Exiting the Tony Awards triumphantly this past June with two wins and 11 nominations, including winning Best Musical, “A Strange Loop” had everything it needed to become the next Broadway hit. However, just last week, the show announced an early closing on Jan. 15, 2023.
With book, music and lyrics by the great Michael R. Jackson, “A Strange Loop” follows a Black queer man named Usher who is writing a musical titled “A Strange Loop” about a Black queer man. In the show, Usher is surrounded by a Greek chorus of his obnoxious and self-deprecating thoughts who constantly insist that he gives up on his dreams and write a gospel play in the style of Tyler Perry.
If these writing issues weren’t enough, Usher’s family is neither supportive of his shows nor his own sexuality. “A Strange Loop” seamlessly transitions from a satirical comedy to a devastation.
This show differs from others nominated for best musical this season, such as “Six,” a British pop rock musical about Henry VII’s six wives, or “Paradise Square,” which follows African Americans and the Irish coexisting in a slum in New York City in the mid 19th century.
“[A Strange Loop] gives a voice to people who didn’t have a voice before,” said sophomore history major Bella Apgar, who attended Ramapo’s Roadrunner Central trip to the Broadway musical on Wednesday, Oct. 12.
“Five years ago a show like this wouldn’t have been allowed on Broadway,” she continued. “It’s a good stepping stone for queer [artists of color].”
It is an inspirational Broadway show for many queer artists of color because of its humor. If more shows include similar humor styles, imagine the kind of shows we will be able to produce five years from now. It truly allows so much creative freedom for the future of our playwrights. It’s even more amazing to not only see a show of this magnitude on Broadway, but a show that was recognized with these two Tony award wins and even the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2020.
One of the most notable songs in the show is “Tyler Perry Writes Real Life,” in which Usher is still having issues finding work and writing his own show. Out of nowhere, Agent Fairweather calls letting him know that he has a new project available for Usher to write a gospel.
Usher, knowing that he already didn’t want to do this, starts to decline the offer when his Greek chorus of thoughts arrives proclaiming that he is a “race traitor” for not wanting to produce this show, and what ensues is an awesome number filled with twists and turns throughout.
This is one example of the amazing theatrics and vocals this star studded cast is filled with and I’d highly recommend taking the time out of your day to listen to this cast album, because I’m sure you’ll find at least one number you love, if not bits and pieces of them all.
Although the time to see this show is dwindling, I would suggest getting tickets to see it because it was truly a great show that I would recommend experiencing before you no longer can. If for nothing else, go out and support all of those who worked so hard to get this art to Broadway!
Photo by Rylie Klain.