Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Broadway Theater Review: Significant Other

Lindsay Mendez and Gideon Glick. Photo: Joan Marcus
Significant Other
By Joshua Harmon
Directed by Trip Cullman
Roundabout Theatre Company
Booth Theatre
Through April 23

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.


More Information:

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

Additional credits:
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.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY FACTORS:

-- Language (some of it rather blunt)
-- Homosexuality
-- God's name taken in vain

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/.

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (http://ctarts.blogspot.com), an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com and is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp.com and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

Yarger is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and the CT Press Club.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.

Copyright

All material is copyright 2008- 2017 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact reflectionsinthelight@gmail.com

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Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama Desk, the two professional critics organizations with journalists covering NY theater. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about (I review all Broadway shows and pertinent Off-Broadway shows), I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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