“Fifteen Men” got a mention!

As I have mentioned, my play “Fifteen Men in a Smoke-Filled Room” is being produced this August by Elite Theatre Company of Oxnard, CA. The play runs from August 30-September 31 and will be the world premiere production of the piece after many, many years of staged readings and festival wins (over 10!).

In that regard, the hosts of a new Ventura County theatre podcast recently published their first episode on Soundcloud. In that episode, they praised Elite Theatre and also provided a summary review of the 2018 seasons of eight Ventura theaters, including announcing all the Main Stage shows at Elite.

You can listen to the podcast below:

  • Elite is mentioned starting at 17:35
  • My play is mentioned starting at 19:11

Thanks to the Firehouse!

With great pleasure, I witnessed my play “Fifteen Men in a Smoke-Filled Room” being presented by the Firehouse Center for the Arts in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

“Fifteen Men” won the Pestalozzi Prize:

“The Pestalozzi Prize … is awarded in honor of the now-dissolved, non-profit Pestalozzi Foundation set up by Herman C. Honegger after World War II to create educational opportunities for underprivileged children whose education was disrupted by the conflict in Europe. Later, the children and grandchildren of Mr. Honegger continued to fund children’s education and art projects. The New Works Festval prize is a gift from the Honegger family.”

I have to take my hat off to the wonderful direction of Ellen Dempsey and her great cast of actors and actresses: Charles Van Eman (Warren G. Harding), June Kfoury (Florence Kling Harding), Timothy Kenslea (Harry M. Daugherty), Ashley Risteen (Nan Britton), and Doug Brendel (George Harvey). Charles and Ashley were especially wonderful, showing me the dramatic potential of scenes that have been underperformed in prior readings.

After the show, I engaged in a talkback with the audience, moderated by festival stalwart and author Anne Easter Smith.

Here we are, in all our glory:

Firehouse Talkback

From left-to-right: Anne Easter Smith, yours truly, Ellen Dempsey, Charles Van Eman, Ashley Risteen

Once again, thanks to Firehouse Center for the Arts for a job well done – a truly professional organization!

Great article – check it out

I came across a great article today about Firehouse’s new works festival that highlights my play “Fifteen Men in a Smoke-Filled Room.”

2018 takes the stage: 16th annual New Works Festival celebrates New England playwrights

“Ellen Dempsey is the director of the 2018 full-length play “Fifteen Men In A Smoke-Filled Room” written by Colin Spear-Crowley of Westport, CT.

“The play is about Warren G. Harding and is set in 1920 at the Republican Convention,” Dempsey said. “It’s very much based on fact. The author calls it a tragedy and I think that holds true. In a lot of ways nothing has changed in the last 100 years.

“There was a lot of political maneuvering and the intrigue of hiding a political mistress. Did people really know and hide it, or did they not know? Mrs. Harding was a believer in psychics and a psychic told her that her husband would be elected and would die in office, and he did.”

Playwright Spear-Crowley is “a very good writer,” Easter Smith said, “and his stage direction is almost as good as his dialogue. He writes, ‘Don’t underestimate Mrs. Harding. She’s a tank in a bonnet.’”

“The play is political,” Dempsey said, “but it’s a human drama.””

Looking forward to the show tonight!

Firehouse Theatre Billboard

“Fifteen Men” coming up!

Tomorrow, I will be attending the opening night of the Firehouse Center for the Arts new play festival where my play “Fifteen Men in a Smoke-Filled Room” will be given a staged reading.

A wonderful article was published today in the Newburyport News about the festival, which neatly sums it up and helps to illustrate the collaborative effort it represents.

“Serving up New Works – Fresh plays take the stage for annual festival at Firehouse”

Some excerpts:

“Welcome to New Works, the world of the unexpected, where newness and spontaneity forge communal bonds among writers, directors, players, crews and audiences.

Over four days this weekend and next, 40 actors will perform 17 jury-selected works by New England playwrights at Newburyport’s Firehouse Center for the Arts.

The original plays, selected from around 200 entries, include a full-length on Friday, Jan. 19; six 10-minute shorts on Saturday, Jan. 20; two one-acts on Friday, Jan. 26; and eight shorts on Saturday, Jan. 27.

The article includes this photo from my play:

Fifteen Men Scene - Firehouse

From left to right Doug Brendel, Charlie Van Eman, and Ashley Risteen

Next up… the Firehouse!!

The date for the staged reading of “Fifteen Men in a Smoke-Filled Room” is fast approaching!

The play will open the festival and be performed on Friday, January 19th at 8pm.

Firehouse Center for the Arts Festival Information

“Fifteen Men” is being directed by Ellen Dempsey and stars Charlie Van Eman, June Kfoury, Doug Brendel, Ashley Risteen, Timothy Kenslea, and Terry Blanchard.

Tickets can be purchased here!

“Fifteen Men being produced!

I am very happy to say that my seminal work, “Fifteen Men in a Smoke-Filled Room,” is being produced by Elite Theatre Company of Oxnard, CA as part of their 2018 season!

Elite Theatre

Elite Theatre Company

Elite Theatre Company was founded in 1994 and “brings together the local talents of amateurs and professionals who share a passion for theater and who generously volunteer their time on the stage and behind the scenes.” Its complete season “includes 5 main stage productions, youth shows, classes and workshops and special one night only events.” The theatre has focused on promoting and developing new works for over twenty years. At least one of their productions every year is a world premier full-length play, alongside multiple one-acts.

“Fifteen Men in a Smoke-Filled Room” will run from August 24 through September 23. I’m very proud to see “Fifteen Men” attain this height after years and years (and years) of developmental work. This is the first “real” play I wrote (“real” being defined as “acceptable for public viewing”) and it has received numerous awards and recognitions. (This includes a staged reading that takes place on January 19, 2018 by Firehouse Center for the Arts in Newburyport, MA – come and see it!) In all that time, though, the play has never once been produced… until now.

Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 3.34.39 PM

Thanks very much to Elite Theatre and its Artistic Director, Tom Eubanks!

Back to the Firehouse!

I learned today that my classical tragedy “Fifteen Men in a Smoke-Filled Room” has won the Pestoluzzi Prize (for a full-length play) from the Firehouse Center for the Arts in Newburyport, MA.

This is a special award for me because my tragicomedy “Encore, Encore” won the same award for the 2015 contest (click here to take a little stroll down Memory Lane with me!!!).

This is the first time I’ve won an award twice for the same contest… not too shabby!

Firehouse Logo

“Firehouse” did a magnificent job performing “Encore, Encore” back in 2015 – wonderful actors, wonderful director (Anne Easter Smith) – so I’m looking forward to their newest incarnation of “Fifteen Men.” It is truly a wonderful theater, carved out of an old firehouse – hence, the name – an incredibly professional organization. Everyone was very pleasant to me when I attended their new play festival last time.

The festival itself – entitled “The Long and the Short of It” – showcases one full-length play, one one-act play, and a number of shorter plays. It takes place over two weekends in January, 2018. This is the thirteenth year of the festival, which, in its history, has premiered over 160 plays. Last year, the festival featured 43 actors, 17 directors, and 16 playwrights – a wonderful testament to Firehouse’s commitment to new works!

As winner of the Pestoluzzi Prize, “Fifteen Men” will be performed on the opening night of the festival – Friday, January 19, 2018… so mark your calendars!


“Fifteen Men” recognized

I am extremely pleased to report that my classical tragedy “Fifteen Men in a Smoke-Filled Room” has been announced as winning second place in an inaugural new play competition sponsored by Floyd Community Theatre Guild of Floyd, Virginia.

Floyd Playwriting Competition

Floyd Community Theatre “aims to engage, inspire and entertain audiences with theatrical productions that challenge the thinking or open minds of those involved.” They also “provide educational programs in theatrical arts that promote learning to a diverse community while encouraging through the entire process” – a very important contribution. They have a wonderful and extremely active Facebook page.

playwriting competition was their first-ever contest. My play was in the top 10% of scripts and one of five finalists. I am very grateful to Floyd Community Theatre for their consideration and wish them the best of luck. Community theaters are the future of American theater and they are making an important contribution. It’s especially rare for a community theatre to sponsor a new play contest – so kudos to them!

Thank you, Floyd Community Theatre Guild!

“Fifteen Men” a finalist

I’m very proud to announce that my play “Fifteen Men in A Smoke-Filled Room” was a finalist in the HRC Theatre New Playwriting Competition.

HRC Showcase

HRC Theatre Showcase is the “premier theater company of the Hudson River Valley.” It is based in Hudson, New York and was founded in 1991 by a group of dedicated theater artists (although the current name came later). The organization has always centered its mission around “the development of new plays and the presentation of classics.” Its new play contest was premiered in 1993 and currently garners upwards of 160 entries per year.

I am very, very honored to have “Fifteen Men” honored as a finalist in this year’s contest. My work was one of 14 plays (out of 130 submissions this year) to be so honored.

I have been invited to re-submit the work next year and will revise the play in preparation for that. It remains one of my personally best-loved and most sentimental plays.