A still from the musical “A Strange Loop,” starring Larry Owens (center).

A still from the musical “A Strange Loop,” starring Larry Owens (center).

Credit:

Joan Marcus

Michael R. Jackson’s off-Broadway musical, “A Strange Loop,” just ended a successful run at Playwrights Horizons in New York, presented in association with Page 73.

The musical is kind of meta, as Jackson describes it: “‘A Strange Loop’ is a musical about a black man who works as an usher at a Broadway show, who's writing a musical called ‘A Strange Loop’ about a black man who works as an usher at a Broadway show, who's writing a musical about a black man who works as an usher at a Broadway show, and sort of cycling through his own perception of himself and his own self-hatred.” It might sound heady, but Jackson’s wit shines through, especially in the play’s hilarious and catchy musical numbers.

The play’s title is a nod to cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstadter’s work on self-reference and human consciousness, but Jackson also draws inspiration from lower brow sources. “I grew up really loving soap operas,” Jackson recalls. “That was like my main mode of storytelling from a very young age. Actually when I came to New York I wanted to be a soap opera writer ... but I never actually got to because I fell in love with playwriting.”

Maeve Higgins and Michael B. Jackson in conversation.

Maeve Higgins and Michael B. Jackson in conversation.

Credit:

Studio 360

Jackson tells Studio 360 guest host Maeve Higgins about how his newest musical “White Girl in Danger” was inspired by soap operas and Lifetime movies, and he shares his deep love for singer-songwriter Liz Phair.

The original cast recording for “A Strange Loop” will be released later this month.

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