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Posts Tagged ‘roundabout theatre’

Cupid’s Fleeting Arrow: ‘Significant Other’

March 3rd, 2017 Comments off

by Ryan Leeds

Gideon Glick, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Sas Goldberg and Lindsay Mendez in 'Significant Other.' (Photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Gideon Glick, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Sas Goldberg and Lindsay Mendez in ‘Significant Other.’ (Photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

You might, as Rihanna sings, “find love in a hopeless place,” but you won’t find anything particularly worth the hefty price of an orchestra seat at the Booth Theatre, where playwright Joshua Harmon’s moderately appealing comedy, Significant Other, currently resides. Harmon’s play has made the leap from a successful run Off-Broadway at Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theatre to Broadway, leaving seasoned theatergoers to ask themselves, “Is this really necessary?”

Harmon’s play begins in the present day, where Jordan Berman (Gideon Glick) is at a night club, dancing to the aforementioned song with reckless abandon alongside his closest lady friends Kiki (Sas Goldberg), Vanessa (Rebecca Naomi Jones) and Laura (Lindsay Mendez). Berman, a 20-something, gay, pie-eyed optimist is lucky to have such great friends around him, but is missing one key element: love. One by one, he watches as his closest confidantes find the men of their dreams.

Gideon Glick in 'Significant Other.' (Photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Gideon Glick in ‘Significant Other.’ (Photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Berman is stuck. Though he’s cute and charming, he can never quite seem to land a date, much less a committed relationship. His feeble attempt at wooing an elusive co-worker ends in disaster. Berman spends a great deal of time thinking about Will (John Behlemann), a colleague who Berman pines for but whose sexual preference and reciprocated romantic interest is opaque. The pair goes on an awkward “date” to watch a film documentary on the Franco-Prussian war. Berman becomes obsessed with his post-movie follow-up and, in one of the few laugh out loud moments in the show, vacillates on whether he should send Will the email he’s drafted.

Stage and screen star Barbara Barrie rounds out the cast as Berman’s grandmother, a somewhat solemn widow whose friends have all died. She’s reached a point in her life when she feels useless, but still manages to muster sage advice to her lovelorn grandson. “You’re just going through a rough chapter,” she says, “but it’s a very long book.”

Glick is excellent and extremely likable, causing the audience to root for him. We want him to get the boy. However, there is also a strong sentiment of annoyance at his lack of trying. Anyone who is—or has ever been—single in New York knows that the attempt at finding true love can be more difficult than hosting a legitimate news outlet at a White House press conference.  We complain about the apps, social media, and online dating but most of us know that they are necessary evils. Cupid can’t shoot his arrow if we’re not even picking up the bow.

Barbara Barrie in 'Significant Other.' (Photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Barbara Barrie in ‘Significant Other.’ (Photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Perhaps it is out of fear and deep insecurity that causes Berman to lounge on the sidelines of love. Harmon delves into this psychology and also paints the typical relationships that gay men have with their closest female friends. It is  a tough reality that many face when, as Ira Gershwin famously wrote, “They’re playing songs of love, but not for me.” Still, the only new aspect of this often told plot line is that it is viewed through the lens of a gay man. Ultimately, it’s just not enough.

Director Trip Cullman, who makes his Broadway directorial debut, directs the work with an able hand. He also directed the Off-Broadway incarnation and is able to pull great performances from his cast. Significant Other is the type of the show that would be perfectly fine in the confines of an Off-Broadway theatre, but it just seems ill fitted in a cavernous Broadway house.

Mark Wendland’s set looks sharp and offers great flexibility as a club, office, and apartment. Significant Other translates simply to a good date: It’s attractive, it has some wit and a decent personality, but there’s just not enough substance for a full-fledged commitment of time or money.

Significant Other
Booth Theatre
222 West 45th Street, NYC
Through July 2

Ryan Leeds is a freelance theater journalist who lives in Manhattan. He is the Chief Theater Critic for Manhattan Digest and a frequent contributor to Dramatics Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @Ry_Runner or on Facebook.

 

 

When Life is No Picnic

January 13th, 2013 Comments off

“Picnic” was originally produced in 1953 and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. But you’ll be hard-pressed to understand why in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival that opened Sunday night at the American Airlines Theatre.

Ellen Burstyn, Sebastian Stan, and Maggie Grace in "Picnic." (photo: Joan Marcus)

Just like the theater company’s name, this production (with a few notable exceptions) skirts the subtleties of playwright William Inge’s tinged script and punches up dramatic moments in the spirit of waking up an otherwise comatose audience.

Inge’s characters were inspired by the women he knew in his youth. “When I was a boy in Kansas, my mother had a boarding house. There were three women schoolteachers living in the house,” said Inge, “I was 4 years old and they were nice to me; I liked them. I saw their attempts and, even as a child, I sensed every woman’s failure. I began to sense the sorrow and the emptiness in their lives and it touched me.”

Centered around the Owens family, which consists of mother Flo (Mare Winningham), pretty daughter Madge (Maggie Grace) and ugly duckling Millie (with a voice to match played by Madeleine Martin), the play — on paper — kicks into gear when Hal Carter (Sebastian Stan), a young man from the wrong side of the tracks rolls into town.

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Hanks, Breakfast at Tiffany’s & More Hollywood on the Hudson

October 22nd, 2012 Comments off

It’s no surprise anymore when Broadway attempts to add some extra pizazz to the marquee by sprinkling some Hollywood stardust, whether through film star casting or name brand titles. But four recent news tidbits caught my eye as particularly covered in tinsel (town):

  • Emilia Clarke. Image via O+M.

    It’s official: two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is coming to Broadway April 2013 in Lucky Guy, a play by the late, beloved Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle). A tale of New York journalism during the 1970’s, this play adds additional cache with its director George C. Wolfe (The Normal Heart). I imagine tickets are already sold out before they go on sale but…a boy can dream.

  • If that’s not “old hollywood” enough for you, how about a new adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s? Truman Capote’s classic is getting a fresh (and supposedly more faithful than the Hepburn film) adaptation by Tony-winner Richard Greenberg (Take Me Out). Those who are more fantasy geek than Tiffany’s chic will also have reason to check it out; the February 2013 bow will star Game of ThronesEmilia Clarke.
  • Multiple Emmy-nominee Sarah Paulson (Game Change, American Horror Story) may not have above the title multiplex stardom, but to me she’s A-list. And now comes news that she is coming back to the stage to star in Roundabout’s revival of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Talley’s Folly. Paulson will be joined in the sweet love story by recent Broadway everyman Danny Burstein (Follies…perhaps he should do La Cage aux Folles next and continue the pattern?).
  • Don’t count out true Broadway glitter, though. The bigger than life new musical Giant, based on the Liz Taylor – Rock Hudson – James Dean classic, is heading to the Public starring Blog favorites Brian d’Arcy James (Smash) and Kate Baldwin (Finian’s Rainbow). Watch the video from their recent promo shoot (after the jump below) and tell me the Great White Way can’t be just as glamorous.

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TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE: Fall Preview 2012, The Musicals

September 5th, 2012 Comments off

The Cast of "Chaplin". Photo by Joan Marcus.

Buckle up, boys and girls! The theater season is about to get up and rolling so we’ve got a two part preview of the tunes and tears the Great White Way has to offer through the end of the year. Since the first show out of the gate post-Labor Day is a musical, let’s start with a closer look at the originals and revivals singing and dancing onto Broadway during the rest of 2012.

On a quick glance, the slate is…well…a bit like the island of misfit toys; a curiosity chest of pieces with unusual histories from less than name brand writers. But one never knows until the curtain goes up what we truly have in store; the oddest ducks (or Cats) can sometimes turn out to be blockbusters.

Chaplin (September 10): One of Hollywood’s first mega-stars gets the first slot of the season in what promises to be a splashy theatrical biography. The biggest news is that the lead is being played by a relative unknown (almost unheard of in these marquee driven times), Rob McClure. Also in the plus column, a book co-written by musical vet Thomas Meehan (Hairspray) and supporting turns from the recent Closer than Ever dynamic duo Jenn Colella and Christiane Noll…as well as our very own Theater Buff, Wayne Wilcox.

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“Once” Explodes, “Assassins” Guns for a Return & More Theater News

August 24th, 2012 Comments off

Lauren Molina & Jason Tam. Photo by Win Lubin.

I’m back from my hiatus only to discover that the theater world continued on without me. The nerve! So let’s catch up with a few of the biggest stories in a slam bang news round-up…

  • Certain theater producers better be buying everybody rounds of drinks at Bar Centrale this week, because two Broadway shows announced they have officially recouped their investments. The Tony-winning Best Musical Once and the imported farce One Man, Two Gov’nors are now playing for profit, baby. (Might I suggest that if you see a show with “three” in the title, you invest in it right now.)
  • Broadway Cast of "Assassins". Photo by Joan Marcus.

    Speaking of number one with a bullet, my favorite under-appreciated  Sondheim score, Assassins, will be heard again in New York at a one night only benefit performance for the Roundabout Musical Theatre Program. The cast of the acclaimed 2004 revival–including the snoggable Neil Patrick Harris and the divine Denis O’Hare–will reunite on December 3 for a reading of the gorgeously twisted show.

  • While we’re on a Sondheim binge (“More hot pies!”), the Keen Company announced the cast for their upcoming revival of the revue Marry Me a Little. Starting Septemeber 11, the lovely Lauren Molina and the, well, lovely Jason Tam will be singing a host of Uncle Steve’s best including trunk song rarities like “Rainbows” from the much delayed film version of Into the Woods.
  • I don’t know about you but I wanted to be Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Ark) when I grew up. I mean, seriously, she could handle her whiskey and she got to kiss Harrison Ford. She also happens to be a compelling actress with theatrical credits beyond her 80’s blockbuster film resume. All this is a long-winded way of saying that Ms. Allen will be starring in a new play, A Summer Day by Jon Fosse, starting October 10 at the Cherry Lane Theater. Don’t let anything (say, huge rolling boulders or a temple full of snakes) get in your way of seeing it.
  • And while we’re thinking of Indiana Jones (go with me), the opening sequence in the second film in that series not only started with a big musical number but it took place in Shanghai…which, according to the New York Times, is now the proposed home for a multi-billion dollar entertainment complex intended to “to rival the Broadway theater district in New York and the West End in London.” (Yeah, even my head hurts trying to follow that segue.) The project, expected to be completed by 2016, is a joint initiative between Chinese partners and the folks at Dreamworks Animation SKG (Spielberg! See, it’s all connected).