Racial diversity in private schools. College apps and quotas. White liberal guilt. Playwright Joshua Harmon takes aim at all of this along with political correctness of all kinds in his newest play, Admissions.
Theater Wit, Chicago’s “smart art” theater, is excited to announce it will present the Midwest premiere of Admissions, Harmon’s hilarious and scathing family drama, sure to press audience members’ buttons as it tackles hallowed, yet thorny, contemporary issues, skewering them with Harmon’s signature humor and satiric wit.
Performances are March 21-May 12, 2019: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at
8 p.m.; Sunday at 3 p.m. Press opening is Monday, April 1 at 7 p.m. No show April 4.
Theater Wit is located at 1229 N. Belmont Ave., in the Belmont Theatre District in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. Tickets start at $12 and go on sale February 4. For tickets and information, visit TheaterWit.org or call the Theater Wit box office, (773) 975-8150.
Meet Bill and Sherri Mason, the headmaster and head of admissions respectively of Hillcrest, a second-tier New Hampshire boarding school. When this very liberal, very progressive couple arrived 15 years ago, the student population at Hillcrest was 94 percent white. Deeply committed to diversity, Sherri has boosted the number of students of color from six to 18 percent, a figure she still considers embarrassingly low.
However, Bill and Sherri’s dedication to diversity is put to the test when their son Charlie, an outstanding Hillcrest student who has dreamed of attending Yale since he was a child, learns his application has been deferred.
Complicating matters, Charlie’s classmate and best friend Perry, whose father is African-American, has been admitted to Yale even though his academic and extracurricular achievements are nowhere near Charlie’s.
Convinced that Yale based its decisions on race, Charlie claims to be a victim of reverse discrimination. And as their son lashes out, Sherri and Bill are forced to examine just how far their commitment to diversity goes. Are they true disciples? Or total hypocrites.
When Admissions premiered last year at Lincoln Center Theater, The New York Times called it “an extraordinarily useful and excruciating satire - of the left, by the left, for the left - for today.”
The Hollywood Reporter pegged Harmon’s newest play as “a smart, provocative drama with a rich vein of humor that pulls the rug out from under liberal white America.”
Indeed, Admissions is funny, sharp-witted, devastating and shockingly blunt, much like Harmon’s earlier plays Bad Jews, the most successful production in Theater Wit history, which ran an unprecedented eight months in 2015, and Significant Other, a Wit co-production with About Face Theater in 2017.
Admissions is also seductive - and, perhaps, controversial - as it splays open issues that have rarely been explored in the theater, at least not in Harmon’s comedic and biting manner.
"There's only one author who consistently makes me laugh helplessly and flinch in terror simultaneously. Joshua Harmon has done that to me twice now—first with Bad Jews and again when I read Admissions,” explains Jeremy Wechsler, Artistic Director at Theater Wit, who will also stage Wit’s production of Admissions. “Once again, Joshua’s immense compassion and wicked sense of humor is deployed to illuminate some of the key stresses of contemporary life: the intersection of diversity issues, white liberal guilt and privilege in education. His newest work is a keen satire, equally merciless and kind. As such, I hope Admissions sparks the same level of conversation that made our previous collaborations such deep, memorable experiences for our audience."
Theater Wit’s cast and production team for Admissions are to be announced.
About Theater Wit
Theater Wit, Chicago’s “smart art” theater, is a major hub of the Chicago neighborhood theater scene, where audiences enjoy a smorgasbord of excellent productions in three, 99-seat spaces, see a parade of talented artists and mingle with audiences from all over Chicago.
Currently on stage at Theater Wit is the company’s acclaimed co-production of Will Eno’s The Realistic Joneses with Shattered Globe Theatre, now through March 9. Try and keep up with the Joneses as they muddle through the small beauties, immense fears, and amazing moments of each day. Time is short but there are gift certificates to enjoy, tiny fireworks to light and another perfect summer evening to take for granted. “Very Funny! ★★★ Director Jeremy Wechsler’s production grounds the flightier aspects of the play in a Chicago-style reality,” wrote the Chicago Tribune. “★★★1/2 Sublime! Endless profundity (and marvelous wit),” said the Chicago Sun-Times.
To purchase tickets, a Theater Wit Membership or to inquire about Flex Pass options, visit TheaterWit.org or call the Theater Wit box office, 773.975.8150.
Joshua Harmon’s plays include Bad Jews (Roundabout Theatre Company), Significant Other (Roundabout Theatre Company; Broadway/Booth Theatre), Admissions (Lincoln Center Theater); Ivanka (staged readings across the country on Election Eve, 2016) and Skintight (Roundabout Theatre Company). Bad Jews is one of the most produced plays in the United States of the last few years and has received international productions in Australia, Canada, Germany, Israel, South Africa and London’s West End, following sold-out runs at Theatre Royal Bath and the St. James. Fellowships include the MacDowell Colony, Atlantic Center for the Arts, and NNPN. Harmon is an associate artist at Roundabout Theatre Company and under commission from Manhattan Theatre Club. He is a graduate of The Juilliard School.
Jeremy Wechsler (director) most recent directing credits at Theater Wit include Will Eno’s The Realistic Joneses, Eric John Meyer’s The Antelope Party, Mitchell Fain’s This Way Outta Santaland, Anne Washburn’s 10 Out of 12, and Mat Smart’s Naperville. Other directing credits include the company’s election night reading of The Trump Card by Mike Daisey, The New Sincerity by Alena Smith, The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence by Madeleine George, Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play by Anne Washburn, Madeline George’s Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England, and that show’s summer remount at Art Square Theatre in Las Vegas. Wechsler also staged Wit’s acclaimed Completeness and The Four of Us (Itamar Moses), Tigers Be Still (Kim Rosenstock), This (Melissa James Gibson), Spin (Penny Penniston), Feydeau-Si-Deau (Georges Feydeau), Men of Steel (Qui Nguyen), Thom Pain (Based on Nothing) (Will Eno), Two for the Show (James Fitzpatrick and Will Clinger) and The Santaland Diaries. A veteran director in Chicago with over 50 productions, his work has been nominated for and won multiple awards for design, performance, adaptation and best new plays.
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