Watch A Strange Loop at Bryant Park

The cast of “A Strange Loop” performed four songs from the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning musical at the final Broadway in Bryant Park lunchtime concert of Summer 2022. Below are videos of the musical numbers, excerpts of the lyrics, and a brief explanation of the context.

For more about the musical, read my review of this “dazzling and dizzying musical about a big, gay Black guy who is struggling to write a musical about a big, gay Black guy who is struggling…”.

We Wanna Know

“A Strange Loop” focuses on a character named Usher, and his inner thoughts. Those Thoughts are portrayed by six actors who also portray other people in his life. In this song, they are collectively portraying his mother, who is expressing love and concern simultaneously with not-so-subtle criticism.

We wanna know
what’s goin’ on in New York
We wanna know
if you been chasing ya dream
‘cause after what me and yo dad went through to send yo black bootie to NYU

It appears you be jes’ running around and without any direction 

Kyle Freeman, who is one of the understudies for Usher on Broadway, portrayed the character in all four of the musical numbers at the Bryant Park concert.

Inner White Girl

His mother’s needling in “We Wanna Know” segues (both on Broadway and in Bryant Park) to Usher’s confession that

Cast members from “A Strange Loop,” the Pulitzer and Tony winning Broadway musical, sing “We Wanna Know” at the Broadway in Bryant Park lunchtime concert August 25, 2022

On days his blackness feels like another hurdle that won’t get out of his way
his inner white girl starts kicking like a baby she wants to come out and play 

She doesn’t care if she ruffles any feathers
in fact, that is her m.o.
Where he’s the king of avoiding confrontation

 There’s not a bomb she won’t throw because

White girls can do anything, can’t they? 
Black boys must always obey their mothers! 
White girls can do anything, can’t they? 
Can’t they? Can’t they? Can’t they? 


Tony nominee John-Andrew Morrison sings “Periodically” from the Broadway musical  “A Strange Loop” at the Broadway in Bryant Park lunchtime concert August 25, 2022

John-Andrew Morrison was nominated for a Tony Award for Thought 4, which includes impersonating Usher’s God-fearing, homophobic mother. Picture him in an old-fashioned dress

I just like to remind you periodically that i love you, son
if you ever should find you
need encouragement 

Then you call me, son
i am your mama
and i’ve always loved you
even when you be doing me wrong 

‘cause i love you
and i don’t want your soul to be wasted

 it hurts me so bad sometimes i can taste it 

Hell is real …
Sinners burning …
Sinners churning in rivers of fire … 

‘cause o’ filthy, unholy desire …
Hell is real!

Memory Song

Usher recalls his struggles in childhood with his sexuality and his family’s religious beliefs

After church / we’re driving home / to radio crackle jazz muzak / or motown blues / and skin is a shackle for one lone black gay boy I knew who chose to turn his back on the Lord 

One lone black gay boy i knew who chose to turn his back on the lord 

These are my memories 

Sweet sour memories 

This is my history
this is my mystery 

Cast members who performed at the Bryant Park concert:

Kyle Freeman (understudy for Usher, Thought 4, Thought 5, Thought 6)
Mars Rucker (understudy for Thought 1, Thought 2, Thought 3)
James Jackson Jr (Thought 2)
Edwin Bates (Understudy for Usher, Thought 2, Thought 3),
John-Andrew Morrison (Thought 4)
Jason Veasey (Thought 5)
Antwayn Hopper (Thought 6)

On the Broadway stage of “A Strange Loop” (L to R): L Morgan Lee (Thought 1), Jason Veasey (Thought 5), John-Michael Lyles (Thought 3), Jaquel Spivey (Usher), John-Andrew Morrison (Thought 4), James Jackson, Jr. (Thought 2), Antwayn Hopper (Thought 6)

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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