Gideon Glick's role in Significant Other makes me relate to him more than ever
I've been admiring Gideon Glick on stage for years -- eight to be exact. I first saw him on Broadway in the show that brought him to NYC
, Spring Awakening
, in which he played a shy teenager struggling with his sexual identity. I especially loved him in Samuel D. Hunter's The Few
as a lonely, gay 19-year-old stuck in Idaho. Looking at his bio in the program for his current gig, Significant Other
at the Roundabout's Laura Pels Theatre, I realized I've seen all of his New York stage credits except one. Hell, I even caught him as part of the (eventually scrapped) Geek Chorus in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
But in each case, I didn't go to these shows to see Glick; I was simply interested in the productions.
Now that I've experienced him as Jordan Berman, though, my relationship with him has totally changed.
I initially got my ticket for Significant Other
because I loved Joshua Harmon's previous play, Bad Jews
. But after seeing Glick in the show, he went from being an actor whose name I was always happy to see in the Playbill to a performer I will go out of my way to catch in anything
. It's one of those performances that I can't stop thinking or talking about, and probably won't for years to come.
Part of the reason this particular turn is such a revelation for me is that Glick is finally the lead, not a supporting player. He is a very specific type -- young, manic, with a high-pitched voice -- which is probably why he has often played teenagers and is rarely the star. But I hope more playwrights create characters for him like Jordan, who's gay, single, and drifting apart from his trio of best college girlfriends as each one gets married.
Glick's moving performance is what made the play hit so close to home for me.
Yes, I'm a straight woman and Jordan is a gay man, but other than that, we're pretty similar. Like Jordan, I've watched all of my closest friends get married while I remain single. And like him, sometimes I meet guys and get really excited, only to see things fizzle. (In my defense, Jordan can be a little obsessive, and I like to think I'm not quite
as bad as he is. However, if any of my exes out there are reading, you tell me).
I have to give credit to Harmon for writing a play that so accurately taps into what it's like to be single in your late twenties/early thirties in this day and age -- some of the dialogue reminds me of actual conversations I've had, like trying to interpret the hidden meaning of a Facebook message. But Glick is the one who communicates the stress and anxiety of being alone as your pals pair off. His performance is so fully realized, it doesn't even feel like acting. I loved watching all the little details, tics like touching his hair and face, or smoothing down his pants, which highlight Jordan's awkward and nervous nature. In lesser hands, the character might have been grating, because he wallows in self-pity, complains about being fat when he's skinny, and demands constant attention.
Crucially, there's something inherently likeable about Glick, and he uses that quality to full advantage. He is very funny throughout, especially when he does a silly dance to show how comfortable he is around his friends. But there is such sadness in his voice when he talks about the things he wants that seem perpetually out of reach. It's heartbreaking. The fact that he tweeted
about having laryngitis and a sinus infection on the day I saw the show makes his work all the more impressive.
Although in interviews, Glick has also admitted that he relates to Jordan, I recently read that he now has a boyfriend
. And you know what? While I'm well aware that Glick and Jordan aren't synonymous, that gives me hope. My significant other just may be out there, too.
Linda Buchwald tweets about theatre as @PataphysicalSci
Pictured above: Lindsay Mendez and Gideon Glick in "Significant Other." Photo by Joan Marcus