The upcoming Off-Broadway Playwrights Horizons world premiere of Michael R. Jackson’s A Strange Loop has found its cast. The new musical explores the thoughts of Usher, a Black, queer writer working a job he hates while writing his original musical: a piece about a Black, queer composer working a job he hates while writing his original musical.
A Strange Loop features a book, music, and lyrics by 2017 Jonathan Larson Award and 2017 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award winner Jackson. The world premiere, presented in association with Page 73, is directed by Stephen Brackett with choreography by Raja Feather Kelly.
Performances will run May 24–July 7 at Playwrights.
Applying the high drama of musical theatre to Usher's innermost thoughts will be Antwayn Hopper (Hair;The Loophole, A Civil War Christmas) as Thought #6; James Jackson, Jr. (The Black-Ups, Radio City Christmas Spectacular) as Thought #2; L Morgan Lee (Defiant, Majestic, and Beautiful, Broken Bride; Jesus Christ Superstar) as Thought #1; John-Michael Lyles (This Ain’t No Disco, Sweeney Todd, The Flick) as Thought #3; John-Andrew Morrison (The Tooth of Crime, The Greenwich Village Follies; Marley, The Musical) as Thought #4; Larry Owens (Gigantic; Grease; Dreamgirls) as Usher; and Jason Veasey (The Lion King; The Loophole; For the Last Time) as Thought #5.
A Strange Loop marks Jackson's professional debut. The musical follows a young artist at war with a host of demons—not least of which are the punishing thoughts in his own head—in an attempt to capture and understand his own strange loop.
“I’ve shied away from using the word ‘autobiographical’ to describe A Strange Loop, because that connotes a linear form that I’m actually not working in," explains Jackson. "The description I prefer is ‘self-referential,’ because while I do draw from some personal experiences, those experiences are only props to help illustrate the specificity of what it can feel like to be a ‘self’ in general and a black queer self in particular.”
For more information visit PlaywrightsHorizons.org.