By: Paulanne Simmons
For decades, come spring, parents of 18-year-olds have waited expectantly to find out whether their children have been accepted at one of America’s elite colleges and will be on the road to success and fame. They still do. But now the process starts much earlier, as parents of 5-y
ear-olds bite their nails and pray their budding geniuses will be offered a place in a prestigious kindergarten, without which they might never make it to one of those elite colleges.
Greg Edwards and Andy Sandberg’s have great fun with this pseudo-serious situation in Application Pending, a one-woman show, directed by Sandberg and starring the versatile Christina Bianco. Whether or not you’ve gone through it, you will most probably enjoy watching this staged version of the kindergarten application process.
Bianco, a cabaret performer, celeb impressionist and diva in her own right, plays the newly appointed head of admissions at Edgely Prep (the previous holder of this position having left under mysterious circumstances), an elite Manhattan private school with an acceptance rate that puts Harvard to shame.
Seated in her well-appointed office (set design by Colin McGurk) the frazzled administrator fields a barrage of phone calls from importuning parents, There’s the super wealthy mother who has obtained recommendations from a variety of famous people, including the Pope and George Clooney; the pushy Jewish mother, who thinks her son is the next Hugh Jackman; and a struggling single father trying to get his son a scholarship.
But this young lady has much more to cope with if she wants to save her job and keep her personal life intact. There’s her demanding and overbearing boss; a ditzy friend; the head of a rival school, her former, philandering husband; and the sanctimonious administrator of her own child’s school, to name a few.
Bianco is certainly in her element, creating outsized characters that remind us of very real people. She’s proficient in a variety of accents: from Southern to South of the Border. And she moves easily among the myriad characters without missing a beat.
Edwards and Sandberg have created a zany plot line that reveals both the nastiness of the entitled and the desperation of the powerless, without ever ceasing to be funny. And they manage to lead the story to a conclusion that is appropriately satisfactory and unbelievable, an ending in which the evil are punished and the good are rewarded.
If only life worked out as nicely as Application Pending does!
407 West 43rd Street 212-239-6200
Now Playing through April 19th