Ends Jul 28 | 1h 45m | Midtown W

A Strange Loop

From 189 member reviews
Members say: Ambitious, Great singing, Great acting, 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 (189)


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

During previews
Thought-provoking, Great singing, Funny

See it if you want a funny but hard-hitting show about black queer culture.

Don't see it if you don't like Real Housewives or like musicals to be purely fluffy.

During previews
Ambitious, Super queer, Raunchy

See it if Emotional rollercoaster of a fat, fem, and Black gay man barreling through the unaccepting gay and theater world that’s superficial & judgy.

Don't see it if Frequent cussing, N word, gay sex / hook up culture talk turn you off. Very emotional discussions of larger body, sex, race, religion,family

Also Diversity: all queer Black cast!... Read more Read less

During previews
Relevant, Entertaining, Clever, Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if You’re into the black queer narrative. Some harsh language, the N-word, and sexual talk, but, it was all relevant, as it was all woven to-

Don't see it if Gether. One of the best musicals, I’ve seen. It’s such a pivotal piece about the black gay plight. No reason not to see, unless you’re

Also Against the narrative. Tyler Perry/ it is not! It’s an incredible piec... Read more Read less

During previews
Indulgent, Unpolished, Funny, Crude, Ambitious

See it if You want to see a no holds barred musical exploration of black queer culture.

Don't see it if You're offended by crude language or want to see a expertly precise musical because this is a little rough around the edges.

During previews
Resonant, Indulgent, Great acting, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if you're looking for characters traditionally unrepresented in musical theatre; you have an interest in identity issues

Don't see it if you're looking for a classic, feel-good musical; you're uncomfortable with brutally frank discussions of race, sexuality, and identity

Also Oh man, this show is going to live with me for a long time. I identify... Read more Read less

During previews
Edgy, Boundary breaking, Great acting, Great singing, Exciting

See it if Full-on Bway-style musical about a queer black character who's writing a musical while full of self-loathing, demeaned by religious parents

Don't see it if Show is raw, out there, sometimes so personal it's hard to watch; not for young kids. But powerful, groundbreaking stuff and the lead is A++

During previews
Self-indulgent, Clever, Moving, Funny, Audacious

See it if A wild, reflecting -mirrors exploration of identity. Oozes creativity, energy and hormones. Jackson is a real talent.

Don't see it if The identity in question is a black, gay. overweight theater nerd. There is lots of booty sex talk and some mildly graphic same-sex sex.

Also This show is a good thing, even when it's too much of a good thing. Mi... Read more Read less

During previews
White girls can do anything, black boys obey their mothers

See it if “looking at one’s self through the eyes of others”, Jackson’s Usher grapples with many things including doubt, fear, pain, sexuality...

Don't see it if ... boundaries, faith, family, facing rejection , being fat, black, gay... and his inner white girl.

Also Jackson’s voice is refreshing and relevant and wonderful for musical t... Read more Read less

During previews

See it if i appreciated that this was unlike any other musical i've ever seen

Don't see it if i saw this on first preview, so i expect the bumps to be smoothed out. it was a little too self-indulgent overall tho for my liking

During previews
Great staging, Dizzying, Funny, Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if You want to see an underrepresented voice in musical theatre share with you the complex truth of their life. Wonderful music, ensemble work.

Don't see it if You can’t face current musical theatre. You refuse to take in harsh realities. Story does not shy away from sex and difficult discoveries.

Also The plot turns in on itself intentionally. Be wary if you find that ha... Read more Read less

During previews
Funny, Quirky, Indulgent, Dizzying, Confusing

See it if you want to see great actors and singers in a self-referential, fourth wall breaking performance

Don't see it if you aren't into meta storylines, or preciousness, or up to the minute references that will not age well (ie, Truvada for Prep)

During previews
Relevant, Raunchy, Hilarious, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if you are interested in work that addresses timely, hot-button topics in a deeply personal way. Heartfelt, authentic, and raunchy, all in one.

Don't see it if you cannot follow a layered structure - the "strange loop" of writer, lead character, and antagonist of the show that character is writing.

Also there's a influx of shows relating to various aspects of LGBTQ experie... Read more Read less

During previews
Funny, Intelligent, Entertaining, Ambitious

See it if Wow....I was shocked by how good this new show is!!

Don't see it if graphic words/scenes of homosexuality offend you.

Also Man, I was just thinking how dissappointed I have been recently with s... Read more Read less

During previews
Thought-provoking, Great acting, Edgy, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if You are interested in autobiographical work of battling one’s inner demons and external negative life forces, beautifully sung,.

Don't see it if You are squeamish or easily triggered. There’s a lot of material here some may find offensive.

Also This is really extraordinary. Raw, unflinching, hilariously funny, unb... Read more Read less

During previews
Revolutionary;, Thought-provoking, Intense, Fierce, Must see

See it if You are ready to laugh, cry, snap, clap and be thoroughly entertained with amazing voices, inventive lyrics and magnificent sets

Don't see it if you are offended by truth that is not yours, racist or homophobic

Also Michael R Jackson is flagrant and uncompromisingly QUEER and I loved h... Read more Read less

During previews
Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Ambitious, Great acting, Funny

See it if you want to see supremely talented actors showcase their talents & are okay with the 1st and 2nd halves of the show being different tonally

Don't see it if you want a show that’s either 100% comedic or 100% serious / don’t want to think about race as it pertains to the musical theater industry

During previews
Raunchy, Indulgent, Great writing, Great acting

See it if you like over the top meta-music theater that is bluntly discussing intersectional themes and current "studies" theories.

Don't see it if you don't like raunchy character studies that have the world worst character arc (my flaw is I don't love myself enough).

Also The play is a self-indulgent, masterbatory, and hamfisted lecture fest... Read more Read less

During previews
Thought-provoking, Intense, Ambitious, Great acting, Great singing

See it if You enjoy innovative musical theater, explorations of identity (race, queer, family, religious, feminist) and general fierceness!

Don't see it if frank explorations of gay sexuality make you uncomfortable.

During previews
Great singing, Great staging, Edgy, Absorbing

See it if Talented cast especially the lead. Musical about a gay mans journey to self discovery in the big city. Great musical numbes.

Don't see it if You are offended by very frank talk about being queer and gay sex.

During previews
Great writing, Intelligent, Relevant, Great singing, Absorbing

See it if A powerfully and absorbing look into an African-American gay man’s life.

Don't see it if If the topic of being gay offends you.

Also We went back a second time to experience the brilliance of Michael R J... Read more Read less

During previews
Plus good songs, Great staging, Great acting, Dizzying, Absorbing

See it if you appreciate a deep dive into race and sexuality with humor and music, very well-performed and staged.

Don't see it if you are looking for traditional themes or need a traditional narrative.

During previews
Refreshing, Great acting, Intense, Edgy, Ambitious

See it if You ever doubted your identity, esp. gay or black man; it’s an autobiographic musical, with writer/composer as lead.. salute to his talent

Don't see it if Lyrics are written to confront/provoke.. “AIDS is punishment” for eg.; entertaining start, then turns more self-loathing till end;

Also It’s like seeing the artist peeling off his clothes, skin, flesh in fr... Read more Read less

During previews
Indulgent, Funny, Banal, Ambitious

See it if The writer and main actor are talented, and some parts of the story are unique and funny and inspiring. Good ideas, and good concept, but ..

Don't see it if Overly campy, and title conceit is a trite idea pretending to be intellectual. Some good moments but this needs some serious shaping.

During previews
Quirky, Funny

See it if You appreciate new, edgy work.

Don't see it if You are easily offended or need a heavily structured plot to stay involved in a show.

During previews
Brave and jaw dropping

See it if Looking for a challenging and wildly unconventional show. Don’t be put off by the cerebral sounding description. It’s emotional and funny.

Don't see it if Unprepared for sexually and racially provocative content. It’s pretty far out there.

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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Cast & Creatives (5)