Gideon Glick is about to close the curtain on a relationship.
On Sunday, “Significant Other” will end at the Booth Theatre on Broadway after a relatively short run, following disappointing ticket sales since opening on March 2. What hasn’t been disappointing, however, is the small cast that has been carrying the emotional Millennial-centric show. Leading the charge is 28-year-old actor and Philadelphia native Gideon Glick, who made his debut in the original Broadway production of “Spring Awakening” and proves, through his most recent role, that he has the presence to take command of a stage.
The short Broadway run follows its Off-Broadway debut with Roundabout Theatre Company in 2015, for which Glick was cast after doing a reading for the play. “I knew it was my audition, but it was also the audition for the play, and the lineup of that season,” he recalls. “It was this kind of magical theater story where I did the reading, and then I went in the subway — and I went to my best friend’s apartment, funnily enough considering what the play’s about. I got out of the subway and I got a text from the director saying, ‘Hey we’re going to do the season, and we want it to be with you.”
On his last Monday off before the close of the show on April 23, Glick is suited up at a cafe near his apartment north of Central Park, eating a Ceasar salad in between delivering a commencement speech for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and attending the Broadway opening for “Groundhog Day.”
“I think right now the market is saturated because a lot of plays and musicals start to come in, because they want to be part of the Tony season,” he explains. “So what happens is there’s an opening every week, and so there’s so much new stuff coming, it’s hard to keep people engaged.” Add all of that to the mix of the challenges facing an original play. “It’s hard for plays to sell, it just is,” Glick continues, reflecting on the factors behind the show’s early close. “We don’t have any stars — we don’t have any bankable names,” he adds. “Sunset Boulevard” starring Glenn Close is a few doors down, Bette Midler in “Hello, Dolly!” is around the corner and Jake Gyllenhaal is only a block away in “Sunday in the Park With George.”
“The people that really respond to ‘Significant Other’ are Millennials, or people in their 20s and 30s. And that typically is not an audience that will pay full price to a show. I think we never figured out how to get them in,” says Glick. But their positioning also has its perks. “Because it’s on Broadway, it’s reaching more of a musical audience that we didn’t have before. A lot of people, it’s their first play. Which I’m surprised by — we’re kind of like this gateway drug, gateway play, so that people can start understanding how wonderful plays are.”
Those who did make their way into the intimate Booth Theatre found themselves watching Glick’s character Jordan struggle with familiar issues around the changing dynamic of friendships and relationships into adulthood. In the play, Jordan, a young single gay man, struggles to find a romantic partner of his own as his three closest friends, all straight women, fall in love, get married, and have less time to hang out and lend him a captive ear.
“I’m finding all these people who go ‘Oh, your character’s me.’ And everyone’s saying that. I mean, that’s really remarkable, [writer] Josh Harmon has really hit on something,” Glick continues. Jordan consults his friends on his every text and e-mail to a coworker whom he develops a crush on; sound familiar? “I tend to overthink, and over analyze. I send e-mails and texts to many friends to get their edits, and maybe their perceptions of what I should be saying, and what I shouldn’t be saying, and maybe what they think the other person might be saying and what I’m not reading,” he says. “I had to send a work e-mail that was important last week, and I still do it — I still do it with my boyfriend, I do it with my best friend.”
While Glick hasn’t yet booked his next role, he will appear in the upcoming “Ocean’s 8,” and is gearing up to shoot an extra scene for the film post-wrap. He got his start in musical theater — his talents for the genre are on display through the musical flourishes of “Significant Other” — and that seems like a natural place for him to land, although he expresses interest in pursuing both television and film.
While “Significant Other” is closing, its success represents a notable continued shift in the type of leading roles being represented onstage.
“What’s exciting about ‘Significant Other’ is it’s a play with a gay character as the central lead, played by a gay man, which I think is also a lovely thing, and it’s a play not about gay issues,” Glick says, finishing up his salad. “It’s more just about universal themes. Plays don’t have to be about gay issues or gay marriage, or AIDS — not that it’s a bad thing to do plays like that, some of the greatest pieces of theater are about that,” he adds. “But it’s a character whose issues are everyday issues.”
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