Closed 1h 45m
Admissions
Upper W Side
83

Admissions NYC Reviews and Tickets

83%
(198 Reviews)
Positive
91%
Mixed
8%
Negative
1%
Members say
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great acting, Absorbing, 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.

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Member Reviews (198)

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96
Great writing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Must see

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.

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 Read more

Critic Reviews (36)

March 12th, 2018

"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."
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March 12th, 2018

"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."
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March 12th, 2018

"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."
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March 12th, 2018

"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."
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March 12th, 2018

"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."
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March 12th, 2018

"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."
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March 26th, 2018

"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."
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March 12th, 2018

"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."
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March 12th, 2018

"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."
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March 12th, 2018

"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."
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March 12th, 2018

"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."
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March 27th, 2018

"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."
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March 16th, 2018

"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."
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March 17th, 2018

"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."
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March 13th, 2018

"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."
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March 20th, 2018

"You’ll find in 'Admissions' Harmon’s acerbic wit combined with the self-loathing that so many of Harmon’s characters display. The performances by Hecht, Garman, and Edelman are superb...Aukin paces the action of the play well...It’s difficult to parse through the play’s intentions and the audience reactions...You may or may not agree with the point of view presented in this play. Whichever side you fall on, just know there’s another."
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March 25th, 2018

"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."
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T
April 17th, 2018

"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."
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March 16th, 2018

"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."
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March 19th, 2018

"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."
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March 18th, 2018

"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."
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T
April 8th, 2018

"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."
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March 24th, 2018

"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."
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March 12th, 2018

"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."
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March 12th, 2018

"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."
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March 13th, 2018

"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."
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March 12th, 2018

"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."
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March 22nd, 2018

"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."
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O
March 18th, 2018

"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."
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March 12th, 2018

"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."
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Z
March 13th, 2018

"Performances are uneven...Hecht plays Sherri as oddly stiff, both emotionally and literally...Her son overdoes the emotions. His performance is well shaded, but there's too much of the schlumpy teenage blob...The themes are compelling...No bad guys and good guys in the story, which make it more real, but maybe also make it less powerful...It's close to the mark, but not all the way there."
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April 17th, 2018

"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."
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March 15th, 2018

"“In ‘Admissions,’ white characters talk about race amongst themselves, with challenging results...'Admissions' should have been opened up to depict characters of color first-hand. Still, the play offers a layered, if often troubling visit with white characters discussing race. It’s really Charlie, the adolescent man-boy who so frustrates us with his monumentally self-involved monologues, who lays out the most rational, articulate critiques of white people’s current views of race.”
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March 19th, 2018

"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."
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M
April 17th, 2018

"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."
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N
March 23rd, 2018

"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 parents."
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