The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings






Etcetera and
Short Term Listings


NYC Restaurants


New Jersey







Free Updates
Writing for Us

A CurtainUp New Jersey Review
Admit One

So, you've been an Admissions Officer for some time? — Everett

Seven years and three months ago. I became an Admission Officer. I love it. I had no idea — it's so what...? Phenomenal, extraordinary to be on the inside of the Admission Process. — Mary Sue

Admit 1
Ames Adamson and Catherine LeFrere (photo: SuzAnne Barabas)
If I have to admit one thing about Wendy Yondorf's facetious comedy Admit One, it is how much it has been calibrated by its director Karen Carpenter (Love, Loss and What I Wore) to keep audiences at the New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch laughing at a situation that is, in reality, far from funny. Yes, I know that is what black comedy is all about, but this one isn't black. It is just blah. But that isn't how the opening night well-wishers reacted at the performance that I attended. They responded with gales of laughter to all the lame jokes about New Jersey, even a groaner at the expense of Governor Christie.

What I could see was how deliberately and desperately the play's two fine actors Ames Adamson and Catherine LeFrere were resolved to play off each other like seasoned vaudevillians and stay the course in a distended discourse. Yondorf's glib script focuses primarily on to what extent do stretching ethics and breeching morality take a parent in an attempt to both put the pressure on, as well as pull the wool over the eyes of a presumably intractable admission officer for a prestigious University.

One answer is that it takes about ninety-five very long minutes. For the other answer, you can expect the route involves a lot of bantering and badgering amidst a little bedlam. As directed by Carpenter as if the incredulous plot could not stand on its own modest merits. Admit One also gives the impression that it might have originally been conceived as a sharply sardonic look at the way college applicants are assessed and considered. It somehow has lost its way. . . just a guess.

The scene is a bedroom suite at the Waldorf Astoria where the tall, imposing Howard Everett (Ames), a wealthy contributor to the fictitious Giddings University, has surreptitiously arranged a meeting with Mary Sue (LeFrere), a hopefully receptive and malleable admissions officer. His mission is to be assured there will be no obstacle or revelation standing in the way of his son's application to Giddings.

The fact that Mary Sue has been persuaded to fly in from wherever for this meeting seems as unlikely and as absurd as the meeting itself proves to be. Both are aware of the delicacy of this unorthodox assignation and the potential for it to either compromise or define them individually or expose their motives. Our interest is piqued a bit as they play a kind of cat and mouse game through some initial and mildly amusing cordialities. These, however, lead them unwittingly into the kind of antic, inane behavior that we haven't witnessed since the Marx Brothers ordered Room Service, something that these two do and admittedly very well.

It is never made clear or pertinent why a bathroom door that won't stay closed becomes a repeated bit of shtick in the play, or why it becomes necessary for the imposing Everett to get undressed and change into a bathrobe after Mary Sue spills a little water on his suit? But it does give us time out from the relentless chatter about what are the reasons and the criteria on which colleges accept or deny applicants notwithstanding grades, the playing of La Crosse, sustaining injuries, and the advent of a life-threatening illness.

Soon enough we are privy to the increasingly convoluted and contrived machinations that the extremely wealthy benefactor Everett has devised to manipulate Mary Sue. Despite his disclosure that his son is gay but that a date-rape accusation has been made by a young woman who attends the same prep school academy, it appears that she may have even better credentials than his son to get into Giddings. He has a plan.

As things go, the script shows signs of intelligence in its premise, even if Carpenter's direction keeps the characters confined to preposterous posturing and the kind of indicating meant to let people know what is funny. There are incredible as well as incredulous turning points in the positions taken by Everett, whose misuse of speech defines him as a male Mrs. Malaprop and by Mary Sue who personality turns in short order from being tentative to boldly assertive and self-assured.

One is apt to wonder how an educated and savvy woman appears awed not only by her first visit to New York since childhood (really?) but also by the luxurious amenities (what about that broken door and a treacherous raised floor board?) at the Waldorf Astoria (nice work by scenic designer Jessica Parks). I'll admit that you are more likely to wonder long before Admit One is over (spoiler alert), who was kidding whom all along and why.

Admit One by Wendy Yondorf
Directed by Karen Carpenter
> Cast: Catherine LeFrere (Mary Sue), Ames Adamson (Howard Everett)
Scenic Design & Properties: Jessica Parks
Lighting Design: Jill Nagle
Costume Design: Patricia e. Doherty
Running Time: 1 hour 35 minutes no intermission
New Jersey Repertory Company, 179 Broadway, Long Branch, NJ (732) 229 - 3166
Tickets: $42.00
Performances: Thursday, Fridays, at 8 pm; Saturdays at 3 pm; Sundays at 2 pm
From 01/16/14 Opened 01/18/14 Ends 02/16/14
Review by Simon Saltzman based on performance 01/18/14 .
Subscribe to our FREE email updates with a note from editor Elyse Sommer about additions to the website -- with main page hot links to the latest features posted at our numerous locations. To subscribe, E-mail:
put SUBSCRIBE CURTAINUP EMAIL UPDATE in the subject line and your full name and email address in the body of the message -- if you can spare a minute, tell us how you came to CurtainUp and from what part of the country.

For a feed to reviews and features as they are posted add to your reader
Curtainup at Facebook . . . Curtainup at Twitter

Highlight one of the responses below and click "copy" or"CTRL+C"
  • I agree with the review of
  • I disagree with the review of
  • The review made me eager to see
Click on the address link E-mail:
Paste the highlighted text into the subject line (CTRL+ V):

>Feel free to add detailed comments in the body of the email and state if you'd like your comments published in our letters section. . .also the names and emails of any friends to whom you'd like us to forward a copy of this review.

You can also contact us at Curtainup at Facebook or Curtainup at Twitter
The New Similes Dictionary
New Similes Dictionary

Book Of Mormon MP4 Book of Mormon -CD
Our review of the show

Slings & Arrows  cover of  new Blu-Ray cover
Slings & Arrows-the complete set

You don't have to be a Shakespeare aficionado to love all 21 episodes of this hilarious and moving Canadian TV series about a fictional Shakespeare Company


©Copyright 2014, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from