Theater Wit’s critically acclaimed Chicago premiere of Joshua Harmon’s Admissions, a scathingly funny, scarily timely new satire about the college admissions process and racial diversity in private schools, has been extended through May 26.
All hell breaks lose in Admissions when Sherri (Meighan Gerachis, left) the very liberal, diversity-focused director of admissions at Hillcrest Academy, and Bill (Stephen Walker, center), Sherri’s husband and headmaster at Hillcrest, learn their son Charlie (Kyle Curry, right), a star student at Hillcrest, has been deferred by Yale. Photo by Charles Osgood.
Originally slated to close May 12, Admissions will now run an additional two weeks due to popular demand. Performance times remain Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 3 p.m. Theater Wit is located at 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. Tickets are $25-$48. Tickets to extension dates go on sale Monday, April 29 at 10 a.m. For tickets and information, visit TheaterWit.org or call (773) 975-8150.
College apps and racial quotas. White liberal guilt. Political correctness of all kinds. Playwright Joshua Harmon takes aim at all of this and more inAdmissions. Since opening on April 1, critics and audiences have been feasting on Harmon’s funny, devastating tale of white liberal parents who suddenly are forced to defend their white privilege when their son, a star student athlete, is denied entry to Yale.
Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune, called Admissions "edgy and timely…fast-paced, provocative and, crucially, acted throughout with the right combination of intellectual smugness, personal vulnerability and familial love."
The Chicago Reader rated it “Recommended. A blistering, disturbingly apt critique.”
Chicago on Stage called Admissions a “funny, whip-smart play, making us simultaneously laugh and cringe.”
Meet Bill and Sherri Mason, the very liberal headmaster and head of admissions respectively of Hillcrest, a second-tier New Hampshire boarding school. Deeply committed to diversity, Sherri has boosted the number of students of color at Hillcrest 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. 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? Total hypocrites?
Indeed, Admissions is sharp-witted 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. 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.
Theater Wit’s Admissions stars Meighan Gerachis (Sherri), Stephen Walker (Bill), Kyle Curry (Charlie), India Whiteside (Ginnie Peters) and Judi Schindler (Roberta). The production team is Jeremy Wechsler (director), Laura Fisher (assistant director), Jose Manuel Diaz (set), Kotryna Hilko (costumes), Jessica Neill (lights), Tony Bruno (sound), Amanda Herrmann (props), Clare Cooney (casting) and Sean McStravick (stage manager.)
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. To purchase tickets, a Theater Wit Membership or to inquire about Flex Pass options, visitTheaterWit.org or call the Theater Wit box office, 773.975.8150.
How far would you would go to help get your child into college? Thats the question for Sherri (Meighan Gerachis, left), the very liberal, diversity-focused director of admissions at Hillcrest Academy, and her husband Bill (Stephen Walker), headmaster at Hillcrest.
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 Jewsby 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.
Meighan Gerachis (Sherri) returns to Theater Wit where she previously appeared in Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England. Chicago credits include The Wolves, A Christmas Carol and the New Stages production of Blue Skies Process (Goodman); Domesticated, Our Town and The House on Mango Street (Steppenwolf); Small Mouth Sounds and 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).
Stephen Walker (Bill) returns to Theater Wit, where he was previously seen in Anne Washburn’s 10 Out of 12. Other credits include To Catch a Fish(Timeline); Traitor, The Silence that Follows, Celebration, The Hothouse (A Red Orchid); American Buffalo (Jeff Nomination, Best Actor, as Teach) andIbsen’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 (Neo-Futurists), the Denis Johnson trilogy of plays at Viaduct Theater and many others. 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.
Kyle Curry (Charlie) 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.
India Whiteside (Ginnie Peters) is also making her Theater Wit debut. 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.
Judi Schindler (Roberta), also making her Theater Wit debut, previously understudied at 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.