A Strange Loop

Now extended to July 28th!

VENUE

Playwrights Horizons
Mainstage Theater
416 West 42 Street
New York, NY 10036
 

CAST

Antwayn Hopper — Thought #6
James Jackson, Jr. — Thought #2
L Morgan Lee — Thought #1
John-Michael Lyles — Thought #3
John-Andrew Morrison — Thought #4
Larry Owens — Usher
Jason Veasey — Thought #5
 

CREATIVE TEAM

Scenic Design: Arnulfo Maldonado
Costume Design: Montana Levi Blanco
Lighting Design: Jen Schriever
Sound Design: Alex Hawthorn
Orchestration: Charlie Rosen
Music Director: Rona Siddiqui
Production Stage Manager: Erin Gioia Albrecht
Assistant Stage Manager: John C. Moore

SYNOPSIS

Usher is a black, queer writer, working a day job he hates while writing his original musical: a piece about a black, queer writer, working a day job he hates while writing his original musical. Michael R. Jackson’s blistering, momentous new musical follows a young artist at war with a host of demons — not least of which, the punishing thoughts in his own head — in an attempt to capture and understand his own strange loop.

USHER
These are my memories / Of one lone black gay boy I knew who chose to turn his back on the Lord.


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MICHAEL R. JACKSON

Michael R. Jackson holds a BFA and MFA in playwriting and Musical Theatre Writing from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. As a songwriter, he has seen his work performed everywhere from Joe’s Pub to NAMT. He wrote book, music, and lyrics for the musical White Girl In Danger. He also wrote lyrics and co-wrote book for the musical adaptation of the 2007 horror film Teeth with composer and co-bookwriter Anna K. Jacobs. He is an alum of Page 73’s 2018 Interstate Writers Group, the Johnny Mercer Writers Colony, the Ars Nova Uncharted Writers Group, and was a Sundance Theater Institute Composer Fellow. He has received a 2017 Jonathan Larson Grant, a 2017 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award, a 2017 ASCAP Foundation Harold Adamson Award, a 2016/2017 Dramatist Guild fellowship, and was the 2017 Williamstown Theatre Festival Playwright-In-Residence, and has commissions from Grove Entertainment & Barbara Whitman Productions and LCT3.

2019 Helen Merrill Playwriting Award winner
2019 Whiting Award winner  
2017 Jonathan Larson Award winner 

2017 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award winner

“A full-on laparoscopy of the heart, soul, and loins—A Strange Loop is a gutsy, jubilantly anguished musical with infectious melodies by the very deft Michael R. Jackson.”
Ben Brantley, The New York Times

“Exhilarating and wickedly funny. A triumph!”
Sara Holdren, New York Magazine

★★★★★ Critic’s Pick!
Helen Shaw, Time Out New York

“A terrific ensemble with razor-sharp direction by Stephen Brackett and kinetic choreography by Raja Feather Kelly.”
Frank Rizzo, Variety

A Strange Loop is ecstatic. The self is a fearful thing. Michael R. Jackson’s project – to isolate and put it onstage – is impossible, and its impossibility is its power.”
Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker


In Dialogue with Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

BrooklynRail.org

Sneak Peak at First Rehearsal Photos

Playbill.com

Video: Hilton Als in Conversation with Michael R. Jackson

The New Yorker‘s Hilton Als interviews composer Michael R. Jackson, who previews songs from A Strange Loop. watch →

Playwright’s Perspective: Michael R. Jackson

W.E.B. DuBois coined the term “double consciousness” to describe the uniquely African-American experience of “always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.” But what is a “self” anyway?
continue reading →

Writer Michael R. Jackson and choreographer Raja Feather Kelly discuss this bold new musical’s development and the movement inspired by the show’s principal character and sextet of black, queer performers who embody and embolden Usher’s frantic, incessant “Thoughts.”
continue reading →


This production is in partnership with Playwrights Horizons.

THIS PRODUCTION IS SUPPORTED, IN PART BY PUBLIC FUNDS FROM THE NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE CITY COUNCIL.

A STRANGE LOOP IS MADE POSSIBLE BY NEW YORK STATE COUNCIL ON THE ARTS WITH THE SUPPORT OF GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO AND THE NEW YORK STATE LEGISLATURE.

Photo of Michael R. Jackson by Zack DeZon.