Significant Other

Despite my better judgment, I went to see Significant Other, the new play by Joshua Harmon that recently transferred to Broadway from Roundabout, this past Sunday with my significant other, my best guy friend, and his significant other. I saw this shortly after I met J in 2015 while it was off-Broadway and it hit me hard in the emotions. I walked out of the Laura Pels thinking Gideon’s character surely killed himself after the lights went down. And to be honest, I kind of wanted to kill myself after the lights went down on Sunday afternoon, regardless of my relationship status. My friends concurred.

I want to start by saying that Gideon Glick is brilliant as the protagonist Jordan, a late twenty-somethings city-dweller. He gives a flawless performance of an extremely flawed character. He has genius comedic timing and I was exhausted watching him exert himself onstage for two and a half hours(ish). I would watch this guy read the phone book because he could make it entertaining. He has monologues that are pages long but he makes it look effortless.

Sas Goldman, who plays the first bride of the night Kiki, reminded me in a weird way of Tracee Chimo in Bachelorette. But in a totally good, weird way. Lindsay Mendez plays a wonderful best friend to Jordan, Laura, who gets caught up in wedding madness when she finally gets engaged. She was able to be strong even when hurt by Jordan’s page and a half tirade on the evening of her bachelorette party. And, last but not least, Rebecca Naomi Jones is the hilariously dark Vanessa who gives no fucks about anything until the day of her wedding.

The men in this show are not at all the focus. Hence why two actors play all six male characters (in addition to Jordan). John Behlman and Luke Smith both do a lovely job playing the various boyfriends and husbands and coworkers of the four main characters.

Because of its incredibly depressing tone, and it’s suicide-inducing ending, I’m not sure it’ll find it’s audience on Broadway, but I know that a lot (most) people could probably relate to Jordan’s feeling of being alone and feeling hopeless. There are lots of parts to make you laugh, and many to also make you feel all the feels. Like any good play should.

When I interned for a well-known producer of benefits and concerts in 2006, I became acquainted with the musical talents of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. On May 14th of that year, we produced a concert staging of their musical “Become.” It was a great success, to say the least.

I’d heard a lot about Dogfight, the Second Stage production that closed in midtown today, and mostly that it was fantastic. After Kristen and I got our tickets for Into the Woods (at the Delacorte), we hopped on the train and got two last minute tickets the third-to-last performance. Excitedly, we sat down, unsure of what to expect (and I admittedly, barely knew whether or not it was a musical or straight play).

Based on the little-known-about indie film of the same name, Dogfight is about a group of marines who have a dogfight on their last night before shipping out “to some country named Vietnam.” A dogfight is a dance in which every marine brings the most unattractive girl they can find, and whoever brings the the ugliest, wins a cash prize. The night of the dogfight, the main antagonist, a marine named Eddie (played by Derek Klena), falls for his date, a not-so-homely diner waitress named Rose (Lindsay Mendez). 

The score, by Pasek and Paul, is terrific. Duh. That was the one thing I knew I didn’t have to question. The story (book by Peter Dunchan) was interesting, heart breaking, with a lot of hilarious one-liners too. I also really enjoyed the cast, the aforementioned Klena and Mendez (though her head voice needs to be strengthened a bit, but her belt is great), along with Annaleigh Ashford (hilarious), Nick Blaemire (endearing), and Josh Segarra, and an ensemble that’s energetic and entertaining.

My one constructive criticism for Dogfight was the ending. I felt it was weak because it was incredibly vague. Do I think Dogfight should transfer to a 500+ seat Broadway house? No, probably not. It’s an intimate show that would lose a lot in say, the Jacobs. Also it’s very dark, and I don’t see that doing exceedingly well right now on Broadway either.

But was Dogfight great? Oh yes. Pasek and Paul have arrived (officially) and I have a feeling that they aren’t going anywhere.