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BWW Reviews: Bianco is Terrific in the Mildly Funny APPLICATION PENDING

Whatever laughs are to be had in Greg Edwards and Andy Sandberg's mild comedy Application Pending are predominantly to the credit of Christina Bianco, the versatile comic actress at the center of this solo showcase.

Christina Bianco (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Mostly known for her singing celebrity impersonations for Forbidden Broadway and YouTube, Bianco is called upon to rapidly switch gears as over 40 different characters in this 75 minute piece about the admissions manager of an elite kindergarten being overwhelmed with phone calls on her first day on the job.

There's a bit of a plot about how her character, Christine, was rushed into the position after a scandal involving the previous manager and how she's a single mom who really wants to be a kindergarten teacher, but the main thrust of the evening, which is about 45 minutes too long, is to spoof the desperation of rich people trying to get their toddlers into the most exclusive school possible, convinced that being rejected will completely ruin the course of their children's lives.

Christina Bianco (Photo: Joan Marcus)

There's nothing new here. Christine has to deal with multiple phone calls from clichéd characters like a pushy stage mother type, a radical-chic mother of a child adopted from Africa and a well-connected socialite who has her high-profile references calling in.

The one nice and patient parent is a financially struggling single dad hoping for a scholarship for his (presumably white) son, unaware that the school's diversity-minded director of finance is more concerned with helping "heritage rich" applicants.

Under Sandberg's direction, Bianco handles her assignment like a pro, seamlessly snapping her voice and physicality from role to role without ever losing a firm hold on the narrative. But the jokes lack any serious punch and the material starts feeling recycled very quickly.

Bianco's terrific talent deserves a smarter vehicle.

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From This Author Michael Dale