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Louis Armstrong bio-musical ‘A Wonderful World’ will arrive on Broadway

Tony Award winner James Monroe Iglehart will play the jazz trumpeter and vocalist.

James Monroe Iglehart as Louis Armstrong in the pre-Broadway production of “A Wonderful World” at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans, 2023 (Credit: Jeremy Daniel)

“A Wonderful World” is headed to Broadway. The new musical which chronicles the life of jazz musician Louis Armstrong will begin previews on Oct. 16 and open on Nov. 11 at Studio 54. Tony Award winner James Monroe Iglehart will take on the role of Armstrong. Tony nominee Christopher Renshaw will direct.

Co-conceived by Renshaw and Andrew Delaplaine and featuring a book by Aurin Squire, the musical tells the story of Armstrong’s life through the perspective of his four wives. The score includes songs made famous by Armstrong.

One of the jazz’s most influential figures, Armstrong had a career that spanned from the 1920s to the 1960s. He became known for soulful recordings of “Cheek to Cheek,” “Blueberry Hill,” “Everybody Loves My Baby,” “Makin’ Whoopee,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “What a Wonderful World.” Those in the theater world remember his performance of the title number in 1969’s “Hello, Dolly!” movie musical.

“A Wonderful World” had its world premiere in 2021 in Miami, a staging which was headlined by Juson Williams as Armstrong. The musical played pre-Broadway engagements in New Orleans and Chicago in 2023, both of which starred Iglehart.

“I am so excited to bring this wonderful, brand-new musical to Broadway,” said Iglehart in a statement. “American music wouldn’t be what it is today without Louis Armstrong, and what is Broadway if not American music? ‘Pops’ doesn’t get enough credit for his contribution to our entertainment industry or our country. I feel such a strong connection and an obligation to bring his voice, his music, and his story to the one place where it can be presented in all its glory — Broadway!”

Iglehart is currently featured as King Arthur in the Broadway revival of “Spamalot.” He won a 2014 Tony Award for his turn as the Genie in “Aladdin.” He made his Broadway debut in 2007, replacing in the role of Mitch Mahoney in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” He subsequently appeared as Bobby in “Memphis,” Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson in “Hamilton” and Billy Flynn in “Chicago.” He was also seen in both the 2019 and 2021 engagements of “Freestyle Love Supreme.”

Additional casting and creative members for “A Wonderful World” will be announced.

“A Wonderful World” is being produced by Thomas E. Rodgers, Jr., Renee Rodgers, Martian Entertainment (Carl D. White and Gregory Rae), Vanessa Williams and Elizabeth Curtis, in association with Roundabout Theatre Company, owner and operator of Studio 54. “A Wonderful World” will be included as part of Roundabout’s 2024-2025 subscription series.