The “gay best friend” is finally stealing the spotlight on Broadway: Joshua Harmon’s Significant Other, a hit Off-Broadway in 2015, has come to the Great White Way with Gideon Glick playing Jordan, a young gay New Yorker who mourns his single status as his three closest gal pals get married.
More than a decade after his Broadway debut as a queer teen in Spring Awakening, the out actor explains why he’s proud to keep playing significant gay parts.
It’s such a starry Broadway season. Bette Midler in Hello Dolly! Glenn Close in Sunset Boulevard. Gideon Glick in Significant Other.
[Laughs] I know, right? It’s such an honor to be in that line of leading ladies.
Significant Other was included in a New York Times think piece last year about how contemporary LGBT-themed theater has gone mainstream. Does it feel like you’re part of a post-gay theatrical movement?
Well, it is interesting. When I first read the play, I wondered if it was only going to appeal to gay men, because it felt so close to my own experiences. But when we did the play Off-Broadway, we were excited to find that it was very relatable for everybody.
Why is your character, Jordan, so unlucky in love?
I think Jordan gets in his own way. He perseverates and overthinks. As a result, he’s a self-saboteur.
Like Jordan, you’re a gay, Jewish New Yorker in his late 20s. Any other similarities?
I can be a bit vulnerable. And, inherent with being a Jew, we’re both pretty neurotic. I also tend to overthink things. The way he overanalyzes an email, a text message, or a Facebook friend request, I can do exactly the same thing.
Unlike Jordan, you do have a boyfriend, though.
I never thought I’d be relationship-oriented, but I immediately got into a relationship when I moved to New York. When that ended, I immediately got into another relationship. Then it took me another five or six years to “find my bashert,” to quote the play—five or six years of unsuccessful dating and incorrect fits, with me coming to the conclusion that maybe I was never going to find anyone again.
Can you imagine if you had to do this play and then come home every night to an empty, loveless apartment?
Well, my boyfriend lives in Philadelphia, so I do predominantly come home alone. But we FaceTime every day. It’s funny, because when I first read the play, I hadn’t met him yet. I met him about two or three months before rehearsals began, and I got very, very anxious that I would lose my connection to the piece. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.
Over the course of the play, Jordan attends the weddings of his three best girlfriends. Do you attend a lot of girlfriends’ weddings?
That’s actually just started in the last year-and-a-half. When I did the play Off-Broadway, I hadn’t been to a wedding as an adult, which is also Jordan’s experience. Since then, I’ve been to about eight weddings. I feel a little weathered.
Do you feel pressure to get married yourself?
Honestly, with the current administration, I feel a different sort of pressure now. There’s the fear that my rights will be taken away, and there’s a desire to get married as an act of rebellion.
When did you make the decision to be out in your professional life?
It came up when I moved to New York to do Spring Awakening, but it wasn’t a question I had to do any soul-searching about. I’d been out since the seventh grade, so I was more than happy to talk about my sexuality. There’s never been any division between my personal identity and how I’ve presented myself professionally.
You’ve taken on many other gay roles after Spring Awakening, including those in Off-Broadway plays like Wild Animals You Should Know, The Few, and The Harvest. Do you worry about being pigeonholed?
The fact that I get to play all these different, rich, textured gay men is a privilege and an honor. If I can make a career out of that, I’d be more than happy. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to play heterosexuals. In film and television, I’ve predominately played straight men.
Can you reveal the sexuality of Kyle, your character in the upcoming all-female Ocean’s Eleven spin-off, Ocean’s Eight?
There’s not much information on my character’s sexuality. But I believe that he’s a rich, heterosexual douchebag.
Now in previews, Significant Other officially opens March 2 at the Booth Theatre in New York.