Perhaps David Richards would have done better by staying at home with a bottle of Pepto-Bismol and tuning in to "St. Elsewhere." I am a professional musician, a performer, and I know when there is electricity on the stage and when there isn't. At the performance of "Satchmo" that I saw, there was.

I have also been around here long enough to know that Washington audiences don't applaud even before the musical numbers end and are not in the habit of giving standing ovations to "sorry musicals." What is Richards trying to prove?

Thank goodness musicians and dancers were hired for this show! The "jamming" and the brilliant dance routines, which are the essence of "Satchmo," demand the very best performers available -- not just actors. Furthermore, Louis Armstrong was about music: "My life has been my music. But the music ain't nothin' if you can't lay it on the public. The main thing is to live for that audience." Audiences of "Satchmo" will be thoroughly entertained, despite Richards' unfortunate review {Style, Aug. 7}.

Should Richards end up at the pearly gates (to the tune of Mr. Bilik's "Callin' the Children Home"), he will no doubt pan Gabriel -- who plays a mean trumpet, but is probably not much of an actor. Maybe he won't get in. -- Linda Smithey Ellinwood

David Richards' review of "Satchmo" lambasted a production that was enthusiastically greeted by the audience at the performance I attended. The show presents an interesting story about a great man, energetic performances, show-stopping trumpet tunes, crowd-pleasing Dixieland music, outstanding choreography and dance and a well-engineered and cleverly lit set. The performance was greeted by a standing ovation, not an everyday occurrence at the Kennedy Center and hardly the image of a crowd wanting its money back, as Richards so sanctimoniously states.

The audience obviously was pleased by the song "Red Beans and Rice," a dish referred to by Richards as "drivel." I would bestow upon Richards a heaping helping of the same in the hopes he would acquire a taste for what the theatergoing public likes. -- Gregory S. Ewell