If you do not know Christina Bianco, go to youtube right now and see the wonder that is this woman. Known for an incredible singing voice and an uncanny ability to impersonate divas (both Broadway and pop), she has created quite a following on social media with millions of hits to her numerous videos. The musical theater performer is stepping out of that comfort zone of using her singing voice in her latest off-Broadway endeavor, but boy - her brilliance still shines through in the new play running at the Westside Theatre.
The play Application Pending was written by two friends Andy Sandberg and Greg Edwards who have tackled the dilemma of parents attempting to get their children into a prestigious school - all at the age of 5. It is a herculean task for many with an application process that can match that of a college.
In their one act play, a young woman, Christine, has taken on the job in the application office of answering the phone and fielding all the calls that come into the Edgely Preparatory Academy in Manhattan; nervous parents anxiously waiting to know if their child has been accepted. But Christine also has to juggle teachers calling her, the principal of the school, her own child and his school, an ex husband, outside vendors, people searching for her predecessor, and a major event she has to plan for that evening - all within a days work. It becomes clear quickly in this one woman show that the power of this play is in the actress playing Christine. And what a find they have with Ms. Bianco.
Walking around the set of an office with a headset on, she transforms into every single call that comes in. 40+ characters that she switches back and forth (and returns to them several times throughout the evening). Each character is well conceived, thought-out and created to showcase the multi-talented Bianco. Sweet, sassy, loving, charming, abrasive, male/female - she has it all. She makes it all look so easy when there is absolutely nothing easy about what she is doing. Amazing yes...can anyone do it? Not a chance. The evening harkens back to the era when Lily Tomlin or Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney would do their multi-character shows. Put Christina Bianco right in that same ballroom to dance with those fine character-building impressionists. She is just THAT good.
The wonderful thing about Application Pending is how the writers have created this hectic life for their lead and still manage to tell a story, resolve conflict, and entertain us all under 90 minutes. Even if you are not a parent dealing with private schools, you will find yourself laughing out loud and being completely exhausted for the tirelessly working Christina Bianco. Huge kudos to the producers and creative team for offering such a unique evening of theater.
Bravo, to you, Ms. Bianco, and all of those people living inside of your head. Each of you need to take a bow and people need to get to 43rd street to see each of them come alive!