piece was really good,” said Professor of Theatre Arts and Dance Jennifer Cavenaugh, who was the evening’s facilitator. “It’s going to go somewhere and have a long life after this. It’s exciting that it first started here at Rollins.”
During his visit to this year’s Winter Park Institute, Teachout shared Danse Russe, his libretto for a new opera by Paul Moravec that will be premiered in 2011 by Philadelphia’s Center City Opera Theater; and Black Beauty: A Life of Duke Ellington, a biography that will be published in 2014 by Gotham Books.
These workshops have been a part of a series of Winter Park Institute events being offered this semester. The next event, scheduled for February 8, will feature John Gottman, author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. View the full listing of upcoming events.