Fifteen Men in a Smoke-Filled Room

Critics

LemonMeter

85 %

Reviews: 10

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

Thu Dec 12, 8:00pm
Fri Dec 13, 8:00pm
Sat Dec 14, 8:00pm
Sun Dec 15, 2:00pm

Chicago, June, 1920. The Republican National Convention is in full swing. Warren G.
Harding is overwhelmed by the prospect of being the nominee of the Republican Party for President. Hounded by an ambitious campaign manager, a paralyzingly superstitious wife, a star-struck young mistress, and the frightening pull of inevitability, Harding seems destined to be President----or is he? This play explores the extent to which fate controls our lives. Is there a higher power that determines our destinies or are we the aggregate result of the idiosyncracies of flawed humanity?

Written by Colin Speer Crowley. Directed by Jules Aaron.

Reviews

Avatar

Finding more layers and unspoken actions may be the key to unlocking the play.

sweet-sour - Joe Straw - Joe Straw #9 - ...read full review


Avatar

Not to brag, but there are very many categories I can run on Jeopardy. But “US Presidents” is definitely not one of them. So I especially enjoy learning about them when I can, and this very interesting play by Colin Speer Crowley afforded me one such opportunity.

sweet - Karen Salkin - It's Not About Me - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

Harding is portrayed as an unconscious tool of other men, other forces, almost hounded by inevitable fate, preordained by destiny as if in some ancient Greek play where the gods command the last word in the action. From a dramatic point of view, perhaps it could be said that Harding is not even the protagonist. That part goes to Daugherty, who also has to overcome the paralysis he encounters in Florence Kling Harding (Roslyn Cohn), the senator’s superstitious, shrewish wife (five years older than Harding), whose fervent belief in “the stars” and in their infallible interpreter, a certain clairvoyant Madame Marcia, presents a powerful obstruction to the progress of the plan.

Mrs. Harding, smart, sarcastic and sassy, has the best lines in the play. “You and your friends,” she snarls to Daugherty, “will dictate to my husband. And why not? He never had any ideas of his own to begin with…. I can see nothing but tragedy, turmoil and heartache.” She and Warren are all either of them has (how much she knows or cares about Nan is a question): “Desolation is my home town—population 2.”

sweet - Eric Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Carol Kaufman Segal

Fifteen Men In A Smoke-Filled Room is directed flawlessly by Jules Aaron.  A superb cast brings these historic characters to life. - Highly Recommended

sweet - Carol Kaufman Segal - Carol's Culture Corner - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

Without looking at the press release for Colin Speer Crowley’s play, Fifteen Men in a Smoke-Filled Room, I conjured up mental images of political comedy with over-fed men puffing on stogies while they harangue and scheme and plot ways to subvert the republic and line their pockets with filthy lucre. That is not the game plan for this play. No, it is rather a drama about the sadness of Warren Gamaliel Harding, a reluctant candidate for the 1920 Republican nomination for president.

sweet-sour - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review


Avatar

FIFTEEN MEN IN A SMOKE-FILLED ROOM could not be more timely, an intriguing glimpse of the political elite and their methods and means of influencing the future of the United States. History buffs will certainly enjoy this production – but the contemporary feel of events which happened almost 100 years ago will also appeal to current audiences.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review


Avatar

Fifteen Men is skillfully acted (the cast also includes Kevin Dulude doubling as a newspaper publisher and a hotel waiter). It is also crisply directed by Jules Aaron…and looks historically accurate, thanks to Jeff G. Rack’s sumptuous, detailed set.

sweet - Willard Manus - Total Theater - ...read full review


Avatar

The play is a mildly interesting look at political machinations (made by men in smoke-filled rooms), but as drama, the production only occasionally sparkles. The script is labored, and a heaviness overhangs the action. The very able director, Jules Aaron, keeps the evening flowing, but even he can’t completely overcome the story’s limitations.

sweet-sour - Iris Mann - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

Technically Fifteen Men runs with the proficiency of a Swiss watch, from the set design by Jeff G. Rack, which is elegant and a period-perfect replication to Michelle Young’s equally impressive costumes, which evoke 1920s fashion, to Joseph “Sloe” Slawinski’s sound engineering, which alludes to the cacophony of noises that might come with a political convention and Brandon Baruch’s lighting motif, which provides shadings in mood and variations in location.

However corrupt and inept the Harding Administration may have been, the fact that our country was able to overcome the detriments of that epoch gives us hope in our own age of political incompetence. That’s the value in experiencing Fifteen Men in a Smoke-filled Room.

sweet - Ben Miles - ShowMag - ...read full review


Avatar

The cast of characters that appear in this Theatre 40 production show off their performances as tight as the story itself. Although it’s rather talky in nature, this talkiness moves the story into the highs and lows of political based drama based upon actual episodes–with a little bit of creative license blended for dramatic effect.

sweet - Rich Borowy - Accessibly Live Off-Line - ...read full review


Avatar

Finding more layers and unspoken actions may be the key to unlocking the play.

sweet-sour - Joe Straw - Joe Straw #9 - ...read full review


Avatar

Not to brag, but there are very many categories I can run on Jeopardy. But “US Presidents” is definitely not one of them. So I especially enjoy learning about them when I can, and this very interesting play by Colin Speer Crowley afforded me one such opportunity.

sweet - Karen Salkin - It's Not About Me - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

Harding is portrayed as an unconscious tool of other men, other forces, almost hounded by inevitable fate, preordained by destiny as if in some ancient Greek play where the gods command the last word in the action. From a dramatic point of view, perhaps it could be said that Harding is not even the protagonist. That part goes to Daugherty, who also has to overcome the paralysis he encounters in Florence Kling Harding (Roslyn Cohn), the senator’s superstitious, shrewish wife (five years older than Harding), whose fervent belief in “the stars” and in their infallible interpreter, a certain clairvoyant Madame Marcia, presents a powerful obstruction to the progress of the plan.

Mrs. Harding, smart, sarcastic and sassy, has the best lines in the play. “You and your friends,” she snarls to Daugherty, “will dictate to my husband. And why not? He never had any ideas of his own to begin with…. I can see nothing but tragedy, turmoil and heartache.” She and Warren are all either of them has (how much she knows or cares about Nan is a question): “Desolation is my home town—population 2.”

sweet - Eric Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Carol Kaufman Segal

Fifteen Men In A Smoke-Filled Room is directed flawlessly by Jules Aaron.  A superb cast brings these historic characters to life. - Highly Recommended

sweet - Carol Kaufman Segal - Carol's Culture Corner - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

Without looking at the press release for Colin Speer Crowley’s play, Fifteen Men in a Smoke-Filled Room, I conjured up mental images of political comedy with over-fed men puffing on stogies while they harangue and scheme and plot ways to subvert the republic and line their pockets with filthy lucre. That is not the game plan for this play. No, it is rather a drama about the sadness of Warren Gamaliel Harding, a reluctant candidate for the 1920 Republican nomination for president.

sweet-sour - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review


Avatar

FIFTEEN MEN IN A SMOKE-FILLED ROOM could not be more timely, an intriguing glimpse of the political elite and their methods and means of influencing the future of the United States. History buffs will certainly enjoy this production – but the contemporary feel of events which happened almost 100 years ago will also appeal to current audiences.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review


Avatar

Fifteen Men is skillfully acted (the cast also includes Kevin Dulude doubling as a newspaper publisher and a hotel waiter). It is also crisply directed by Jules Aaron…and looks historically accurate, thanks to Jeff G. Rack’s sumptuous, detailed set.

sweet - Willard Manus - Total Theater - ...read full review


Avatar

The play is a mildly interesting look at political machinations (made by men in smoke-filled rooms), but as drama, the production only occasionally sparkles. The script is labored, and a heaviness overhangs the action. The very able director, Jules Aaron, keeps the evening flowing, but even he can’t completely overcome the story’s limitations.

sweet-sour - Iris Mann - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

Technically Fifteen Men runs with the proficiency of a Swiss watch, from the set design by Jeff G. Rack, which is elegant and a period-perfect replication to Michelle Young’s equally impressive costumes, which evoke 1920s fashion, to Joseph “Sloe” Slawinski’s sound engineering, which alludes to the cacophony of noises that might come with a political convention and Brandon Baruch’s lighting motif, which provides shadings in mood and variations in location.

However corrupt and inept the Harding Administration may have been, the fact that our country was able to overcome the detriments of that epoch gives us hope in our own age of political incompetence. That’s the value in experiencing Fifteen Men in a Smoke-filled Room.

sweet - Ben Miles - ShowMag - ...read full review


Avatar

The cast of characters that appear in this Theatre 40 production show off their performances as tight as the story itself. Although it’s rather talky in nature, this talkiness moves the story into the highs and lows of political based drama based upon actual episodes–with a little bit of creative license blended for dramatic effect.

sweet - Rich Borowy - Accessibly Live Off-Line - ...read full review