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Review Roundup: APPLICATION PENDING, Starring Christina Bianco, Opens Off-Broadway

The world premiere of Application Pending, a new comedy by Greg Edwards & Andy Sandberg about the hilariously cutthroat world of kindergarten admissions at New York private schools, officially opens tonight, February 10, 2015 at the Westside Theatre.

Directed by Sandberg (The Last Smoker in America), Application Pending stars Drama Desk nominee Christina Bianco (Forbidden Broadway). Bianco, who became a worldwide YouTube sensation with her diva impression videos, portrays rookie admissions office Christine Evans, as well as 40 other roles.

Christine Evans (Bianco) is a kindergarten assistant at Edgely Prep, an elite Manhattan private school with an acceptance rate that puts Harvard's to shame. On the day applications are due, Edgely's head of admissions is ousted in a scandal, and Christine is unexpectedly thrust into the job. With phones ringing off the hook, Christine must balance beleaguered applicants, venal administrators, and an army of parents who will stop at nothing to get their kids in.

Let's see what the critics had to say...

Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times: Christina Bianco has become relatively well known as an impressionist through stage work and YouTube videos, so the myriad voices she deploys in the one-woman comedy "Application Pending" might not be surprising. But the speed with which she switches among them as she portrays dozens of characters is remarkable. Must we trot out the phrase "tour de force"? Yes, we must...it's about as broad a comedy as you'll find this side of vaudeville. Virtually all the characters are caricatures: of entitled upper crusters, imperious administrators, non-English speakers and so on. The universe of competitive kiddie schools has already been thoroughly dissected and mocked, but the writers still manage to land some pretty good jokes as they intertwine the stories of the various participants...If you can stand the stereotypes, Ms. Bianco's work is something to see.

Diane Snyder, Time Out NY: Application Pending isn't a musical, but Christina Bianco is something akin to a one-woman orchestra. In Greg Edwards and Andy Sandberg's deliciously twisted solo vehicle, the multivoiced wonder and Forbidden Broadway vet morphs into 43 personalities, creating a symphony of hilariously harmonious voices. Although poking fun at the superrich and their oh-so-darling progeny is hardly uncharted territory, the satire has a spry freshness to it. Bianco's main character, the sympathetic Christine Evans, is the beleaguered new director of pre-primary admissions at an exclusive Manhattan prep school. On her first day on the job, she endures a barrage of insane and inane phone calls from entitled parents, annoying colleagues and other oddballs. Under Sandberg's direction, Bianco plays them all with gusto, switching personages with rapid-fire precision and vocal and physical adjustments.

Joe Dziemianowicz, New York Daily News: Whether you're inside the cutthroat world of New York parenting or are blissfully unaware of what some moms and dads will do to get their kids into elite private schools, "Application Pending" will make you laugh...The more universal aspect of the play, directed by Sandberg, is about power...A cavalcade of characters...that includes a hideous higher-up, obnoxious and outrageous moms and dads, a narcissistic ex-husband, a devious admissions honcho at a rival school, plus prodigious tots...With an uncanny knack for nailing impressions, Bianco...flips into character and inhabits the Edgely gang fully in the blink of an eye.

Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Post: Casting the perky, versatile Christina Bianco in the middling comedy "Application Pending" is like driving a Porsche around the block at 20 mph. What a waste of resources!...Over the course of a day...poor, harried Christine fields an unending stream of phone calls from rabid parents who try to bully, bribe and charm her into finding a spot for their precious toddlers...All of these exchanges happen over the phone, with Bianco deftly switching among characters - it's amazing how she keeps track of them. But the conceit is not only repetitive, it strains credulity: Really, nobody ever drops by Christine's office all day? By the end of this frantic, yet hollow, show, public school has never looked so good.

Check back for updates!

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

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