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A Strange Loop transfers from Broadway to London’s Barbican Theatre for a one-time-only 12-week limited season from 17 June, with a producing team including the National Theatre, Jennifer Hudson and Alan Cumming, among others.

Michael R. Jackson’s blisteringly funny musical exposes the heart and soul of Usher, who is a young, gay, Black writer who hates his day job. So he writes a musical about a young, gay, Black writer who’s writing a musical about a young, gay, Black writer. Hence a strange loop. 

Kyle Ramar Freeman will make his West End debut in the role of Usher – which he played on Broadway – who grapples with desires, identity and instincts he both loves and loathes. This is all brought to life on stage by a hilarious, straight-talking ensemble of ‘Thoughts’.  

The cast of A Strange Loop in rehearsals.
The cast of A Strange Loop in rehearsals. Photo credit Marc Brenner

Thought 1 Sharlene Hector (Lead vocalist for the British band Basement Jaxx). 

Thought 2 Nathan Armarkwei-Laryea (Women Beware The Devil, Spring Awakening, Hamlet).

Thought 3 Yeukayi Ushe (The Lion King, Kinky Boots, The Book of Mormon). 

Thought 4 Tendai Humphrey Sitima (The Play That Goes Wrong).

Thought 5 Danny Bailey (Jesus Christ Superstar, Girl From the North Country).

Thought 6 Eddie Elliott (Blues for an Alabama Sky, The Lion King and Motown The Musical)

A Strange Loop won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

A Strange Loop won Jackson the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was also nominated for 11 Tony Awards, winning every award in New York for Best Musical. This is only the 10th musical to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The previous winner was Hamilton. The committee cited A Strange Loop as being a “metafictional musical that tracks the creative process of an artist transforming issues of identity, race, and sexuality that once pushed him to the margins of the cultural mainstream into a meditation on universal human fears and insecurities”.

Kyle Ramar Freeman (Usher) and Stephen Brack from Strange Loop
Kyle Ramar Freeman (Usher) and Stephen Brackett (director) in rehearsals for A Strange Loop. Photo credit Marc Brenner

New York critics praised A Strange Loop as a sensational production.

The New York Times called the show a “dazzling ride” and “no measure of praise could be too much”. The Wall Street Journal described it as “hilarious, intimate and personal”, adding, “A Strange Loop is extraordinary in just about every way. It represents theatre at its most daring and unexpected”. Variety summed it up, hailing the show as “the most furiously entertaining show on Broadway”.

Playwright, composer, and lyricist Michael R. Jackson is a rising star in contemporary writing. He is recognised as one of American theatre’s most innovative voices. Jackson’s writing is already drawing comparisons with other literary greats as an inspiring and transformative writer. 

Stephen Brackett director in rehearsals for A Strange Loop. Photo Credit Mark Brenner.

Jackson was born and raised in Detroit and moved to New York to attend NYU, where he began a career as a writer and performer. His next musical, White Girl in Danger, is a co-production between the Vineyard and Second Stage and recently opened at New York’s Tony Kiser Theater.

Tickets from £20: https://www.barbican.org.uk/whats-on/2023/event/a-strange-loop

A Strange Loop from 17 June to 9 September at the Barbican Theatre, Barbican, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS, United Kingdom.

Performances: Monday – Saturday at 8pm, matinees on Thursday and Saturday at 2.30pm

A Strange Loopgay play at Barbican Theatre

Age guidance: 16+ (Contains explicit language, references to racism, sexual assault, homophobia and scenes of an adult nature). For access performances: please visit Strangeloopmusical.com. Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes with no interval

Website: Strangeloopmusical.com

Twitter: @StrangeLoopLDN Instagram: @StrangeLoopLDN Facebook: /StrangeLoopLDN

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