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PULP: Arts Around Ann Arbor

“Theatre Nova does it again with an outstanding production that is both an intimate family drama and a relevant piece of social commentary. Harmon’s Admissions is a precise, nuanced, and often funny take on the affirmative action debate and how it plays out in the real world. Director Wolber has assembled a uniformly excellent cast. He wrings out all the large and small laughs aimed at upper-middle-class pretensions but expertly handles those sudden shifts into lacerating arguments that tear away at long-held assumptions. Hill is fierce, but she also has a way with a witty line and distressed look. She’s especially funny as she contemplates her son’s suggestion that maybe he could go to community college. Bailey's voice is strong with tightly restrained anger at his son’s never before expressed racial animosity. His stunned look after an argument with his son is especially moving. Kucharek’s articulate, bright, opinionated teen with a vulgar mouth and a rapid mind is right on target. Szczesny is hilarious and her timing is excellent as she slips into those telltale comments that alert you that she isn’t in step with the changing world. This is strong theater, engaging a touchy issue with humor, nuance, and tense interaction. 





by Joshua Harmon

Sept. 20 through Oct.13, 2019

Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm

Sundays at 2pm


Bill and Sherri are white, progressive, and proud. Respectively the headmaster and dean of admissions of a New Hampshire boarding school, they’ve dedicated their 15-year tenure to diversifying the school’s mostly white population. But when their high-achieving son’s Ivy League dreams are crushed, the family’s reaction betrays a schism between their public values and their private aspirations. An incisively funny look at privilege, power, and the perils of whiteness.

Directed by David Wolber, “Admissions” features Joe Bailey, Sarah Burcon, Diane Hill, Jeremy Kucharek, and Cynthia Szczesny. The production and design team includes Daniel C. Walker (scenic design), Jake Jedele (lighting design), Angeline Fox Maniglia (costume design), Carla Milarch (sound design), Monica Spencer (set builder/dresser/painter), and Briana O’Neal (stage manager, props).


Joe Bailey as Bill, Diane Hill as Sherri, and Jeremy Kucharek as Charlie in "Admissions" by Joshua Harmon. Photograph by Sean Carter Photography.

Reel Roy Reviews
Timely Michigan premiere of Joshua Harmon’s play Admissions by Ann Arbor’s Theatre NOVA,

"College education and that carnival game that is the admissions process are addressed with incisive wit, searing criticism, and deft balance in Admissions, directed with aplomb by David Wolber. (Note: this show must be a beast to learn and to mount, with its zig-zagging clutch of monologues and whiplash-inducing reversals of philosophy. I suspect Wolber and cast must share the kind of  brainpower required to complete the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle in record time.) In Admissions, a cheerfully smug couple Sherri and Bill, both working in administration at a New England prep school (Diane Hill and Joe Bailey, both at the top of their games here)...  Their boy Charlie – a brilliant whirlwind of well-meaning confusion and privileged petulance in Jeremy Kucharek’s thoughtful performance – is passed over by Yale in favor of his best friend at Hillcrest... Cynthia Szczesny as Sherri’s befuddled assistant and Sarah Burcon as Sherri’s best pal Ginnie serve as a kind of de facto Greek chorus... A special shout out to Daniel C. Walker’s brilliant and economical use of Theatre NOVA’s warm, inviting, but challenging physical space. The use of a turntable to contrast home and office is smart, efficient, and (perhaps unintentionally) symbolic of the topsy turvy nature of the play itself.


Diane Hill as Sherri and Cynthia Szczesny as Roberta in
"Admissions" by Joshua Harmon. Photograph by Sean Carter Photography.

Washtenaw Voice
‘Admissions’: Flight of the white knight

“As is the standard with NOVA, the set and cast were both phenomenal. Staged on a swiveling rostrum that seamlessly swaps between an admissions office and a well-off family’s kitchen and performed by, as aforementioned, a mostly middle-aged and all-white cast, the most astounding performance was actually from the youngest actor - Kucharek. He expertly and spitefully spits out a lengthy but jaw-dropping monologue that, at last, puts my thoughts into words on why people decide who is a minority and who isn’t with such jurisdiction and endorsement. Thorough and eye-opening, Admissions is one of the—dare I say—”wokest” plays that’s ever graced Theatre NOVA's stage, and possibly any, stage."



Joe Bailey as Bill, Jeremy Kucharek as Charlie, and Diane Hill as Sherri in
"Admissions" by Joshua Harmon. Photograph by Sean Carter Photography.

The Jewish News
Admissions’ Addresses Racial Diversity Issues

“Theatre NOVA in Ann Arbor is welcoming Admissions, a play that stirs up conversations about issues surrounding racial diversity. Diane Hill, producing artistic director, plays mom Sherri Rosen-Mason, dean of admissions at a New Hampshire prep school, where her husband, Bill (Joe Bailey), is headmaster. They have worked years to diversify their admissions. Admissions was chosen to open Theatre NOVA’s fifth season because it tackles current issues and was considered powerful and relevant. The play, directed by David Wolber, also features Jeremy Kucharek as Charlie Luther Mason, Sarah Burcon as Ginnie Peters and Cynthia Szczesny as Roberta. 


Diane Hill as Sherri and Sarah Burcon as Ginnie in
"Admissions" by Joshua Harmon. Photograph by Sean Carter Photography.

Encore Michigan
‘Admissions’ at Theatre Nova seems ripped from the headlines and the McMansions of Michigan

“Talk about timely art reflecting life. The white admissions director of an East Coast boarding school is wearing herself to a frazzle trying to boost the institution’s enrollment of ethnically diverse students. Joshua Harmon’s satirical play Admissions shows how the couple’s socially progressive ideals are challenged and splintered when their son Charlie’s biracial best friend Perry receives an acceptance letter into the freshman class of the boys’ dream school - Yale - but Charlie (superbly portrayed by Jeremy Kucharek) is waitlisted and becomes emotionally unhinged. Admissions is a play about the privilege, challenges, anxieties, and frailties of being white in America today. It illustrates how complicated it is to talk about diversity. And why it will be harder still to ever achieve it. The one hour and 50-minute show (one 10-minute intermission) is well-acted, well-directed (David Wolber), and well-staged on a unique revolving set that pivots from the boarding school to the Mason’s home.



Diane Hill as Sherri and Jeremy Kucharek as Charlie in
"Admissions" by Joshua Harmon. Photograph by Sean Carter Photography.

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