Review Roundup: SIGNIFICANT OTHER Opens on Broadway- All the Reviews!

By: Mar. 02, 2017
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Significant Other, the new American play by playwright Joshua Harmon (Bad Jews) and directed by Trip Cullman (Yen, Six Degrees of Separation), officially opens tonight, March 2, at The Booth Theatre (222 West 45th St.).

The cast features Gideon Glick (Spring Awakening), John Behlmann (Journey's End), Sas Goldberg (Stunning), Rebecca Naomi Jones (American Idiot), Lindsay Mendez (Wicked), Luke Smith (Peter and the Starcatcher Tour) and Barbara Barrie (Company).

People and relationships change. But what if everyone is changing faster than you? Is finding "The one" the only path to happiness? That's exactly what's racing through the mind of Jordan Berman as his best friends all find their Significant Others. Is separation anxiety from your friends normal? At least his grandma isn't too busy to take his calls. It's a show that's a lot like life - sometimes absurd, always honest and full of humor.

Let's see what the critics had to say!

Ben Brantley, The New York Times: The four central performers chart their characters' fraying ties with a graceful, instinctive grasp of the hierarchies and role playing that occur within such relationships. They're at their most poignantly expressive when they're dancing together (in dwindling numbers) at one another's weddings. (Sam Pinkleton deserves credit as the choreographer.) Mark Wendland's multilevel set nicely evokes the sense of a city of myriad dwelling places, to which people retreat in insulated isolation, whether as pairs or singletons. And John Behlmann and Luke Smith drolly fulfill their purposes as the various men in the central characters' lives. But the play's structure, built around an and-then-there-was-one countdown of weddings, can start to feel like a sustained musical vamp with only slight variations. Though Mr. Glick is very good and, I think, rather brave in following Jordan's path from adorable to irritating, his company does start to pall after a certain point.

Michael Dale, BroadwayWorld: I'll admit to finding Significant Other no better than admirably pleasant when this mounting originated at Roundabout's Laura Pels Theatre during the summer of 2015, but there's a noticeably new spark in director Tripp Cullman's production, that neatly glides from effervescent to emotionally raw. If there have been script changes, they don't appear to have been major. Jones is the only new addition to the cast, but perhaps what's happening is a strengthened connection between Mendez's Laura and Glick's Jordan as their relationship moves far beyond the straight woman/gay man dynamic typically found in popular culture. A second act confrontation that has Laura in tears because Jordan feel she's abandoning him by getting married is brutal to watch and you can legitimately ache for both characters.

Matt Windman, amNY: There is a constant fluidity to Trip Cullman's production, which bounces between short scenes using a tall set that evokes workplace, club and home settings and precise lighting changes. Glick ("Spring Awakening," "Speech and Debate") is so adorable and vulnerable that you feel compelled to jump onstage, give him a hug and find him a date or at least introduce him to Yente the Matchmaker.

Robert Kahn, NBC New York: Glick ("Spring Awakening") has fully realized his character, who is unsure, in a familiar way, if he'll ever find an appropriate mate. His comic chops are put to fine use in a drawn-out scene where, late one lonely night, Jordan tries to rationalize sending a far-too-long e-mail to his office crush. One word for this performance? Relatable. Mendez, the "Wicked" and "Dogfight" vet, keeps Laura grounded and full-of-heart, while letting us also glimpse the character's countercultural and misanthropic sides.

Joe Dziemianowicz, New York Daily News: In its 2015 Off-Broadway run, the comedy by Joshua Harmon ("Bad Jews") struck me as "hilarious, heart-tugging and annoying." On Broadway at the Booth Theatre, same goes. Hilarity comes from spry, occasionally crude one-liners showcased to the max by the fine cast as well as Trip Cullman's deft direction. Heart-tugging moments arise between Jordan and his age-addled grandmother (Barbara Barrie).

David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter: Under playwright Joshua Harmon's compassionate gaze, that potentially mopey, extended sitcom scenario becomes by turns hilarious and poignant, delivering a relatable contemporary take on the old-fashioned theme of waiting with increasing impatience for Mr. Right. In addition to the sharp, insightful writing, a big part of what prevents this delightful play from turning either trite or maudlin is the wonderful performance of Gideon Glick as Jordan, who is late-twenties, geeky-cute, comfortable in his sexuality, gainfully employed in advertising and desirably located in an Upper West Side Manhattan apartment. But somehow, despite his gnawing hunger for a fulfilling relationship, he remains hopelessly single. He and his similarly solo closest friend Laura (Lindsay Mendez) make a pact to be each other's fallback option should the romantic horizon remain empty.

Linda Winer, Newsday: "Significant Other" is a slick, well-made, funny-sad new Broadway comedy, the kind that doesn't often get a first-rate commercial production these days. At its soft heart, however, the play is really a 21st century theater throwback to that old song that cried, "Those wedding bells are breaking up that old gang of mine."

Adam Feldman, Time Out NY: Gay characters in mass culture often serve as supportive accessories in the marriage plots of others, but Harmon keeps Jordan in sharp, brutally revealing focus. Anyone whose heart has ever been broken can relate to his plight. Pushing 30, he has never been in a serious relationship, and his desperation to change that-sabotaged by his obsessiveness and awkwardness-only makes things worse. Glick delivers a star-making, gut-wrenching performance of deep sweetness and quicksilver mood shifts; a scene in which he considers sending an intense love email to a handsome coworker is a masterpiece of comic anxiety, and his climactic rant of pent-up resentment earns vigorous applause.

Jeremy Gerard, Deadline: Gideon Glick (The Good Wife, upcoming in Ocean's 8), an ingratiating actor with a gift for whipsaw changes from clownlike callowness to grieving bewilderment, repeats as Jordan Berman, a gay, single junior marketing executive edging up against the big Three-Oh in the protective, if bitchy, embrace of his three BFFs. There's self-adoring, pleasantly vulgar Kiki (Sas Goldberg); cool, self-confident Vanessa (Rebecca Naomi Jones) and, first among these equals, Laura (the superb Lindsay Mendez), whose ironic attitude and self-doubt make her Jordan's soul mate. Snuggling, they fantasize about setting up house together, creating their own little word to protect one another from the crassness and the hurt Out There.

Robert Hofler, TheWrap: "Significant Other" begins as a gay "40-Year-Old Virgin" and ends up a gay "Bridesmaids." That's not necessarily a negative thing to say about Joshua Harmon's new comedy, which opened Thursday at Broadway's Booth Theatre. The show never feels derivative, even though you might get the impression you've seen this distraught hero before through a different prism in an alternate universe.

Jesse Green, Vulture: If only Significant Other, which opened tonight on Broadway, were as dramatic. But although Joshua Harmon's sour comedy has many fine supporting qualities - wit, a neat structure, lacerating dialogue, and a clutch of terrific performances from a cast led by Gideon Glick - they don't have very much to support.

Tim Teeman, The Daily Beast: The reviews had been so positive for the off-Broadway production of Joshua Harmon's Significant Other, that its laureled coronation on Broadway should have been all but assured. But there are so many jarring, derailing elements to this Roundabout Theatre production-about a gay man in his late twenties, confronting loneliness, but not really confronting loneliness convincingly, and therein lies the problem-that the evening merely becomes an extended sequence of his irritating whining. The play's peppy (occasionally extremely funny) comedy ill-balances its very dark heart, which-as the final curtain reveals-is really about one man's terrible isolation. It's Ibsen meets Will and Grace, but-as that show's Jack might screech-"in a bad way."

Elysa Gardner, Entertainment Weekly: But what emerges as this play progresses is something sharper and more unsettling. If Harmon doesn't eschew cliches - the playwright wields them with surprising wit, in fact - he has crafted, in Jordan, a central character who defies them. On the surface, our protagonist is the sweetly nerdy guy you can always confide in, whose company you always enjoy - the perfect platonic date. But as his buddies begin to pair off, his loneliness deepens into a tragicomic, primal fear, turning ominous and even ugly at points.

Robert Feldberg, The Record: The first time I saw Joshua Harmon's comedy "Significant Other," off-Broadway a couple of years ago, I found the main character incredibly irritating. I don't know what happened to the play - it's essentially the same production - or to me in the interim, but seeing it on Broadway, where it opened Thursday night at the Booth Theatre, my feelings about the character, Jordan, had changed. I liked him, and the play, a lot better.

Steven Suskin, Huffington Post: Significant Other does not sound like a traditional Broadway comedy hit in the manner of-say-Neil Simon, given that the leading man is desperately seeking a man to love. But the play is about friendship and loneliness, neither of which have gone out of style; and the good-natured feelings just about spill over the footlights to envelop the audience. Mix Harmon's warm-hearted script with Glick's superb performance and the artfully flavorful assistance of Mendez and Barrie, and you've got an exceedingly winning Broadway comedy.

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