Jun 10, 2022 - News

Detroiter's Broadway musical up for 11 Tony Awards

Michael R. Jackson. Photo: Bruce Glikas/Getty Images

Michael R. Jackson's Broadway musical about a young Black man named after a pop star is up for 11 Tony Awards.

Why it matters: Jackson credits his Detroit roots and mentors with developing his talents and keeping him grounded.

  • "I come from a community of real people," Jackson, a 1999 Cass Tech High School graduate, told the Detroit News. "Living in New York, you can sometimes feel like you're not around real people."

Driving the news: Jackson's musical, "A Strange Loop," is up for Best Musical and 10 other Tonys, which airs 8pm on Sunday on CBS.

  • The musical also won a 2020 Pulitzer Prize.

Details: The semi-autobiographical tale of self-discovery focuses on Usher, a young, Black gay man writing a musical while working as a Broadway usher.

  • Jackson also worked as an usher while writing the musical, though his parents didn't name him after the King of Pop — they picked Michael because it sounded traditional, he told the News.

What they're saying: "This musical…forgoes the commercial niceties and digestible narratives of many Broadway shows, delivering a story that’s searing and softhearted, uproarious and disquieting," the New York Times wrote in its April review.


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