In a world where everyone’s a critic, theatre fans know that every show has its audience. Take a look at our handy list of reasons why A Strange Loop might be just the right fit for you.
There are many reasons to love Michael R. Jackson’s A Strange Loop, now open on Broadway. The musical tells the meta-story of Usher, a Black gay man writing a musical about a Black gay man writing a musical about a Black gay man writing a musical about…you get it, it’s an endless “strange loop.” The cast is made up of Jaquel Spivey as Usher and six ensemble members who play his thoughts. In their honor, here are six more thoughts–all reasons to see A Strange Loop.
1. A Strange Loop is unlike any other musical you’ve seen.
A Strange Loop is experimental, meta, cerebral, genre-busting, and goes against many of the conventions of musical theatre that we know. There aren’t characters in the strict sense. The plot is more of a spiral or, to borrow from the title, a loop than a linear progression from beginning to middle to end.
2. Broadway doesn’t usually get musicals that explore these themes.
This musical explores a young, gay, Black man’s journey with self-loathing, self-love, self-doubts, acceptance, body image, family issues, spirituality, sexuality, and career stress. It is an intersectional, complex, and deeply specific story. A Strange Loop does important work to diversify what kinds of stories belong on “The Great White Way.”
3. Michael R. Jackson does it all: book, music, and lyrics.
There are not many musical writers who do book, music, and lyrics all by themselves. Even many greats of the field, like Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe, and Kander and Ebb, worked in teams. Jackson draws from his own life and crafts all the parts of his story, an impressive feat.
4. It’s a Pulitzer Prize-winning musical.
Not many musicals have been given the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. A Strange Loop was awarded the prize in 2020, back when it was Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons, making it one of the only Pulitzer Prize musicals to win before it got to Broadway. The show has had a meteoric rise since then, and by seeing it you can be part of its history.
5. Several of the cast members are making their Broadway debuts, including the young star, Jaquel Spivey.
Getting to watch performers make their Broadway debut is always
exciting, and here James Jackson Jr. (Thought 2), John-Andrew Morrison
(Thought 4), John-Michael Lyles (Thought 3), L Morgan Lee (Thought 1),
and the show’s star, Jaquel Spivey (Usher), are all getting their chance
to be on Broadway for the first time.
6. L Morgan Lee is Broadway’s second trans woman to originate a principal role in a musical on Broadway.
Speaking of actors and debuts, L Morgan Lee is not only debuting but
is also making history, becoming only the second trans woman to
originate a principal role in a musical on Broadway, following Peppermint in Head Over Heels. Lee’s
presence in this show, as a Black trans woman, is momentous, providing
some much-needed trans representation and breaking down barriers.