Published: Jan. 10, 2020

Basic Training visits Wharton Center

Contact(s): Bob Hoffman Wharton Center office: (517) 884-3115

The true story of Kahlil Ashanti’s experience in the U.S. Air Force comes to life in this award-winning one-man show. With rapid-fire physical and comedic talent, Ashanti showcases twenty-three characters in 60 minutes.

Experience his transformational journey: from surviving an abusive childhood to touring the world with Tops in Blue, the military entertainment troupe and a shocking revelation about his family. 

Baisic Training will play at Wharton Center Jan. 30 and 31. 

Ashanti has been performing from an early age, since discovering it was a method of escapism for him and his little brother during their abusive childhood. The performance begins the night before Ashanti leaves for basic training, when his mother delivers some life-changing news.

The story takes off, and Ashanti transitions seamlessly between dynamic, larger-than-life characters who help him find who he really is. Ashanti hopes this piece of theater will remind audiences that “You are not alone, no matter what you are struggling with.”

Audiences have given standing ovations, and critics have given glowing reviews. During its Off-Broadway run, Basic Training was a New York Times Critics Pick and was awarded Scotsman Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Variety says, “His quality of humanity sets him apart from other mechanical, do-anything-for-a-laugh comedians.”

Immediately following the Thursday, Jan. 30, performance there will be an After Chat with Ashanti. On Friday, Jan. 31, an Insight Preview is scheduled at 7:15 p.m. in the Christman Lounge; Insight Previews are provided free for ticketholders.

Tickets are available at the official source to purchase Wharton Center tickets at, at the Auto-Owners Insurance Ticket Office or by calling 1-800-WHARTON.

Tickets start at $24 and group, student and veteran and active military discounts are available. Please note, this show is best suited for ages 14 and up.