Tony Awards spotlight: ‘Significant Other’ makes a star out of Gideon Glick

Gideon Glick made his Broadway debut in the original company of “Spring Awakening.” Though he would go on to roles in “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” and “Into the Wood” in Central Park (opposite Amy Adams), no star turn came for him the way it did his “Spring Awakening” co-stars Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele. That changes this season with his central performance in Joshua Harmon’sSignificant Other.”

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As Jordan, Glick tackles the roles of a neurotic gay man in his late 20s in New York. Jordan has a wonderful set of best gal pals, but when they find love and marriage one by one, Jordan questions his place in their lives. An obsessive crush on a maybe-gay-maybe-straight co-worker spirals out of control in his desperate pursuit of a relationship, and his friendships grow strained.

The role offers Glick plenty of opportunities to showcase his range as an actor. The play nimbly shifts in tone from comedy to drama, allowing for scene chewing as well as tender quiet moments. Jordan, with his laser like focus on finding a boyfriend, is a jumbled mess of tics and neuroses. He’s adorable one moment, insufferable the next, and the audience is always able to root for him through it all.

The big kicker is an act two showdown with Lindsay Mendez, as Jordan’s best friend Laura. Jordan’s usual comic anxiety gives way to an explosive diatribe where long buried wounds are unearthed. If the Tony Awards used performance clips like the Oscars often do, this knock-down, drag-out battle of words would definitely be the climactic scene chosen. The emotional fireworks should absolutely clinch a Lead Actor in a Play nomination for Glick.

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Here’s what several top New York critics had to say about the young actor:

Robert Kahn (NBC NewYork): “Glick (‘Spring Awakening’) has fully realized his character, who is unsure, in a familiar way, if he’ll ever find an appropriate mate. His comic chops are put to fine use in a drawn-out scene where, late one lonely night, Jordan tries to rationalize sending a far-too-long e-mail to his office crush. One word for this performance? Relatable.”

Adam Feldman (TimeOut NY): “Glick delivers a star-making, gut-wrenching performance of deep sweetness and quicksilver mood shifts; a scene in which he considers sending an intense love email to a handsome coworker is a masterpiece of comic anxiety, and his climactic rant of pent-up resentment earns vigorous applause.”

Eylsa Gardner (Entertainment Weekly): “Glick, whose delivery can be deceptively understated, stuns us with the depth of Jordan’s desperation, while also fully mining Harmon’s wry humor, which is often at its best when it makes us most uncomfortable.”

Some awards watchers may ding Glick’s awards chances because “Significant Other” is an unfortunate victim of a crowded Spring season on Broadway, and will close April 23rd. However, Glick has been with the production since its long and healthy Off-Broadway run at the Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theater. So even if voters don’t catch the Broadway transfer before it ends, they likely saw his performance Off-Broadway.

We see the Tonys bestow nominations for breakthrough “star making” performances all the time. Carmen Cusack (“Bright Star”), Nina Arianda (“Born Yesterday”), and Tom Sturridge (“Orphans”) are all recent examples of a rising star overcoming better known actors for Tony nominations. The buzz if often too great to ignore. So, if a well reviewed actor can be commanding and vulnerable all at once, as Gideon Glick can, it usually signals a nomination on the way.

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Be sure to make your Tony Awards predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Broadway insiders can see how their shows and performers are faring in our Tony odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on May 2. And join in the fierce debate over the 2017 Tony Awards taking place right now in our theater forums.

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