Closed 1h 45m
A Strange Loop
Midtown W
85

A Strange Loop NYC Reviews and Tickets

85%
(214 Reviews)
Positive
95%
Mixed
4%
Negative
1%
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.

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Member Reviews (214)

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84
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.

80
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.

Critic Reviews (24)

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 by Raja Feather Kelly, 'A Strange Loop' is a self-portrait in an endless hall of mirrors that dares to forbid closure, escape or redemption to the artistically thwarted being at its center."
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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 Strange Loop,' for all its mayhem, is basically a Passion play...Owens and Jackson take our hands and press them deep into the wound that the world has made: It stains us, but it stanches the blood."
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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 rest of the world and the rest of his work and life — it’s also rich with clever comedy and eviscerating honesty."
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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 by those who are young, gifted and black — and so much more."
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June 17th, 2019

"This show can’t decide whether to lead a revolution, sell out, or curl up in a ball hurling insults at a mirror. That’s the subversive, polymorphous genius of it...The seven-member cast is nothing short of heroic...Director Stephen Brackett brings it together with style and verve, immensely aided by Raja Feather Kelly’s seemingly bottomless bag of choreographic tricks."
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June 17th, 2019

"We get 100 uninterrupted minutes of the rawest, funniest, most uncomfortably honest musical you're likely to see all year...In Usher, Jackson has created a character that doesn't fit neatly into any tribe, which makes him that much more potent as a dramatic force...The result is a show that uses the language of musical theater to express ideas that have never been uttered in a musical."
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June 24th, 2019

"'A Strange Loop' takes a highly unpromising premise and spins it into something startlingly, brutally honest...I cannot think of any other play that has so uncompromisingly confronted the institutional homophobia found in many black churches; this alone makes 'A Strange Loop' one for the books...'A Strange Loop' is a cry from the heart, but not so raw that one wants to turn away. This is due no doubt in part to Stephen Brackett's crisp, fast-moving direction."
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June 17th, 2019

"But for a good stretch, Jackson keeps us engaged....Jackson's melodies fall easily on the ear, when they don't repeat themselves too much, and his lyrics are rather better than his music, when they don't repeat themselves too much...Jackson, in short, is lucky. Which isn't to say he lacks talent. 'A Strange Loop' shows promise, and one hopes that, having gotten this musical session on the couch out of his system, he'll next tackle something more far-reaching."
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June 17th, 2019

"Much of the show is sung, with whip-smart dialogue rushing into lyrics dense with au courant terms and references and wordplay, much of it concerning race, gender and sexual identity, some of it too raw to be reproduced here...The sequence, like many in 'A Strange Loop,' is entertaining, moving and disconcerting, leaving us a bit unsure of what a proper response should be. Laughter? Tears? Rage? I suspect Jackson would approve of all three, and add another: Engagement."
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June 20th, 2019

"After enduring its 140 straight through minutes one wishes that this therapeutic exercise had been monologue, a play rather or anything else other than a full-fledged musical. The material certainly has dramatic potential but here we’re in smarmy self-indulgent territory recalling '[title of show]' and reveling in bombastic coarseness...Like its central character, 'A Strange Loop' has a good heart but also a lot of problems."
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July 11th, 2019

"Michael R. Jackson's semi-autobiographical musical transforms oversharing into high art…features plenty of momentum, fresh melodies, and artful lyrics that explore essential elements of the human condition - angst, despair, ambition, desire, and hope."
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June 18th, 2019

“While ‘A Strange Loop' is clever and funny, it is also very raw and not for the faint of heart. Jackson pulls no punches in his language or his exploration of Usher’s experiences. He challenges the audience not to flinch in accepting Usher’s reality...Unfortunately, the music is not on the same level as the book and the lyrics. Out of the 18 musical numbers, there isn’t one that I walked out of the theater humming or even really loved while I was listening."
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June 25th, 2019

"Directed with crafty ingenuity...The thrills of that first number sent me into joyous giggles of delight and surprise. And it just kept getting deeper and smarter, wittier and wiser with each effervescent and boundary-free song. The show is like no other...There are times we don’t know whether to laugh, cry, or clap along to the sounds of this collision of hurt and humor, as the players all bring forth an authentic slap to each well crafted song."
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June 19th, 2019

“Jackson’s self-referential meta-musical loops around itself a little too much to be fully satisfying, but still offers plenty to think about and enjoy...Humor and some stellar musical numbers rescue the unrelenting introspection from being too deadly...The musical numbers...feel fresh and original...The production has a compelling energy and 'A Strange Loop' crackles with potential even as it fails to overcome some of the issues inherent in the concept. ”
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T
June 17th, 2019

"Usher’s self-identity 'crisis' is parsed by layers of rich and enduring questions that reverberate with deep authenticity and believability...Despite the importance of the discussion Michael R. Jackson initiates with 'A Strange Loop,' the play’s repetitive style and content and its dependence on what might seem unnecessary vulgarity often detract from the inner strength of the script."
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June 17th, 2019

"Fifteen years in the making, it is rich with 18 tuneful songs, witticisms, mini-parodies, complex layers of erudition, and knowing allusions. It is presented in a clever, entertaining production directed by Stephen Brackett with lively choreography by Raja Feather Kelly. The seven-member cast is extraordinary...But yes, 'A Strange Loop' is also repetitious...Still, taken moment by moment, the satisfactions in 'A Strange Loop' are plentiful."
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June 26th, 2019

“Punctuated with riffs on homophobia, AIDS, and racial disparity, the loop extends far beyond the stage...’A Strange Loop’ tackles many of the insecurities that we’ve all faced...This doesn’t diminish its specificity of the black queer experience. Instead, it reinforces the idea that individuality and commonality aren’t mutually exclusive...’A Strange Loop’ is a rare commodity. One can’t walk away from Jackson’s fearless work without one’s own loop spiraling in a new direction."
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C
June 17th, 2019

"Jackson's greatest gift is in making us care deeply about Usher. We sincerely hope that all will turn out well for this self-proclaimed 'black, queer ugly man,' who has let his own damaged self-perception, his concern with societal expectations, his tendency to over-think everything, and, above all, his unresolved relationship with his church-loving, Tyler Perry-worshipping, AIDS-fearing Southern parents block all forms of authentic personal expression, whether on the stage or in the bedroom."
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June 22nd, 2019

"A raucously profane, satirical, musical comedy, a sometimes painful, sometimes joyous, and sometimes comic cry of angst…Usher and his Thoughts sing and dance his problems in a highly theatricalized format creatively staged and vividly choreographed…The music is heavily rhythmic; the lyrics emotionally expressive, didactically inclined, and narratively thin; the language often filthy; the 'n-words' and 'fag' references endemic; and the familiar African-American allusions common."
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June 17th, 2019

"The music is lively; the lyrics are so dense that it is occasionally difficult to catch everything at first hearing. The production pulls out all the stops...Raja Feather Kelly’s choreography adds a lot to the production. Director Stephen Brackett skillfully holds everything together. This was certainly one of the most exciting and original shows I saw this year."
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June 17th, 2019

"'A Strange Loop' is genuinely breathtaking because it forces you to gasp before you break out laughing...Have I mentioned that Jackson wrote the music, lyrics, and the book for 'Loop'? Usually, that three-hat trick in the musical theater world is the mark of death. Jackson wears all hats with fabulous style."
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June 22nd, 2019

"As Usher struggles to find his voice and his musical’s form over the ensuing 100 minutes, so, too, does 'A Strange Loop,' morphing and growing as it slyly slides through genres and tropes...Compelling and special, articulating ideas with a specificity that gives non-queer, non-black audiences a window into queer black life...It is also just really funny and enjoyable, as the best musical comedies are...Amid a complex musical about self-reference and discovery, Usher asks his audience to care."
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M
June 23rd, 2019

"For much of the early part of the show, the anguish and mental grime that Usher is going through is barely noticeable through Jackson’s scintillating, propulsive score. The music...has a genuine Broadway vivacity...The give-and-take between Usher and his Thoughts is spiked with humour...Jackson has created a musical that in extraordinarily courageous fashion pulls us deep into another person’s soul...And when it’s done with exciting music as well, it’s especially rewarding."
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June 19th, 2019

“A most tender post-adolescent, coming-of-age story...Perhaps the most candid and rawest depiction of self-discovery that’s ever been a musical...Jackson’s dialogue is unapologetically, sexually unfiltered in its African American urban-speak, punctuated by rap. The book and lyrics meld seamlessly in and out of 18 musical numbers. The score is fabulous...Jackson’s high point is the soaring gospel ensemble that is, at once, both lacerating satire and redemptive inspiration."
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