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A Strange Loop Had Me Screaming The Emperor Has NO CLOTHES

A Strange Loop Had Me Screaming The Emperor Has NO CLOTHES

How Michael R. Jackson’s A Strange Loop won the Pulitzer Prize, The Drama Desk and The New York Drama Critic’s Circle Awards for Best Musical is seriously beyond me. I did not see this show the year it won the Drama Desk. Already there are rumors that they are pushing this show to win the Tony Awards. All I have to say if it does, there goes the end of Musical Theatre in America and America trusting the Tony Awards.

Photo’s by Joan Marcus

This show is offensive, pointless and where it belongs, I do not know. All I do know, is it does not belong on Broadway.

For the positive aspects of this show, the music is a lot of fun. It steals a couple of Sondheim motif’s, but it is enjoyable. I especially like the song “Boundaries.” The cast is terrific in the multiple roles played by each of the thoughts. The lead Jaquel Spivey is a find, though it is sometimes hard to hear the lyrics and I was in the fourth row. The show is well directed by Stephen Brackett, and has fun choreography by Raja Feather Kelly. The set by Arnulfo Maldonado, costumes by Montana Levi Blanco and lighting by Jen Schriever are well done.

The show is about Usher (Spivey), a Black gay man writing a musical about a Black gay man writing a musical about a Black gay man. Within the first 5 minutes Usher states “there will be a young overweight-to-obese homosexual and/or gay and/or queer, cisgender male, able-bodied university-and-graduate-school educated, musical theater writing, Disney ushering, broke-ass middle-class politically homeless normie leftist black American descendant of slaves who thinks he’s probably a vers bottom” and the audience broke into laughter. Now I didn’t understand half of what was said.

Then Usher sings “A STRANGE LOOP WILL HAVE BLACK SH*T! AND WHITE SH*T! IT’LL GIVE YOU UPTOWN AND DOWNTOWN! WITH TRUTH-TELLING AND B*TT-F**KING! THERE WILL BE B*TT-F**KING!”

Demonized by 7 Thoughts (Antwayn Hopper, L Morgan Lee, John-Michael Lyles, James Jackson, Jr., John-Andrew Morrison and Jason Veasey), Thought 1 states “HOW MANY MINUTES ‘TIL THE END OF INTERMISSION?” and I’m thinking how much more of this do I have to hear? Apparently a lot more of gay terminology and explicit thoughts, normally saved for porn channels.

His Thoughts accuse him of being a race traitor, which he is. He has a “Inner White Girl” and first fantasizes and then hooks up with a white man who fetishizes him for sex, which we get to watch. I never thought theatre needed a X or an R rating. Maybe it does.

His parents love him. but are politically and religiously conservative. His best friend died of AIDS and his parents do not want this for their son. In the show The Lion King, Tyler Perry and Scott Rudin are all used and I surprised they haven’t sued.

The Thoughts state: And as scary as this world might seem is, all of this ugliness … all of this anger and pain pain and anger … is about you. So how about you focus on yourself?

Usher ends the show with

SOMEONE WHOSE SELF-PERCEPTION IS BASED UPON A LIE
SOMEONE WHOSE ONLY PROBLEM IS WITH THE PRONOUN “I”

MAYBE I DON’T NEED CHANGING MAYBE I SHOULD REGROUP
‘CAUSE CHANGE IS JUST AN ILLUSION

And for this Broadway theatergoers are expected to shell out hard earned cash on somebody who doesn’t love themselves and by the end can’t solve their own problems. Maybe a shrink would be a better choice than Broadway.

A Strange Loop: Lyceum Theatre, 149 W 45th St.

Broadway

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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