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. 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.
"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
"Daniel Aukin directs the play with brisk agility, evoking emotions of fury and humor, driving viewers toward the edge of their seats...Joshua Harmon is on target showing the family strains from both sides. What is lacking, however, is the black in this all-white cast which is discussing race and education...The principles, broadly stated, are the heart of this play, inspiring and driving the flawed characters." Full Review
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"Harmon is an incisive playwright who possesses a knack for crafting dialogue that sounds like people talking...A provocative new play that pierces the veil of 'white liberalism' to reveal simmering interpersonal issues that contradict beliefs in institutional ideals. Smartly staged and exquisitely acted, this play poses uncomfortable but important questions about race, identity, and privilege as our country navigates an increasingly divisive and soiled discourse." Full Review
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"Genuinely noble intentions and cold pragmatism or jaded self-interest...It’s the inevitable tension between these forces that gives 'Admissions' its punch and, ultimately, poignancy...By making the central character an intelligent but not quite mature and decidedly privileged young man, Harmon shows us the speciousness in his attempts to reveal his parents as hypocrites....Under Daniel Aukin’s crisp, robust direction, the actors ably mine their humor and humanity." Full Review
"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
"Covers a lot of ground: political correctness, discrimination and the reverse of it, white privilege, affirmative action. And hypocrisy...This provocative play, directed by Aukin, has universally fine performances, with particular praise for Hecht and the quirky McDonough, who bring to life the many contradictions and uncertainties that Harmon’s play sets forth." Full Review
"A relentless, often very funny exposé of the hypocrisies and self-contradictions of the diversity craze that defines virtually every elite campus in America...An amusing opener gives us a hint of the absurdity to come...A nasty argument about a fraught cultural issue is plenty to build a play around. Yet the playwright, Harmon, sharpens the dispute into a dagger with a late development that pits Charlie’s youthful, all-in idealism against the corrupted middle-aged variety espoused by his par... Full Review
"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
"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
"The play, directed by Daniel Aukin, takes a hard look at privilege and affirmative action, coming to no conclusions but making it painfully clear that there are also no easy answers to the complicated family issues that inevitably come into play." Full Review
"Edelman gives an extraordinary performance...Hecht helms the production...Her performance is confident and powerful...The supporting cast does an excellent job...The voices of people of color were nonexistent in the play and were nonexistent in the audience. Although Harmon may have purposefully chosen to have 'Admissions' be a piece where white people talk about and for people of color, I don't believe he would have wanted his audience to be as white as his cast." Full Review
"The absurdity and political correctness is satirized with razor sharp wit which earns an A+...However, the rest slides downward...Hecht is too shrill and incredulous in her self-righteousness and fierce tiger mom stance. Charlie's acrimonious meltdown...Was extremely off-putting and puerile...Uneven performances and writing. Perhaps some corrections could make 'Admissions' worth submitting as a viable candidate for a Tony." Full Review
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.
See it if You like shows about topical controversial subjects. Extraordinary writing! Excellent acting! A real conversation starter!
Don't see it if You’re looking for a fluffy piece of theatre that you won’t have to think about.
See it if you're interested in how affirmative action affects individuals, families, and relationships; you like dramas with humorous moments
Don't see it if you don't enjoy comedy-dramas that deal with affirmative action issues; you don't have the patience for a lengthy tirade
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.
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.
See it if You are interested in a thought provoking play that voiced out points of views from all sides of the issue.
Don't see it if you Are looking for something relaxing and just want to shut off ur brain for the night.
Also Ben Edelman Is absolutely amazing beyond belief in this play!
See it if You like intelligent comedy, don’t mind political discussion, want to see great acting from a talented cast, and appreciate Joshua Harmon.
Don't see it if You are rigidly political—discussion on race, privilege, opportunity, and “changing the world”. In spite of that, just a very funny show.
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.
See it if you want to see a very current issue explored intelligently and absorbing way
Don't see it if you need more than straightforward excellent writing and drama, like music, staging, etc..
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