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A Strange Loop

From 214 member  reviews
Members say: Ambitious, Great acting, Great singing, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

About the show

Playwrights Horizons and Page 73's new musical follows a young artist at war with a host of demons — not least of which, his own punishing thoughts — in an attempt to capture and understand his own strange loop. More…

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.

Member Reviews (214)


Ambitious, Great acting, Great singing, Thought-provoking, Absorbing
Avg Score

Raunchy, Thought-provoking, Great singing, Great acting

See it if One gay man's experience told very powerfully and dramatically. Fantastic cast! Great music, direction & choreography​.

Don't see it if Excessive profanity and explicit sexual language is not your cup of tea. It wasn't clear if there was a catharsis at the end.

Relevant, Funny, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if Really great music. The story and performances are very realistic.

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with occasional sexual references.

Stunning, Wrenching, Edgy, Raunchy, Great singing

See it if Queer chubby black 25 year old w/homophobic parents seeks his identity by writing this musical. Blistering honesty. Great music & staging.

Don't see it if You don’t want to see another show about a confused, angry 25 year old finding & accepting themself. Elaborate, humiliating gay sex scene.

Meta, Repetitious, Ambitious, Earnest, Thought-provoking

See it if u want to see a thoughtful, thought-provoking (& honest, personal) coming-of-age story that starts strong but eventually goes off-the-rails.

Don't see it if you're uncomfortable with frank (gay) sexual language & simulation, profanity & raw emotion; you seek a safe, conventional musical.

Also Michael R. Jackson's tale of Usher's battle with his demons is a bumpy... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Resonant, Intelligent, Edgy, Absorbing

See it if Super talent, Great staging The "usher" role is a gem. Supporting cast magic.

Don't see it if Risque. If done by others it would be called racist, Not for the faint of heart

Remarkable, Great staging, Great writing, Clever, Ambitious

See it if you like innovative, funny, serious, powerful musicals about character trying to belong within gay culture & African-American religiosity,

Don't see it if uncomfortable with graphic descriptions of gay life or criticism of conservative Christianity, actors playing multiple overlapping roles

Also This show is wild and wonderful, hilarious and agonizing at the same t... Read more Read less

Meta, Indulgent, Edgy, Profound, Intelligent

See it if you enjoy shows that explore themes of identity, self-loathing, homosexuality, or struggling to make your dreams come true.

Don't see it if you’re not into meta shows. Due to the deeply personal nature of this play, the story-telling devices employed can feel lazy.

Edgy, Resonant, Relevant, Great writing, Funny

See it if You love contemporary musicals about relevant issues (specifically, being a gay, black man) that are entertaining & have hummable scores.

Don't see it if You’re uninterested in navel-gazing stories, especially those about coming to terms with who you are and who you want to be.

Disconcerting, Honest, Relevant, Absorbing, Passionate

See it if self portrait of a man passionately pouring his heart out about his life as black/ gay/overweight/sinner; heartbreaking & fearless.

Don't see it if not interested in the above, explicit sexual scenes, self loathing; 2 good songs, the rest are repetitive; could use a 10 minute edit.

Also Great ensemble and Larry Owens convincingly owns the role of Usher. ... Read more Read less

Resonant, Relevant, Great singing, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if You want a very emotional yet entertaining experience. Oozing with talent.

Don't see it if You’re priggish and have problems with gay life merged with black socio-political issues.

Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great acting, Original, Bold

See it if A terrific cast performs a very personal musical. Owens was so raw that I thought he wrote the show himself. Moving.

Don't see it if There was quite a bit of discussion and depiction of gay sex. If you're squeamish about such things, perhaps this isn't for you.

Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Great singing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if gay black man trying to come to terms with his own identity; his self-hatred coming from prejudices around him; funny;touching; uncomfortabe

Don't see it if don't like uncomfortable shows - explicit discussions of gay sex. (also an uncomfortable church scene where clapping along to music*

Also is encouraged but clapping to the message being sung is so wrong.... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Relevant, Great staging, Great singing, Edgy

See it if a perspective not often represented in a musical with great music and a fantastic lead performance. funny but then thoughtful.

Don't see it if explicit lyrics and subject matter may not be for all. second half could be trimmed a bit as it felt repetitive.

Indulgent, Funny, Cliched, Clever, Ambitious

See it if you are FAMISHED for any kind of "black" theater

Don't see it if you were expecting high brow black theater, because this is very "Tyler Perry story-telling" style despite what it preaches! WORD!!!

Also I'm all about EXPANDING black theater beyond the "Chitlin circut" styl... Read more Read less

Edgy, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Raunchy, Relevant

See it if you want to see a unique, well-written and well-constructed show. Brilliant, emotional performances all around.

Don't see it if you do not like shows that deal with LGBTQ issues or are uncomfortable with explicit language and situations

Larry owens tour de force, Great acting, Complex and layered, Brave & honest, Absorbing

See it if You thrive on creative, bold, energetic, textured, theatre. Want to see a set of great performances -- especially by Owens, who plays Usher.

Don't see it if Are offended my strong language, sexuality,criticism of Christianity.

Indulgent, Confusing, Ambitious, Quirky, Raunchy

See it if A rollicking, searing, original, raucous, wonderful, surprising, introspective, self-aware musical.

Don't see it if you're queasy about frank discussions of sex, dislike strong language, or prefer a traditional/linear/cliched musical plot.

Also Although the circular, self-referential conceit occasionally wears thi... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Must see, Resonant, Relevant, Profound

See it if Hits all the right notes, Fabulous in story and execution. Raw and real. Great cast. This is (musical) theater. Nothing gratuitous.

Don't see it if Easily offended or insecure.

Raunchy, Quirky, Thought-provoking, Intense, Absorbing

See it if You want to see a story that doesn't neatly fit into a particular box but is still effective.

Don't see it if You dislike non-linear theatre or pieces that look inward towards the author for inspiration.

Also "The key to life when it gets tough is to keep moving. Just keep movin... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Disappointing, Overrated, Great singing, Great acting

See it if You want to see a modern musical that features gay and black themes. Larry Owens delivers a superb performance.

Don't see it if You are looking for a typical musical. The music gets worse as the show goes on and gets confusing towards the end.

Thought-provoking, Quirky, Great acting, Clever, Ambitious

See it if A wildly entertaining and trenchant new musical that probes the inner and outer life of the protagonist via great songs and talented cast.

Don't see it if Frank explorations of sexuality offend you.

Thought-provoking, Edgy, Great singing, Clever, Super-talented cast

See it if if you like musicals and appreciate talented performers; if you want to see a dynamite performance by the energetic lead actor

Don't see it if if you'll be offended by references to anal sex; if you don't enjoy shows about gay black men

Intense, Resonant, Great writing, Great staging

See it if If you want to be the first to see something by one of the greats before they got all famous. Ambitious and brilliant

Don't see it if Brutal honesty about sexuality and body issues are a complete turnoff

Great writing, Enlightening, Clever

See it if you are interested in a new frontier in musical theatre form, queer representation, black representation, or autobiographical work.

Don't see it if you’re a prude or your empathy is off.

Intelligent, Refreshing, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Ambitious

See it if you want a musical that feels wholly original from a new voice and are willing to forgive some flaws for it

Don't see it if you prefer shows with a traditional book and narrative structure. If you'll laugh inappropriately at things that aren't meant to be funny.

June 17th, 2019
"Whether you are delighted, appalled or annoyed by the resulting production — and the odds are you will experience all of these responses — you can’t deny that it is uncompromisingly, exactly what it claims to be. Directed with admirable clarity by Brackett, with fabulously inventive choreography...
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June 17th, 2019
"The first 20 minutes are an exhilarating cocktail of hilarious lyrical complexity and Owens’s Idina Menzel belt; even after the rage begins to mount, Jackson—abetted by a bravura ensemble and Brackett’s super direction—keeps extending what we can take with explosively funny asides. But 'A Strang...
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June 17th, 2019
"Jackson’s triumph with 'A Strange Loop' is that by diving into the excruciatingly personal, he finds the broadly human...If 'A Strange Loop' sometimes feels like an early play — like a writer trying to muscle through the 20s-dominating obsession with self so that he can break out and into the re...
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June 17th, 2019
"Sometimes exhilarating, sometimes exasperating...The loops and hoops that Usher has to go through in the show’s final quarter become entangled with careening themes and repetition...Still, both Usher’s journey and Jackson’s show offer bracing insights into the endless strata of conflicts faced b...
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