By: Lauren Yarger
A strong ensemble cast makes Joshua Harmon’s search for a Significant Other on Broadway engaging and less ho-hum than one might expect.
After all, the premise of a one friend feeling left out while others of a group find significant others and get married isn’t new. This one offers some decent character development, however, and studies the complexities of why friends get pushed aside when romance enters the picture.
Here, the forgotten friend is gay Jordan Berman (an affable Gideon Glick) as Vanessa (Rebecca Naomi Jones), Kiki (Sas Goldberg) and best friend Laura (Lindsay Mendez) all find love. Sometimes the only friend who has time for him is his Alzheimer’s-plagued grandmother, Helene (the always excellent Barbara Barrie).
The friends support each other as weddings suddenly fill their social calendar. First to marry is Kiki, who quickly shows who will be the boss in her marriage with Will (John Behlmann, who plays the significant others of the other group members too). Then Vanessa finds true happiness. When Laura starts getting serious with someone, suddenly Jordan finds himself alone at nights, with friends not answering their phones.
He finds himself anticipating attending Laura’s wedding — the best friend with whom he made backup marriage plans if neither of the met anyone — not as the groom, but just as a guest. He’s not even a groomsman and isn’t happy about being passed over. Some harsh words are exchanged as Jordan and Laura express how they truly feel. Not everything is resolved or can go back to the way it was — sort of like real life.
Meanwhile, lonely Jordan must cope with rejection in his own relationship while avoiding an annoying gay co-worker (Luke Smith) who offers unwanted friendship.
The story is humorous and engaging with sensitive direction by Trip Cullman (who also directed this play for the sold-out run Off-Broadway at Roundabout.) The ensemble delivers strong performances to create charismatic characters. Mendez stands out with her most nuanced performance on Broadway yet.
Significant Other searches for a place to fit in (and for an audience — ticket sales have been slow) at the Booth Theatre, 222 West 45th St., NYC. significantotherbroadway.com
Choreography by Sam Pinkleton, Scenic Design by Mark Wendland, Costume Design by Kaye Voyce (shout out for some terrible bridesmaid dresses), Lighting Design by Japhy Weideman and Sound Design by Daniel Kluger.
By Joshua Harmon,
Directed by Trip Cullman
Roundabout Theatre Company, Booth Theatre
Through April 23
Photos: Joan Marcus