Playwright, composer and lyricist Michael R. Jackson is one of a kind, and his electrifying musical, A Strange Loop, aligns, having taken a very strange, yet thrilling, road to Broadway. Grown from an idea conceived almost 20 years ago, the show follows, Usher, a big, Black, queer theater artist in his mid-20s living in New York City and following his dream of writing a Broadway musical. In the midst of this pursuit, his thoughts — realized by actual human beings — literally get in his way, prompting Usher to face them head-on and break the cycle of his self-doubt, family tensions and low self-esteem.
A Strange Loop had its first professional production off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizon in 2019, followed by an out-of-town engagement at Woolly Mammoth in Washington, DC, which concluded in January of this year. Along the way, the show also won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Now on Broadway, it recently earned 11 Tony Award nominations, the most out of all the Broadway productions that opened this season.
Jackson spoke candidly to Blavity, sharing his opinion on Black musical theater writers making it to Broadway, the quality of one’s work as an artist, theater criticism and more.