By Meredith Ganzman
Will Jordan ever meet a nice guy and settle down? That’s the subject of Significant Other, the new play by Joshua Harmon (Bad Jews). But Jordan is not just the straight play version of Company’s bachelor Bobby. Rather it’s an extreme and all consuming FOMO (fear of missing out) that drives the character to search for, as his Jewish grandmother says, his beshert (the one he is meant to be with).
A group of late 20-something friends are getting married one by one – all but Jordan, played masterfully by Gideon Glick. The play opens with Jordan, Vanessa (Rebecca Naomi Jones) and Laura (Lindsay Mendez) at Kiki’s (Sas Goldberg) bachelorette party. Later on at Kiki’s wedding, Vanessa meets a groomsman and we’re transported to her bachelorette party. Jordan dutifully attends his best girlfriends’ bachelorettes and weddings, but can’t help feeling that he’s losing them. As they enter new chapters of life, he is left, well at the very least not holding the bouquet. With each friend’s wedding, he is unable to fill the void and comes to resent single life more and more.
The both painful and funny journey of waiting for your turn, directed by Trip Cullman, hit close to home for me in the play’s 2015 off-Broadway run from the Roundabout Theatre Company. Two years later, Harmon has even more acutely tapped into the challenges of dating, and doing so in New York City, in the digital age.
In its original run, I so wanted for Jordan to immediately find the relationship for which he is longing. He deserves it, right? He’s been a good friend and an even better grandson – he regularly visits his grandmother, played beautifully and knowingly by Oscar, Emmy and Tony Award nominee Barbara Barrie.
The Broadway transfer has only strengthened the play. The often quick scenes flow effortlessly and, as playwright Harmon told Playbill, bleed into each other. And all but one cast member, Rebecca Naomi Jones, transferred from the off-Broadway production, and all give strong and unique performances.
But this time around, I did feel differently for Jordan. Truly a complex, complete and relatable character, he is a man who longs for a relationship but is in no way ready for or deserving of one.
Jordan’s desire for a relationship becomes an obsession for Jordan, as he fixates on the office hunk Will (John Behlmann). While he may be jealous of his friends who have obtained something he feels entitled to, Jordan is not needy or immature. Indeed he cares for his grandmother and has tried to be a good friend to Kiki, Vanessa and Laura in the best ways he knows how. He is able to go through life alone, but of course that’s not what he wants. Good news for Jordan, as his grandmother says, life is a long book. He is just in a difficult chapter and doesn’t know how and when it will end.
Significant Other is playing at the Booth Theater through July 2nd.