★★★ Edgy and timely. Wechsler's production at Theater Wit is fast-paced, provocative and, crucially, acted throughout with the right combination of intellectual smugness, personal vulnerability and familial love.Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

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★★★½ Terrific! Thinking viewers will depart Theater Wit with minds churning and preconceived ideas about race and education severely shaken. — Dan Zeff, CLTR
Simultaneously hilarious and discomfiting. Entirely prescient!Rachael Weinberg, BWW Chicago
The cast is dynamiteNew City

How far would you go to get your kid into college?

Bill and Sherri Mason, the headmaster and head of admissions respectively of Hillcrest, a New Hampshire boarding school thought they knew. Deeply committed to equality and diversity, Sherri has boosted the number of students of color at Hillcrest, but her commitment is put to the test when their son Charlie, an outstanding student who has dreamed of attending Yale since he was a child, learns his application has been deferred. Convinced that Yale based its decisions on race, Charlie claims to be a victim of reverse discrimination. As their son lashes out, Sherri and Bill are forced to confront just how far their commitment to equality really goes. Are they true disciples or total hypocrites?

Friendships will be destroyed, futures redirected, and families brought to the breaking point in a funny, sharp-witted, devastating and shockingly blunt evening.

Like his two previous hits at Theater Wit, Bad Jews and Significant Other, Admissions promises to be a show about the perils of privilege and whiteness today you won't be able to stop talking about.

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Incendiary! Plenty to argue about in the bar afterward.Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! A blistering, disturbingly apt critique.— Irene Hsiao, Chicago Reader
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! A provocative, funny, whip-smart play. — Karen Topham, Chicago on Stage

WINNER of the 2017 Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Play!

Kyle Curry

Charlie

Kyle Curry is excited to make his Theater Wit debut. Chicago credits include: Macbeth, Dunsinane, and Shakespeare's Greatest Hits (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); We Are Proud To Present... (Steppenwolf); Three Days of Rain (Boho Theater); Pygmalion (Remy Bumppo), Pygmalion and Taming of the Shrew (Oak Park Festival Theater). Regional credit includes work with Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Next Act Theater, Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Houston Shakespeare Festival, Virginia Shakespeare Festival and others. Kyle received his MFA from the University of Houston Professional Act Training Program. He is represented by Gray Talent.

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Meighan Gerachis

Sherri

Meighan Gerachis returns to Theater Wit where she previously appeared in Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England. Chicago credits include: Small Mouth Sounds, The Wolves, A Christmas Carol and the New Stages production of Blue Skies Process. Additional credits include Domesticated, Our Town and The House on Mango Street (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); Solstice (A Red Orchid Theater); The Electric Baby, Precious Little, The Walls, Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue, Indulgences at the Louisville Harem, Factory Girls, My Simple City, Wrens and Ten Tiny Fingers, Nine Tiny Toes (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble); Measure for Measure (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Cloud Nine (About Face Theatre); Cigarettes and Moby Dick and Che Che Che (Latino Chicago); The Underpants (Noble Fool Theatricals). Regional and international credits include Charm (Mixed Blood Theatre); Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue (Stageworks) and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Contact Theatre in Manchester, England). Film /TV : Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, At Any Price, Virginia. Chicago P.D., Crisis, Bobby & Iza, Sirens and Battleground.

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Steven Walker

Bill

Stephen Walker returns to Theater Wit, where he was previously seen in 10 out of 12. Credits include: To Catch a Fish (Timeline), Traitor, The Silence That Follows, Celebration, The Hothouse (A Red Orchid), American Buffalo and Ibsen's Ghosts (Mary-Arrchie), The White Road and War (Irish Theater of Chicago), Black River Falls, My Name Is Mudd and Love Horse (Curious), The Last Two Minutes of the Complete Works Of Henrik Ibsen (Neofuturists), the Denis Johnson trilogy of plays at Viaduct Theater and many others. He was Jeff nominated for Best Actor in a Play for playing Teach in American Buffalo. He acted in and directed numerous productions at the Factory Theater, where he was an ensemble member and artistic director, and he is a founder and resident director of Hope & Nonthings Productions. TV/ Film credits include "Chicago Fire" and "med", "Stir of Echos" and last year's "Widows". Stephen is represented by Paonessa Talent Agency.

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India Whiteside

Ginny

India Whiteside s very happy to join Theater Wit for the first time. Chicago credits include Court Theatre’s All’s Well That Ends Well (Diana); Transient Theater’s Getting Out (Arlene- Best Actress Jeff Citation nomination); Locked Up Down Shorty’s at American Blues; Folio Theatre’s As you Like It (Rosalind) and Othello (Emilia); Dirty Hands (Olga) at Mary-Arrchie Theater; The Way You Wear Your Hat (Sarah), Seanachai Theatre; American Divine (Sna. Neruda) for Dolphinback Theater and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; and staged readings at Steppenwolf Theater and The Black Ensemble Theatre. India very much enjoyed the terrifying experience of being an ensemble member of Improvised Black Mirror at the Public House Theater, and has studied at BADA in Oxford and London as well as with a variety of wonderful Chicago teachers. Film credits include Savage Youth (Professor), winner of the Florida Film Festival, and Margaret and the Moon, nominee for Best Drama Short at Twister Alley Film Festival. India is represented by the lovely folks at Big Mouth Talent.

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Judi Schindler

Roberta

Judi Schindler is thrilled make her debut performance with Theatre Wit in this hilarious production by Joshua Harmon. She previously understudied at such theaters as Steppenwolf, Northlight, Shattered Globe and Victory Gardens, where she went on as Hillary in "Hillary and Clinton." Favorite roles include Miriam Goldman in Beau Jest, Juanita Bartlett in Sordid Lives, and the drunk passenger in Hellcab. Judi can also be seen in various local venues performing her one-woman show, Husbands: An Owner's Manual, based on 50+ years of marriage to Jack Schindler.

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★★★ Edgy and timely. One of the few plays in the liberal theater world with the courage to tackle some progressive orthodoxies and likely to get tongues wagging. Wechsler's production at Theater Wit is fast-paced, provocative and, crucially, acted throughout with the right combination of intellectual smugness, personal vulnerability and familial love. [Read more]Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Entirely prescient. The play asks keen, complicated questions about white privilege, racism, and how we should now be deciding who gets a seat at the table. Masterful, emotional work. Hilarious and discomfiting. Hysterical! [Read more]Rachel Weinberg, Broadway World Chicago
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Race is used as a trading card in this play, but the race that's on trial here is the one that invented them all. Admissions is a blistering, disturbingly apt critique of how white supremacist ideas blight the white liberal elite. [Read more]Irene Hsiao, Chicago Reader
★★★½ A terrific production. Harmon is a master of writing high intensity scenes, with characters lashing out at each other in ferocious volleys of verbiage. Director Jeremy Wechsler is perfectly attuned to Harmon’s dramatic sensibilities. Explores hugely relevant social issues, leaving the audience both unsettled and stimulated. [Read more]Dan Zeff, Chicagoland Theatre Reviews
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. A provocative, funny, whip-smart play, making us simultaneously laugh and cringe. Gerachis is the play’s flawed soul, and through her we wring out our own guilt at the privileges we enjoy. Harmon’s script puts everything on the table, and he is absolutely unafraid to rake his own over the coals. [Read more]Karen Topham, Chicago on Stage
EXCELLENT. Harmon fares well at covering the question from all sides, avoiding wishful thinking, rote responses, or predictable conflicts. We end up with a play that doesn’t choose sides but forces an audience to. That’s no small feat. [Read more]Lawrence Bommer, Stage and Cinema
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Hilarious! No ethical stone is left unturned in Harmon’s concise script. Gerachis is superb. Walker’s no-nonsense parental approach is pivotal and powerful. Whiteside brings a compassionate sensibility to the role of Ginnie and is spot-on driving home the central argument about bias and race. [Read more]Ed Tracy, Picks in Six
CRITIC'S PICK. Director Jeremy Wechsler and an adroit ensemble reject the temptation to mock their misguided personae, but instead maintain an earnest intensity never giving way to comic exaggeration [Read more]Mary Shen Barnidge, Windy City Times
RECOMMENDED. Jeremy Wechsler’s production is every bit as powerful as any of Theater Wit’s other terrific professional productions. Laced with laughter, this play is very moving, yet quite uncomfortable to watch, at times. It’s a shout that needs to be heard today. [Read more]Colin Douglas, Chicago Theatre Review
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Hilarious! Makes you wonder about the sincerity of our so-called wokeness. [Read more]John Accrocco, Buzz News

Review: Edgy, timely 'Admissions' at Theater Wit looks at liberal hypocrisy when it comes to getting your kid into college

★★★ Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

Do we all enjoy an exemption from moral, unselfish behavior when it comes to fighting for our own kids?

Wechsler's production at Theater Wit is fast-paced, provocative and, crucially, acted throughout with the right combination of intellectual smugness, personal vulnerability and familial love.

Curry, a fine young actor given a gift of a monologue here, certainly keeps you invested in what is transpiring inside Charlie’s head. His performance is strong enough to constantly keep you thinking about how the next generation is absorbing our current angst around diversity, equity and inclusion.

Incendiary! One of the few plays in the liberal theater world with the courage to tackle some progressive orthodoxies and likely to get tongues wagging among the North Side monied set.

Plenty to argue about in the bar afterward.

Full review (including spoilers) at Chicago Tribune

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BWW Review: ADMISSIONS at Theater Wit

by Rachel Weinberg, Broadway World

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

The play also asks keen, complicated questions about white privilege, racism, and how we should now be deciding who gets a seat at the table. ADMISSIONS does not offer up any neat solutions to the questions its poses, but it causes the audience to take a hard and needed look at those questions and at how we might relate to the happenings onstage.

Harmon is ruthless with his satire and also in his examination of the complicated issues at hand.

Meighan Gerachis puts in masterful, emotional work. She makes us feel for Sherri, even when we might not agree with her point of view. As Bill, Stephen Walker also turns in a fine performance and knows how to ratchet up the intensity when called upon while maintaining authenticity.

Full review (including spoilers) at Broadway World

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BWW Review: ADMISSIONS at Theater Wit

by Rachel Weinberg, Broadway World

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

The play also asks keen, complicated questions about white privilege, racism, and how we should now be deciding who gets a seat at the table. ADMISSIONS does not offer up any neat solutions to the questions its poses, but it causes the audience to take a hard and needed look at those questions and at how we might relate to the happenings onstage.

Harmon is ruthless with his satire and also in his examination of the complicated issues at hand.

Meighan Gerachis puts in masterful, emotional work. She makes us feel for Sherri, even when we might not agree with her point of view. As Bill, Stephen Walker also turns in a fine performance and knows how to ratchet up the intensity when called upon while maintaining authenticity.

Full review (including spoilers) at Broadway World

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Admissions is a searing indictment of the white liberal elite

Irene Hsiao, Chicago Reader

HIGHLY RECOMMENED!

Sherri's bubble of dubious liberal ideals stretches thin when Ginnie's son gets into Yale and hers is only waitlisted. Sherri's son, Charlie, uses the language of inclusion to deconstruct its incompatibility with the basic tenets of capitalism and thus the hypocrisy of his white savior parents. Ginnie hates Asians because that's OK. Race is used as a trading card in this play, but the race that's on trial here is the one that invented them all. Admissions is a blistering, disturbingly apt critique of how white supremacist ideas blight the white liberal elite.

Full review (including spoilers) at Chicago Reader

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Chicagoland Theatre Reviews: ADMISSIONS

by Dan Zeff

★★★½

As the play progresses, viewers may start to squirm because Harmon raises issues that invade the audience’s comfort zone. How far would we go to get our child into a high ranking school. Sure, there may be more deserving applicants crowded out because they didn’t have Charlie’s advantages, but it’s a jungle out there. How many people in the audience have exploited their social or ethnic advantages in the great admissions war? They may be liberal, but not at the cost of their child’s future.

Harmon is a master of writing high intensity scenes, with characters lashing out at each other in ferocious volleys of verbiage. Harmon wrote scenes in “Bad Jews” that fairly melted the paint off the Theater Wit walls during its record run a couple of seasons ago. “Admissions” turns into a sequence of boiling hot dialogues, drenched in profanity and emotion. But the exchanges aren’t just rant, they are filled with thought provoking and disturbing ideas that never allow the heated discourses to descend into noisy fustion.

Director Jeremy Wechsler is perfectly attuned to Harmon’s dramatic sensibilities, as he showed in “Bad Jews.” Although much of “Admissions” is played at a feverish vocal pitch, the dialogue is always accessible. Charlie’s frenzied diatribe triggered by news of his Yale deferral runs to more than 15 minutes of articulate fury. It’s one of the great extended scenes I’ve seen in recent Chicagoland theater. The same can be said of the father’s scathing monologue that delivers some hard truths to his son.

Full review (including spoilers) at CLTR

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BOLD ‘ADMISSIONS’ HOVERS ON A BUBBLE

by Ed Tracy

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

The Mason’s upper middle-class home is rocked when Perry’s mother Ginnie (India Whiteside) receives a phone call saying that Perry has been accepted to Yale. When no similar call comes for Sherri, things start to implode as both Sherri and Bill face the prospect that Charlie’s academic future is in jeopardy. When Charlie returns and recounts his anger and humiliation at cultural bias and the unfairness of an admissions system that favored Perry, his parents are conflicted, which, in turn, allows Charlie to make a radical decision of his own.

Curry’s impassioned performance reflects his youthful frustration at the double standards that classify race, family heritage and entitlements, which then erupts in an unhinged confrontation with his parents about morality and ideals. No ethical stone is left unturned in Harmon’s concise script or in Curry’s spirited delivery of a stream-of-consciousness rant that is strikingly of-the-moment.

Gerachis is superb as the conflicted administrator, loving mother and soul-searching spouse who applies a separate set of professional policies when her son’s future is on the line. Walker’s no-nonsense parental approach is pivotal and powerful. Whiteside brings a compassionate sensibility to the role of Ginnie and is spot-on driving home the central argument about bias and race. Wechsler’s five-member ensemble is rounded out with Judi Schindler as Roberta, the staff member who creates the admissions brochure in Hillcrest’s image with hilarious, single-minded enthusiasm.

Full review (including spoilers) at Picks in Six

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AFFIRMATIVE RE-ACTION

by Lawrence Bommer

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Joshua (Bad Jews) Harmon, now in a stirring Theater Wit staging by Jeremy Wechsler, remains topical, thanks to its sardonic take on liberal guilt over affirmative action and its exposure of double standards for entitlement and merit.

Harmon fares well at covering the question from all sides, avoiding wishful thinking, rote responses, or predictable conflicts. We end up with a play that doesn’t choose sides but forces an audience to. That’s no small feat.

Full review (including spoilers) at Stage and Cinema

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REVIEW: 'ADMISSIONS' AT THEATER WIT

by John Accrocco

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

"Admissions" is a one-act play that dissects the various identity politics even those on the same side can find themselves playing into.

Performances make this production stand out. The play opens on a hilarious scene between Sherri and her co-worker Roberta played by Judi Schindler. The naivete with which Schindler approaches the dialogue completely captures the way older Americans think about race, a sort of what's-the-big-deal-? attitude. Gerachis turns in a very relatable performance. She seems to know this character well and is rarely concerned with audience likeability versus getting to the truth in this well-meaning but complicated character.

"Admissions" is a topical look at what's at stake for today's youth. On one hand we have a cultural cynicism about higher education but on the other we understand its value in our economy. As we look at the current scandal, we ask ourselves why the already advantaged need more advantage for their future.

Full review (including spoilers) at Buzz News

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White Privilege

by Colin Douglas

RECOMMENDED

Theater Wit’s Artistic Director, Jeremy Wechsler, directs this production with a great deal of sensitivity, igniting all the controversies, questions and vitriol that hides between the lines. He guides his talented cast to create, as in Harmon’s “Bad Jews,” some pretty undesirable characters. He’s focused the spotlight on Joshua Harmon’s scathing look at the hypocrisy that often occurs when it comes to creating microcosms that reflect the real world. White privilege and superiority rears its ugly head everywhere, from our current administration to small private schools. But this play at least inspires conversation to take place in which we can examine what’s really happening in terms of racial diversity in this country.

Kyle Curry is excellent as young Charlie. Despite being old enough to have earned his MFA in Acting, Mr. Curry is very convincing here as a high school student. The young actor skillfully holds the audience in his hands as he delivers one of the most scathing, hard-to-watch tirades to be found in contemporary drama. This is an actor to watch.

Judi Schindler is delightful as Roberta. As a member of the older generation, Ms. Schindler’s character hilariously attempts to be enlightened and up-to-date with respects to issues of diversity. Stephen Walker, whose considerable talents have been enjoyed at TimeLine, Red Orchid and other respectable theatres around Chicago, displays his character’s own personal frustrations as a father and the head of Hillcrest. And India Whiteside is strong as Ginnie, the mother of a child of mixed race, who’s dealt with problems that none of the other characters in this play can even imagine.

The lack of honesty that haunts our work toward diversity, in a 21st century that’s finally seeing a world of color, is what Joshua Harmon speaks about the loudest. It’s a shout that needs to be heard today.

Full review (including spoilers) at Chicago Theatre Review

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THEATER REVIEW Admissions

by Mary Shen Barnidge

CRITIC'S PICK

Director Jeremy Wechsler and an adroit ensemble reject the temptation to mock their misguided personae, but instead maintain an earnest intensity never giving way to comic exaggeration—no easy task when the text includes a 20-minute rant delivered at full adolescent fury by Kyle Curry.

While the dramatic stakes in Joshua Harmon's incisive criticism may not invoke the all-inclusive sympathy of his groundbreaking ( and structurally similar ) Bad Jews, there is no denying the evidence of a generation claiming the moral high ground since the 1960s, having secured their lofty bulwark, abandoning their principles in pursuit of preserving the advantages gained thereby—hubris deserving of examination by youthful inquisitors.

Full review (including spoilers) at Windy City Times

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Theater Wit’s “Admissions” is a perfectly timed piece of scathing satire

by Karen Topham

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Admissions is a provocative, funny, whip-smart play aimed unabashedly at white liberal society and highlighting much of its hypocrisy. We are introduced to Bill and Sherri Mason, headmaster and admissions director of a second-tier prep school in New Hampshire who have, since their arrival, been striving to put their school on the map.

Though Walker also has some wonderful and powerful moments, especially in exchanges with Curry, the play really belongs to Curry and Gerachis. Wechsler gives Curry a very long leash during his rave-out and the young actor takes advantage of it, making us simultaneously laugh and cringe. As for Gerachis, Sherri’s frustration as a mom and as an admissions officer who knows the score is easy to see. Though her part has no standout speeches, she is the center of this play’s moral quandary and the embodiment of the hypocritical confusion that well-meaning liberals sometimes find themselves in: understanding the need for change but feeling trapped when it applies to her.

his is not a play that pulls punches: Harmon’s script puts everything on the table, and he is absolutely unafraid to rake his own over the coals. Like the current scandal in the real world, Admissions trades on the notion of white privilege and asks what the limits are for how parents help their children in matters like this. Ultimately, we are asked to examine our own truths on this issue, and if it hits a bit too close to home, so be it: that is clearly what Harmon and Wechsler are going for.

Full review (including spoilers) at Chicago On Stage

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Production Team
 

Jeremy Wechsler (Director)
Laura Fisher (Assistant Director)
José Manuel Diaz (Scenic Design)
Jessica Neill (Lighting Design)
Kotryna Hilko (Costume Design)
Tony Bruno (Sound Design)
Amanda Herrmann (Properties Design)

Sean McStravick* (Stage Manager)
Spencer Fritz (Assistant Stage Manager)
Ellen White (Production Manager)
Lucille Schuh (Assistant Production Manager)
Harrison Ornelas (Technical Director)
Lee Moore (Scenic Charge)
Cedar Larson (Master Electrician)
Adell Medovoy (Graphic Design)

 

The current news around the ethics and politics surrounding college admissions have been gripping the cast and crew during rehearsal. While Admissions is not about the bribery scandal itself, we've been struck by how many parallel points about structural privilege and white anxiety are in the headlines. Here is a collection of some of our favorite articles. (Spoiler: it's not hard to hear some of these real life parents and writers parroting characters in the play)

The Bribery Scandal Itself

Ethics and Admissions

Race and Affirmative Action

And here's a round up of student newspaper reporting on the issue from around the country