Members say: Thought-provoking, Relevant, Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent

About the show

Centered around an elite private school, Lincoln Center's new play from Joshua Harmon explodes the ideals and contradictions of liberal white America. Featuring Jessica Hecht.

... Read more

In' Admissions', Sherri Rosen-Mason is head of the admissions department at The Hillcrest School, fighting to diversify the student body. And alongside her husband, the school's Headmaster, they've largely succeeded in bringing a stodgy institution into the twenty-first century. But when their only son sets his sights on an Ivy League university, personal ambition collides with progressive values, with convulsive results. 


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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

80
Theatermania

"Hecht gives a recognizably human performance of a woman forced to confront the contradictions between her lifestyle and ideals...Aukin helms an unexpectedly provocative production that masquerades as something far less threatening...'Admissions' daringly asks if our proudly touted accomplishments vis-à-vis 'diversity' are really just a cover for keeping that oppressive system largely intact...It's a question that lands like a gut-punch to the American psyche." Full Review

80
Time Out New York

"Narrowly focused but well-argued issue play...When I saw the play, Charlie’s long, frustrated rant about the unfairness of his situation was greeted with a smattering of ambiguous applause: Were people clapping for Edelman’s ardent performance, or the sharpness of the writing?...The nuanced and competing truths in Harmon’s 90-minute play are like a first act that dares its spectators to create a second out of postshow conversations." Full Review

85
The New York Times

"Despite some flaws common to its genre, 'Admissions' is an extraordinarily useful and excruciating satire — of the left, by the left, for the left — for today...Almost every piece of information supplied at the start pays off by the end...Still, I’m not sure that Daniel Aukin’s warm and intermittently rollicking production finds the right tone...No matter. One of the things the theater should be doing today, and rarely does, is lancing the boil of our own self-deception." Full Review

85
New York Stage Review

"Harmon’s laceratingly scabrous play...Hecht is altogether excellent...Edelman gives a cyclonic performance, suggesting he is at the beginning of a notable career...Harmon has his mind, and his sabre-point, on something else altogether. The author clearly knows how to set a thinking audience roaring. But 'Admissions' is not merely another excellent and canny comedy; it is a lacerating look at racial attitudes which upends the smug attitudes of privileged bystanders." Full Review

80
Lighting & Sound America

"Aukin is something of a Harmon specialist, and he orchestrates the debates with plenty of brio, aided by the well-chosen cast. Hecht is hair-raisingly on target...Edelman incarnates adolescent rage in its purest form...Garman delivers his lines from low and outside, expertly underplaying as Bill...Everyone involved has come together to support Harmon's provocative, unsettling argument that achieving the ideal of true diversity may be a lot harder than it initially looks." Full Review

85
Theater Life

"An unflinching look at liberal assumptions about engineering diversity in education...Combines razor-sharp humor with pointed commentary to produce a scathing satire of our racial politics...Director Daniel Aukin wisely keeps the satire from becoming too broad as does his exemplary cast lead by Jessica Hecht as the conflicted mother. Once again, Off-Broadway is leading the way in presenting fresh, challenging work." Full Review

55
New York Theater

"Well-acted and well-designed and perhaps well-meaning. As provocative as it is in its characters’ ambivalence, the play is also ambiguous in its provocations...The satirical tone is complicated by a scene that is an indisputable high point of the production, but contains a confusing mixed message...For all the cleverness of its writing, and the sophistication of Aukin’s direction, 'Admissions' adds up to a stacked deck. As a result, the play is, 'at its core,' superficial." Full Review

85
Theater Pizzazz

"Holds you firmly in its grip because you feel you're watching something meaningfully alive…It sometimes may seem like an artificial setup for a dramatically contrived debate about issues without a clear resolution, and its lack of a single person of color in a play about diversity is questionable. Nevertheless, the fullness of its dialogue, the force of its passion, the conviction of its performance, and, especially, its varying points of view will needle you all the way home." Full Review

80
The Hollywood Reporter

"A smart, provocative drama with a rich vein of humor that pulls the rug out from under liberal white America, letting nobody off scot-free...Even if 'Admissions' is a little speechy and could use some trimming, it represents a satisfying expansion of the playwright's range after his well-received previous efforts...Director Daniel Aukin and his fine cast confidently steer 'Admissions' through this sticky, at times morally murky territory." Full Review

80
Times Square Chronicles

"Where do those who step aside sacrificing their abilities go? This is what is addressed, though not answered in 'Admissions'...The actors are all at the top of their game, hitting the ball out of the park. Daniel Aukin’s direction throws Harmon’s words into our faces, showcasing the hypocrisy of where we are at. 'Admissions' brings privilege and affirmative action into play but gives no resolve, maybe because there is none." Full Review

45
New York Daily News

"Too bad this would-be button-pusher about white privilege, white power and white anxiety is too tightly — conveniently, actually — constructed for its own good. The Lincoln Center production directed by Daniel Aukin strangles itself before your eyes...Through it all, Hecht is fully on her game. Her characterization makes Sherri smart, demanding, prickly, sympathetic, all too human — with the requisite shades of gray. 'Admissions,' meanwhile, is wearyingly monotonous." Full Review

84
Front Mezz Junkies

"Revolving around the ideas of racism and diversity with a steady hand and a compelling angle...directed with a clarity and compassion for friendships and family...One of those plays where you keep agreeing with the person speaking, only until the next person does, and then a readjustment and recalibration takes place...The writing is an expertly coordinated attack on each and everyone on stage, and these actors take those hits magnificently." Full Review

70
CurtainUp

"Not just another amusing look at contemporary life but an issue heavy play...Sharp and smartly pointed as Mr. Harmon's dialogue is, the play's long speeches are rather self-indulgent, his characters overly convenient stand-ins for the issues that inspired the play. Fortunately Aukin's production helps us buy into a set-up that's unlikely to play out this way in real life...Most importantly, there's the cast who turn everyone into understandable human beings." Full Review

85
Theatre Reviews Limited

"A convincing and cogent exposé of white privilege and entitlement generated by members of the white community itself...A gripping new play...Under Daniel Aukin's captivating direction, the engaging cast reveals the depth of meaning and the layers of rhetorical argument in Joshua Harmon's explosively honest and intriguing script...It is impossible to leave a performance...without being deeply moved and deeply unsettled." Full Review

75
TheaterScene.net

"Joshua Harmon's 'Admissions' with its punning title raises some very pertinent questions about race and gender at this moment in time and is unsettling in the undercurrent of hypocrisy it reveals. On the other hand, it ultimately has no answers and is as intricately worked out as a Chinese box, a dramaturgical coup, but which seems a bit too neat for its own good. However, Aukin's production makes for riveting theater no matter how this story of reverse racism strikes you." Full Review

90
Gotham Playgoer

"When Yale accepts Perry but places Charlie on the deferred list, Charlie is humiliated. The 15-minute rant he delivers about the disadvantaged status of the white male besieged by affirmative action and feminism is the play’s dramatic highlight...The dialogue is sharp and the balance between satire and realism is mostly successful. A few scenes run a bit longer than necessary. The cast brings the characters vividly to life vividly...Aukin shows a real affinity for Harmon’s work." Full Review

85
Talkin' Broadway

"Insightful and often sharply funny...One of the real strengths of the play is that, while it certainly exaggerates things in order to support its theme, it withholds skewering its central characters with claw-and-fang accusations of hypocrisy...Harmon has shown a flair for staying just this side of unmitigated browbeating social satire...A well-paced, even-handed exploration of white privilege among imperfect liberal allies of social justice causes." Full Review

70
Theater News Online

"Harmon once again proves to be blisteringly funny, somewhat unpredictable and, above all, shockingly daring...While one must praise Harmon for holding up a mirror to our inner prejudices and making us look, one also can’t overlook some of the play’s glaringly structural flaws...Only time will tell if 'Admissions' is a play for the ages or strictly of the moment – all the better reason to enter its world while you still can." Full Review

80
Front Row Center

"Interesting, if ultimately limited...The cast is excellent...Hecht and Garman deliver solid performances...Aukin's staging is adroit, apart from some minor bumps and flatness...The play never seems to open itself up to the larger issues of race...This is a play specifically about white people and how they respond, or not...In a play ostensibly about race, there is not one person of color in the cast." Full Review

60
Broadway & Me

"Race has long been a divisive issue in this country...So Joshua Harmon deserves credit for jumping into the thicket of it...And I'm going to applaud his chutzpah even though I can't totally champion his play...Before the play ends, all kinds of uncomfortable confessions will be made...I just wish 'Admissions' had dealt with it all better...The second show I've seen over the past month that danced up to a hot-button topic and then danced away just as quickly before it got burned." Full Review

45
Towleroad

"An all-white cast in a play about affirmative action...Aside from Bill, Harmon's other characters practically beg to be loathed. Charlie especially so...Charlie's neuroses are relentlessly narcissistic to the point that he seems insufferable, even for an over-privileged teen...That it's impossible to root for Charlie may be the point...Focus on white points of view...If resisting interracial confrontation is a deliberate choice, it's one that keeps 'Admissions' drama deferred, indefinitely." Full Review

85
On and Off Broadway

"Harmon's new play, 'Admissions,' confirms that he’s a writer to be reckoned with—Engaging and provocative theater that reflects the issues of the day...As the play unfolds, powerful forces, each superbly dramatized and acted, crash and collide...Though the play ends quietly and indecisively, it provokes and forces us to go on thinking about it long after we’ve left the theater...Hecht rises from excellent character actress in this to the ranks of radiant star." Full Review

60
Daily Beast

"The play is brimming with chaotic contentiousness, which can produce the best kind of dramatic whiplash. But its weak spot is tone. Beached between comedy and social drama, the actors find themselves working in different, clashing registers...For all its cleverness parsing and filleting white middle-class hypocrisy to what looked like a mainly white middle-class audience, 'Admissions' remains a self-contained parlor game." Full Review

45
New York Magazine / Vulture

"The icky irony is that it’s letting the overwhelmingly white audience at 'Admissions' feel like we’re grappling with something difficult, even as we’re being allowed to indulge in some pretty basically racist lines of thought...The skillfulness Hecht and her fellow castmates bring to their roles is part of what makes 'Admissions' hard to pick apart. They’re doing a great job with material that’s simultaneously well written and ideologically wack." Full Review

75
DC Metro Theater Arts

"Harmon’s script requires some suspension of disbelief...'Admissions' offers no easy answers, but it does open up the conversation, raising important questions about what is fair, who decides, and what kind of person you want to be in our society’s pursuit of equal opportunity in education, professional development, and life. By giving voice to all sides of the all-white discussion, as laughable or disturbing as they might be, Harmon makes it clear there are a lot of grey areas." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

89
Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Disappointing

See it if you like wordy plays that discuss important issues.Focuses upon racism, white privilege.Shows what happens when ideals have personal impact

Don't see it if you don't like "talky" shows.Staging is awkward.There's a lot of overacting. BUT it has an important message and is well worth seeing.

86
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if You have a child that is applying to college or has gone through the process.

Don't see it if You aren't interested in what goes on today to get into college.

87
Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great staging

See it if You enjoy plays with social and political discussions about modern issues including race.

Don't see it if You don’t like plays about race discussed by white people. You prefer more light-hearted and simpler subjects.

65
Funny, Great acting, Relevant, Excruciating, Hypocritical

See it if you want to see an incisive play about race relations, white guilt, and affirmative action in the wealthy echelons of America (prep schools)

Don't see it if a white playwright preaching to a white audience about the necessity of more diverse voices strikes you as inappropriate or hypocritical.

82
Absorbing, Clever, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if Well acted play about privilege and affirmative action does make you think. Teen’s rant is excellent and hits the right tone.

Don't see it if No diversity in cast -intentionally disturbing?

92
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Entertaining, Great acting, writing and staging

See it if You want to see a very thought-provoking play and an exciting performance by Ben Edelman. Excellent production in every way.

Don't see it if You don't want to think about difficult issues and if you don't like plays that consist of people talking and arguing with each other.

Also I am a big fan of the playwright Josh Harmon. (Bad Jews is one of my f... Read more Read less

75
Clever, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Relevant, Great writing

See it if you enjoy topical plays on "not just black and white" themes.

Don't see it if empathy isn't your strong-suit.

81
Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Cliched

See it if Josh Harmon pushes the envelope, and he does. Jessica Hecht is great as an admissions director for a prep school torn to promote diversity.

Don't see it if going overboard peddling the notion of celebrating diversity in school as a be all is a bit downputting.

82
Clever, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you're interested in a timely play about affirmative action which cleverly exposes a lot of hypocrisy. Great acting—dramatic and funny.

Don't see it if the idea of an affirmative action play with an entirely white cast is too off-putting for you or you don't like long ranting monologues.

90
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Profound, Entertaining

See it if you want to be intellectually engaged and well entertained. Great subject matter, smartly written and beautifully performed. Recommended

Don't see it if you don't like intelligent, satirical social commentary plays, that engage your mind; or if you don't, for some reason, like Jessica Hecht.

74
Absorbing, Relevant, Disappointing, Entertaining, Talk to the hand

See it if you are interested in school diversity, mixed messages, parental hypocricy. Jessica Hecht is excellent as mother and head of admissions.

Don't see it if Bizarre that a play about diversity has an all white cast playing to an all white audience. Interesting enough, but needs more depth.

92
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Must see, Resonant

See it if you want to see a play that is incredibly relevant that makes you question your own preexisting notions of race and privilege.

Don't see it if you're looking for an upbeat comedy–this play challenges you and makes you truly think.

Also I would highly recommend this play to anyone following current events ... Read more Read less

83
Absorbing, Dizzying, Great acting, Relevant, Great writing

See it if you enjoy argument plays where the ideas come from fully-formed characters and not just the playwright's ego

Don't see it if you need a specific message/takeaway or to have questions answered rather than just asked

76
Ambitious, Edgy, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if See it if you like issue driven theatre and a play driven by a single idea. Some good performances and some wit.

Don't see it if If you don't like plays set up like a single issue debate, high pitched performances and rather unsympathetic characters.

72
A piping hot serving of in-your-face white liberal hypocrisy coming right up; but it has its moments

See it if neatly shows how liberal abandons affirm action principles where affects son's admission chances; hilarious teen tirades by Ben Edelman

Don't see it if broad liberal self flagellation, cartoonish characters; does not make you rethink premises about affirm action

Also Obvious pun: "Admissions" stands for gaining entrance to school and re... Read more Read less

66
Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if you can tolerate important ideas and conflicts being treated in an exaggerated and melodramatic way that drowns the nuance and difficulties

Don't see it if you believe theater is about craft not bludgeoning. There is nothing subtle or sane in anyone's response in this script as it is directed.

90
Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking, Refreshing, Great writing

See it if can't get enough of this smart, funny, perfect play!

Don't see it if some might say it's a loaded topic and that the play is intentionally creating controversy, but i would disagree. handled with much care imo

85
Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great writing

See it if you wonder if we can make the world more fair without sacrifice. Experience the tensions and trials of a family dealing race/quotas/success.

Don't see it if you are not willing to grapple with some complex issues involving racial quotas, equal opportunity, and white privilege.

87
Thought-provoking, Vital, Intensely-questioning, Ironically non-diverse cast, Sometimes ideologically problematic

See it if an investigation into diversity, racism, and privilege--through the lens of a mainly-white, New England Prep. School--piques your interest.

Don't see it if unwilling to forgive moments of skewed logic that appear to further (rather than lessen) racism; dislike intense, intermission-less dramas.

Also How to discuss diversity meaningfully without slipping down the danger... Read more Read less

88
Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent, Must see, Great writing

See it if Affirmative Action is a very interesting and complex conversation. Extremely well done and kept us on the front of our seats throughout

Don't see it if You don't want a start point for thinking about an important subject

90
Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if Wonderful acting a subject most parents will identify with very topical and relevant .the audience loved it

Don't see it if If you’re not in to confrontation,with parents and children do see this

86
Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Hilarious, Fresh voice

See it if You're a fan of Joshua Harmon's writing. There are lots of hilarious moments. The acting is really good across the board.

Don't see it if You're easily offended or you're looking for a play that takes a stance one way or another on the topic of race.

99
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if you want to think about the admissions policy and what it means to be liberal. See it for a fabulous performance by Ben Edelman.

Don't see it if Don't see it if you are set in your thinking and afraid to be swayed by a persuasive argument that goes both ways.

Also This play makes you think. You do not need to have a child that went t... Read more Read less

78
Intelligent, Relevant

See it if you're interested in a look into the lives of a family struggling with the college admissions process.

Don't see it if you are offended by anti-liberal rhetoric or if you aren't interested in the college admission process.

90
Absorbing, Clever, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if You want a solid thoughtful play with good acting. Twists and turns you don't see coming. Funny and serious.

Don't see it if You want fluff. This play deals with relevant issues of the day. A bit repetitious ... a minor flaw in an excellent play.

Also Play is revolves around a smart white kid who gets rejected from Yale ... Read more Read less


Cast & Creatives (12)