Open Admissions (Full Length)

by  Shirley Lauro

Full Length Play, Drama  /  4m, 7f

"It thrusts us into the front line of an agonizing social crisis." The New York Times

"Powerful." -ABC TV

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Open Admissions (Full Length)

by  Shirley Lauro

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    4m, 7f
  • Accolades


    From Broadway
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

This drama for a racially and ethnically mixed cast explores equal opportunity in college admissions. Calvin Jefferson, a sophomore at an urban college not unlike New York's City College, reads at the fifth grade level but always gets Bs. He is only dimly beginning to understand is that it will take more than a sheepskin to make him competitive in the real world. It will take basic skills he lacks. Calvin begs his speech teacher, an overburdened, underpaid and under appreciated victim of the system, for help. She does try but it is likely too little, too late.On Broadway, Open Admissions received one Tony® nomination, two Drama Desk nominations, a Theatre World Award, The Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award, and was adapted by Ms. Lauro for a CBS TV Special starring Jane Alexander.
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"It thrusts us into the front line of an agonizing social crisis." - The New York Times

"Powerful." - ABC TV

"Thoughtful, sometimes comic, and ultimately moving." - Christian Science Monitor


Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Professional Theatre
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $90 per performance



  • Time Period: Contemporary
  • Setting: The Present. January. In and near Calvin and Ginny's Manhattan apartment and in a public college in New York City
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


4m, 7f
CALVIN JEFFERSON - 18, black, wears black pants, shirt, hooded jacket, Yankees baseball cap. At first glance a street person but this is belied by his intensity and intelligence.
SALINA JONES - Mid-20's. Calvin's sister. Black, worn. A strong woman, but Calvin is her last hope. Wears slacks, sweater, coat that is worn out. 
GEORGIA JONES - 7-9, Calvin's niece; Salina's daughter. Black, cute, bubbly, very spunky little girl. She adores Calvin. Wears jeans, shirt, coat that is worn out. 
GINNY CARLSEN - Late 30's. White, attractive, in a midwestern "All-American 'SOs Girl" way. Small, peppy, wears skirt, sweater. Energetic personality, deeply troubled beneath the patina. 
PETER CARLSEN - Around 40. Ginny's husband. Midwestern of Norwegian-American stock. Has charm about him, sexy, rugged quality, but putting on weight. A dreamer, but dreams have become desperate. A funny guy on the surface. Wears robe, gray suit. 
CATHY CARLSEN - 10-11. Ginny's daughter. Very bright, cute little girl, but troubled. A contemporary, urban child. Wears skirt, blouse, embroidered vest. 
PROFESSOR CLARE BLOCK - SO-SS, stocky, funny, confident, tough, urban. Clare is a real "pro" in the City University system. She has been teaching for 20 years. Wears a suit, comfortable shoes. Carries her books in an "I Love NY" tote. 
KITTY SHIM - 18, Korean. Extremely intelligent and serious in manner and bearing. She speaks with slightest trace of a Korean accent. She is in total control of herself and the college situation. Wears skirt, sweater. 
NICK RIZZOU - 18, Italian descent. Big, burly, with Bronx accent. Very passionate nature. A Freshman in the Speech class. Wears polyester suit. 
JUAN RIVERA - 18, Puerto Rican, small slender build. Tries to be macho. Speaks with Puerto Rican accent. Defensive underneath. Wears bright shirt. 
MRS. BREWSTER - 35-45, older black (or white) woman who is in night session, hoping to raise herself up with a degree. Exhausted. Comes to class after a full day's work.
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Cast Attributes

  • Role(s) for Asian Actor(s)
  • Role(s) for Black Actor(s)



Shirley Lauro

Shirley Lauro’s The Radiant enjoyed its World Premiere in March, 2011, at New Theatre, Miami, starring Angelica Torn as Marie Curie. The play will mark its New York off-Broadway premiere in winter, 2013. All Through the Night enjoyed its World Premiere in Chicago, receiving a Jeff Nomination, as “Best New Play of the Y ...

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Open Admissions premiered on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre in January 1984 under the direction of Elinor Renfield.

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