In 'Significant Other,' stereotypical sidekick is the protagonist

Dobama Theatre will present the regional premiere of “Significant Other” by Joshua Harmon, directed by Colin Anderson, April 26 through May 19.

Described by The New York Times (NYT) as “a tenderly unromantic romantic comedy, as richly funny as it is ultimately heart-stirring,” the play follows Jordan Berman and his trio of close girlfriends as they navigate companionship, loneliness, and love.

Berman would love to be in love, but that’s easier said than done. So, until he meets Mr. Right, he wards off lonely nights with three best friends. But as singles’ nights turn into bachelorette parties, the protagonist discovers that the only thing harder than finding love is supporting those around him when they do.

Playwright Harmon first rose to acclaim with the 2012 off-Broadway production of his comedy “Bad Jews” at Roundabout Theatre Company. “Significant Other” was first produced in 2015 off-Broadway, before transferring to Broadway in 2017. Since then, Harmon has had three other plays produced off-Broadway, with his new play “Prayer for the French Republic” making its Broadway premiere at the beginning of this year.

“Significant Other” explores the stereotype of the “gay best friend,” but in this play, Jordan Berman is a three-dimensional protagonist.

“I will say just as an audience member whenever there’s a story, I’m almost always more interested in the supporting players rather than the lead character,” said Harmon. “But I do remember when “My Best Friend’s Wedding” came out and what a watershed moment that was, to see a gay character in a mainstream movie and how three-dimensional he was.”

In addition to queer representation, the play also explores themes of aging and seeking a life purpose. In a NYT interview, Harmon stated that his playwriting process involves exploring a theme or question without an answer. For “Significant Other," the question is: “How do you live when you know you’re not living the life that you think you ought to be living?”

With this production, Dobama continues its Full Circle program, which connects audiences with relevant organizations. For “Significant Other,” Dobama is partnering with the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland. This includes participation in the rehearsal process, provided literature at every show, and panel discussions to follow select Saturday night performances.

Dobama’s production will feature Scott Esposito, Mary-Francis R. Miller, Kat Shy, Katherine Nash, Mike Glavan*, Adam Rawlings, Catherine Albers*, Roxana Bell, and Michael J. Montanus; with scenic design by Richard Morris Jr., lighting design by Adam Ditzel, sound design by Jim Swonger, costume design by Suwatana Rockland, props design by Andy Zicari, intimacy direction by Julia Fisher, and stage management by Barbara Kozlov*. (*Denotes Actors’ Equity Association members.) 

For a complete performance schedule, ticket prices, and reservations, call the Dobama Theatre Box Office at 216-932-3396, or visit

Emily Polcyn

Emily Polcyn is a resident associate director in arts administration at Dobama Theatre.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 10:17 AM, 03.28.2024