Admissions play: Explosive timing as US stars PROSECUTED for 'college bribes scandal'

It is an extraordinary case of life imitating art. Just as famous American faces and industry leaders are being prosecuted by the US Justiice Department, a new play opens in London about exactly the same thing. Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman is just one of 50 high-profile figures who have been named in a case involving alleged bribes of up to $6million to ensure their children were accepted to prestigious colleges. It is the largest such case ever pursued by the courts.

Admissions tells the hypothetical tale of a liberal, privileged white couple who are faced with a clash of values and self-interest when their son is denied an Ivy League college place in favour of his mixed-race best friend. Do the parents embrace the advance of diversity they espouse or use their connections to get their son a place anyway? 

It stars Alex Kingston and Sarah Hadland as the mother in question and her best friend. The opening night performance this evening was already hugely anticipated but suddenly the play is at the heart of a real-life scandal rocking Hollywood and US industry and the elite education system.

Earlier today, federal officials revealed that 50 people were being charged in what is being dubbed the “Varsity Blues” case.

Andrew Lelling, US attorney for the District of Massachusetts, told a news conference: “This case is about the widening corruption of elite college admissions through the steady application of wealth combined with fraud.”


“There can be no separate college admissions system for the wealthy and, I’ll add, there will not be a separate criminal justice system either. 

“The parents are a catalogue of wealth and privilege. They include, for example, the CEOs of private and public companies, successful securities and real estate investors, two well-known actresses, a famous fashion designer and the co-chairman of a global law firm.”

According to court papers, Hollywood actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli: “agreed to pay bribes totalling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team – despite the fact that they did not participate in crew – thereby facilitating their admission to USC.”


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