Thursday, November 9, 2017

REVIEW: Significant Brilliance at AFT and Theater WIT's Significant Other

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Midwest Premiere!
About Face Theatre and Theater Wit Present
By Joshua Harmon
Directed by AFT Artistic Associate Keira Fromm

November 3 – December 9, 2017 at Theater Wit

(left to right) Alex Weisman, Cassidy Slaughter-Mason, Amanda Drinkall and Tiffany Oglesby in About Face Theatre and Theater Wit’s Midwest premiere of SIGNIFICANT OTHER. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

With a brand new Jeff Award in hand, for Best Actor in Victory Garden's smash hit, Hand to God, and a Broadway role secured for spring, Alex Weisman seems like the last guy in town to convincingly play a down on his luck, angry, depressed guy who's jealous of his friends. Yet, he hits the mark in spectacular fashion in Significant Other. Alex and the entire cast more than do justice to this witty script by Joshua Harmon. We enjoyed Theater Wit's production of playwright Joshua Harmon's acclaimed comedy, Bad Jews, and caught it several times, so we are excited to see more of his work hit Theater Wit this season. 

(left to right) Amanda Drinkall, Alex Weisman and Tiffany Oglesby 
Photo by Michael Brosilow.

The energy on stage is palpable, and the rapport between all four friends and between Alex and his grandma is quite believable and a joy to see. The characters are quirky and interesting, with a bond to each other forged from long term friendships full of shared past adventures, inside jokes, traditions, and often recounted stories. This makes the growing pains of aging and changing relationships all the more wrenching. I particularly loved the parallels of a young, gay man longing for a lifelong partner and a family, striking out in the relationship department, and his grandmother's loneliness as a widow, on the other end of the romance spectrum, a rarely examined theme.

Significant Other hit hilarious high notes of friendship, adventure, and love counterweighted with universal lows of rejection, fear, loneliness, jealousy and self hatred. Even the grey areas where multiple emotions coexist and collide, are explored with humor and heartfelt bravery. Alex Weisman is a standout as Jordan Berman, as is his trio of girlfriends, and his grandmother, Ann Whitney. There's also a sweet dose of eye candy in the shape of lust interests, Benjamin Sprunger and Ninos Baba.

 (left to right) Alex Weisman and Benjamin Sprunger 

Photo by Michael Brosilow

SignificantOther-4 (left to right) Alex Weisman, Tiffany Oglesby and Ninos Baba 
Photo by Michael Brosilow

For anyone who's ever longed for love, laughed with friends, or felt conflicted/angry/lonely at others' happy events, this is a must see. We highly recommend Significant Other, now playing through December 9th at Theater WIT.

(left to right) Alex Weisman and Amanda Drinkall
Photo by Michael Brosilow

About Face Theatre and Theater Wit are pleased to present the Midwest premiere of the romantic comedy 
by Joshua Harmon, 
playwright of the hit comedy Bad Jews. 

Directed by AFT Artistic Associate Keira Fromm, SIGNIFICANT OTHER will play November 3 – December 9, 2017 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently on sale at or, by calling (773) 975-8150 or in person at the Theater Wit Box Office. 

Significant Other is the last chance for Chicago audiences to see Alex Weisman as a local, albeit playing a New Yorker, before he actually heads out to New York and dons Hogwarts Robes for his new gig on Broadway! Get your tickets ASAP, before the run is sold out. This is sure to be a hot ticket.   

The cast of About Face Theatre and Theater Wit’s Chicago premiere of SIGNIFICANT OTHER (top, l to r) AFT Artistic Associates Benjamin Sprunger and Alex Weisman with Ninos Baba (bottom, l to r) Amanda Drinkall, Tiffany Oglesby, Cassidy Slaughter-Mason and Ann Whitney.

SIGNIFICANT OTHER features AFT Artistic Associates Benjamin Sprunger and Alex Weisman with Ninos Baba, Amanda Drinkall, Tiffany Oglesby, Cassidy Slaughter-Mason and Ann Whitney.

Jordan Berman is a single gay man in New York City. Mr. Right is nowhere on his horizons. As he's nearing his 30s, his close group of girlfriends begin getting married en masse. What happens when you feel like life is leaving you behind but you're still expected to be at the forefront cheering on your friends on their perfect wedding day? Significant Other is a bittersweet comedy about friendship, single-hood and hoping you're not the one choking on car exhaust as the "Just Married" sign disappears from view. 

(left to right) Alex Weisman, Benjamin Sprunger and Amanda Drinkall 
Photo by Michael Brosilow.

In 2015, Joshua Harmon's play Bad Jews hit Theater Wit and performed to capacity crowds for eight months. A breakaway playwright of his generation, Harmon's work offered a unique and searingly funny look at a new generation of American Jews. Now, with Significant Other he turns his compassion and considerable wit to marriage.

"This feels like the perfect moment to be bringing Significant Other to the stage," comments Director Keira Fromm. "On the surface, Significant Other is a very funny play about single-hood and friendship. On a deeper level, our protagonist, Jordan, is enduring an existential crisis. On the brink of turning 30 and recognizing that being gay today no longer means you're immune to expectations of marriage, Jordan is failing at the task of finding his soulmate. He begins to feel that life is passing him by and finding his way in the world starts to feel like a gargantuan undertaking. In our increasingly alienating world, I find that quest intensely moving and relatable.” 

"I am very excited to join About Face Theatre in presenting the Midwest premiere of Joshua Harmon’s newest work,” comments Theater Wit Artistic Director Jeremy Wechsler. “I think Josh is a remarkably original writer with a gift for showing us the utterly real and utterly unexpected. His plays are always about deeply human characters with a writerly perspective we've not seen previously dramatized, and Significant Other is no exception. Bad Jews was a legitimate theatrical event of 2015 – and Significant Other promises, in its writing and casting, to be another for 2017."

(left to right) Cassidy Slaughter-Mason, Benjamin Sprunger, Alex Weisman, Ninos Baba and Tiffany Oglesby

Photo by Michael Brosilow

The production team for SIGNIFICANT OTHER includes Jeff Kmiec (scenic design), Noël Huntzinger (costume design), John Kelly (lighting design), Christopher Kriz (sound design), Pauline Oleksy (props design), Catherine Allen (production manager) and Helen Lattyak (stage manager).

Location: Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago
Dates: Previews: Friday, November 3 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, November 4 at 7:30 pm, Sunday, November 5 at 7 pm and Tuesday, November 7 at 7 pm.
Press opening: Wednesday, November at 8 at 7 pm
Regular run: Friday, November 10 – Saturday, December 9, 2017
Curtain Times: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will not be a performance on Thursday, November 9 or Thursday, November 23 (Thanksgiving); there are added performances on Wednesday, November 15 at 7:30 pm, Sunday, Saturday, November 25 at 3 pm and Sunday, November 26 at 7 pm and Saturday, December 9 at 3 pm.

Tickets: Previews: $15. Regular run: $20-$38. Discounts available for groups of 10 or more. Tickets are currently on sale at or, by calling (773) 975-8150 or in person at Theater Wit Box Office.

Artist Biographies
Joshua Harmon’s (Playwright) play Bad Jews received its world premiere at Roundabout Underground and was the first production to transfer to the Roundabout's Laura Pels Theatre (Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Award nominations, Best Play). It became the third most-produced play in the U.S. during the 2014-15 season and transferred to London’s West End after sell-out runs at Theatre Royal Bath and the St. James Theatre. His newest play, Significant Other, opened at Roundabout this summer. His work has been produced and developed by Manhattan Theatre Club, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Hangar Theatre, Ars Nova, and Actor's Express, where he was the 2010-2011 National New Play Network Playwright-in-Residence. He has received fellowships from MacDowell, Atlantic Center for the Arts, SPACE at Ryder Farm, and the Eudora Welty Foundation. Joshua is a recent graduate of Juilliard and at work on commissions for Roundabout Theatre Company and Lincoln Center Theater.

Keira Fromm (Director) is a Jeff Award nominated director, a casting director and a teacher based out of Chicago. Favorite recent directing credits include: Bright Half Life (About Face Theatre), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Hospital of New York City (Route 66 Theatre Company) The Columnist (American Blues Theater), How the World Began (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble), A Kid Like Jake (About Face Theatre), Luce (Next Theatre), Charles Ives Take Me Home (Strawdog), The How and the Why (TimeLine Theatre), Broadsword (Gift Theatre) and Fallow (Steep Theatre). Keira is a proud Artistic Associate with About Face Theatre. She received her MFA from DePaul University and her BFA from Boston University. She is a member of SDC, as well as the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. Keira is a frequent guest director at DePaul, as well as Roosevelt University. 

SIGNIFICANT OTHER was developed during a residency the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center's National Playwrights Conference in 2013. Preston Whiteway, Executive Director; Wendy C. Goldberg, Artistic Director.

About The Theatres 
About Face Theatre creates exceptional, innovative, and adventurous theatre and educational programming that advances the national dialogue on sexual and gender identity, and challenges and entertains audiences in Chicago and beyond.

Theater Wit, Chicago’s “smart art” theater, is a major hub of the Chicago neighborhood theater scene, where audiences enjoy a smorgasbord of excellent productions in three, 99-seat spaces, see a parade of talented artists and mingle with audiences from all over Chicago. 

“A thrilling addition to Chicago’s roster of theaters” (Chicago Tribune) and “a terrific place to see a show” (New City), Theater Wit is now in its seventh season at its home at 1229 N. Belmont, in the heart of the new Belmont Theatre District in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. The company’s most recent hits include 10 Out of 12 and Mr. Burns, a post-electric play by Anne Washburn, Naperville by Mat Smart, The New Sincerity by Alena Smith, Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon, The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence and Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England by Madeleine George, and Completeness and The Four of Us by Itamar Moses. 

In 2014, Theater Wit was awarded the National Theatre Award by the American Theatre Wing for strengthening the quality, diversity and dynamism of American theater. Theater Wit also brings together Chicago’s best storefront companies at its Lakeview home, including 2017-18 resident companies About Face, Kokandy Productions and Shattered Globe. 

(left to right) Amanda Drinkall, Alex Weisman, Tiffany Oglesby and Cassidy Slaughter-Mason in About Face Theatre and Theater Wit’s Midwest premiere of SIGNIFICANT OTHER. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

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