Michael Shannon plays Warren G. Harding and Marcia Rodd his strong-willed wife Florence in Everyone's Friend, now running through Oct. 3 at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. Written by James Staley and directed by Vickery Turner, the play also features Ranjani Brow, Amy Lindsay, Robert F. Lyons and Joe Taylor.
Harding, the 29th president of the United States, headed a scandal-ridden political dynasty between 1921-1923. He conducted an affair -- in the Oval Office closet! -- with his young mistress, the mother of his illegitimate daughter, and fathered another out-of-wedlock child with Carrie Phillips, a married woman whose silence was bought with a blackmail fund donated by Harding's rich friends.
Staley is also an actor. He appeared on Broadway in A Texas Trilogy (directed by Alan Schneider) and with James Earl Jones in Of Mice and Men. His debut play, Everyone's Friend is part of a trilogy dealing with the lives of three Presidents: Harding, Woodrow Wilson and Herbert Hoover.
The Whitefire Theatre is located at 13500 Ventura Blvd. For tickets and information call (323) 655-TKTS.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent