‘A Strange Loop,’ ‘Funny Girl’ lead Center Theatre Group’s 2023-24 season

Six actors onstage.
L Morgan Lee, Jason Veasey, John-Michael Lyles, Jaquel Spivey, John-Andrew Morrison, James Jackson, Jr. and Antwayn Hopper in “A Strange Loop” on Broadway.
(Mark J. Franklin)

“A Strange Loop,” the critically acclaimed musical about a Black gay man writing a musical about a Black gay man writing a musical about a Black gay man, is coming to Los Angeles.

Michael R. Jackson’s Pulitzer- and Tony-winning work will play the Ahmanson Theatre next summer (June 5-30, 2024) as part of Center Theatre Group’s 2023-24 season. A co-production with San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater, it centers on a young artist named Usher, and the chorus of comedic yet punishing voices inside his head who interrupt his attempts to create an original stage show.

Times critic Charles McNulty in his review last year wrote: “For much of this triumphant, emotionally lacerating show, … I sat with my mouth agape, astonished and grateful that something so brutally honest and rigorously constructed had finally broken through to a Broadway stage. What sets the show apart is the raw honesty of Jackson’s interrogation into his own marginalization. ‘A Strange Loop’ derives its power from its fearless specificity.”


The titan of L.A. theater, Center Theatre Group, is shutting down the Mark Taper Forum for at least a year to save money. Will other theaters follow?

June 17, 2023

“A Strange Loop” is one of Center Theatre Group’s offerings for the 2023-24 Ahmanson season, which the company announced Monday morning. The lineup also includes “Funny Girl,” “A Christmas Story, The Musical” and more.

Center Theatre Group unveils its 2023-24 season amid the pause in programming at the Mark Taper Forum, shortening the Taper‘s historic season featuring all-female/gender nonbinary writers. Announced last month, the decision canceled the world premiere of Larissa FastHorse’s “Fake It Until You Make It” and the L.A. run of Lauren Yee’s “Cambodian Rock Band.”

As part of the season announcement, CTG Managing Director and CEO Meghan Pressman stated, “At the Mark Taper Forum, we will be offering special programming throughout the year ahead while we simultaneously work to bring back a full subscription season.

“Since our announcement about the temporary pause of productions at the Taper, it has been humbling to receive an outpouring of support from our community and we remain immensely proud of our CTG staff who have continued to work hard to bring to Los Angeles some of the best shows in the country — and this season is no exception.”

The announcement also notes that incoming artistic director Snehal Desai will unveil his first official season in the spring. “During our 2023–2024 Season, audiences are going to have the opportunity to enjoy four classic works and three adventurous new musicals — and all of this is just the beginning,” said Desai in a statement.

My new play, “Fake It Until You Make It,” commissioned by Center Theatre Group, was about to go into production at their Mark Taper Forum when the organization indefinitely “paused” Taper programming. Real damage has been done to L.A. communities.

June 21, 2023

For the 2023-24 season, the Ahmanson season is kicking off with the previously announced return of “Hadestown” (Oct. 3-15), which toured through L.A. last spring. The eight-time Tony-winning musical creatively reimagines the Greek tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice with an industrial setting, poetic lyrics and howling jazz-blues music. In this version, the sensible Eurydice has fallen in love with the idealistic Orpheus but longs for the financial stability guaranteed in the titular underworld — a factory town overseen by Hades and resented by his wife, Persephone. “Hadestown” features a book, music and lyrics by Anaïs Mitchell, making her only the fourth woman in Broadway history to be the solo author of a musical.


“A Christmas Story, The Musical” (Dec. 5-31) lands in time for the holidays. Based on the 1983 movie and the writings of radio humorist Jean Shepherd, the adaptation follows 12-year-old Ralphie Parker as he aims to secure the gift of his dreams (an official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle, of course). The production features original songs by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (“Dear Evan Hansen,” “The Greatest Showman”) and signature visuals from the beloved film, like pink bunny pajamas, a freezing flagpole and that infamous leg lamp.

Theater critic Charles McNulty interviews Snehal Desai, producing artistic director of East West Players, who has been named artistic director of Center Theatre Group.

April 14, 2023

The Ahmanson will begin the new year with Matthew Bourne’s “Romeo and Juliet” (Jan. 28-Feb. 25, 2024). This dance-driven retelling of the Shakespeare classic is set in “The Verona Institute” of the not-too-distant future. The run continues Center Theatre Group’s presentation of Bourne’s work, as CTG previously presented numerous engagements of Bourne’s “Swan Lake,” as well as “Cinderella,” “The Car Man,” “Edward Scissorhands” and “The Red Shoes.”

The venue will then house the touring Broadway revival of “Funny Girl” (April 2-28, 2024), based on the life of legendary Jewish vaudeville star Fanny Brice (the stage and screen role that launched Barbra Streisand into superstardom). Directed by Michael Mayer, the production features revisions by Harvey Fierstein to Isobel Lennart’s book. Newcomer Katerina McCrimmon will star as Fanny Brice, and Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Melissa Manchester will play Mrs. Brice.

Center Theatre Group announced that it is indefinitely halting programming at the Mark Taper Forum, L.A.’s flagship theater. CEO Meghan Pressman and incoming artistic director Snehal Desai explain their rationale for the controversial decision.

June 26, 2023

The Ahmanson season will close with “Clue” (July 30-Aug. 25, 2024), based on the 1985 movie and the classic Hasbro board game. Written by Sandy Rustin and featuring additional material by Hunter Foster and Eric Price, the whodunit brings beloved characters like Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock and Colonel Mustard to the stage, as they move throughout a mansion, rush to solve a murder and make sure their secret motivations don’t implicate them in the crime.

Meanwhile, the Kirk Douglas Theatre will present TheaterWorksUSA’s production of “Dog Man: The Musical” (Nov. 21-Jan. 7, 2024). Adapted from Dav Pilkey’s popular book series, the family-friendly show tells the story of two elementary school friends and their favorite character: Dog Man, who, with the head of a dog and the body of a policeman, loves to fight crime and chew on furniture. With music by Brad Alexander and a book and lyrics by Kevin Del Aguila, “Dog Man: The Musical” will play in L.A. after an extended hit run in New York.

Six people lined up along a stage in different outfits.
Brian Owen, Forest VanDyke, L.R. Davidson, Jamie LaVerdiere, Dan Rosales and Crystal Sha’nae in “Dog Man: The Musical.”
(Jeremy Daniel/TheatreWorksUSA)

Tickets to Center Theatre Group’s season will be available for subscription purchase beginning Aug. 9. Additional community programming and special events at the Kirk Douglas Theatre and Mark Taper Forum will be announced at a later date.