Announcing Special “Strange Loop” Episode of Talkback Podcast
Christine Toy Johnson Rona Siddiqui and Michael R Jackson

Dramatists Guild Presents: TALKBACK presents a special A Strange Loop episode available June 6 on all your favorite podcast platforms.

Featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning and Tony Award-nominated A Strange Loop composer, lyricist, and writer Michael R. Jackson and music director Rona Siddiqui in conversation with host Christine Toy Johnson, Jackson and Siddiqui share their creative inspirations, discuss their collaboration on a new project, and reflect upon their respective journeys with the show. A Strange Loop is the most Tony-nominated musical of the 2021-2022 Broadway season with eleven nominations including best musical.

Jackson and Siddiqui also talk about the importance of advocating for their community; they are both passionate champions of supporting and empowering their fellow writers. Both writers currently serve on the Dramatists Guild Council, along with Christine Toy Johnson.

This is the first episode of TALKBACK’s fourth season. The podcast entertains frank conversations about diversity, equity, inclusion, and access. Distributed by Broadway Podcast Network and hosted by Dramatists Guild Council Treasurer and DEIA committee Chair Christine Toy Johnson, this podcast asks the tough questions but doesn’t have all the answers. It digs into dialogue that’s vital and messy and real.

Michael R. Jackson is one of Time magazines 100 most influential people of 2022. His Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics Circle winning A Strange Loop (which had its 2019 world premiere at Playwrights Horizons in association with Page 73 Productions) received eleven Tony nominations in 2022 and was called a full-on laparoscopy of the heart, soul, and loins as well as a gutsy, jubilantly anguished musical with infectious melodies by Ben Brantley for The New York Times. In The New Yorker, Vinson Cunningham wrote, To watch this show is to enter, by some urgent, bawdy magic, an ecstatic and infinitely more colorful version of the famous surreal lithograph by M. C. Escher: the hand that lifts from the page, becoming almost real, then draws another hand, which returns the favor. In addition to A Strange Loop, he also wrote book, music, and lyrics for White Girl in Danger. Awards and associations include a New Professional Theatre Festival Award, a Jonathan Larson Grant, a Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award, an ASCAP Foundation Harold Adamson Award, a Whiting Award, the Helen Merrill Award for Playwriting, an Outer Critics Circle Award, a Drama Desk Award, an Obie Award, an Antonyo Award, a Fred Ebb Award, a Windham-Campbell Prize, and a Dramatist Guild Fellowship. He is an alum of Page 73’s Interstate 73 Writers Group.

Rona Siddiqui is a composer/lyricist based in NYC. She is a recipient of the Jonathan Larson Grant and Billie Burke Ziegfeld award and was named one of Broadway Women's Fund's Women to Watch. Her show Salaam Medina: Tales of a Halfghan, an autobiographical comedy about growing up bi-ethnic in America, had a reading at Playwrights Horizons (dir. by Raja Feather Kelly). Other musicals include One Good Day, Hip Hop Cinderella, and The Tin. She has written pieces for Arena Stage, Wicked's 16th-anniversary commemoration Flying Free, 24 Hour Musicals, Prospect Theater Company, and The Civilians and has performed concerts of her work at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Feinsteins/54 Below. She is the recipient of the ASCAP Harold Adamson Lyric Award, the ASCAP Foundation Mary Rodgers/Lorenz Hart Award, and ASCAP Foundation/Max Dreyfus Scholarship. Rona is also Music Director of the Broadway show A Strange Loop.

Christine Toy Johnson is a Tony, Obie, Rosetta LeNoire, JACL, and Asian American Arts Alliance award honored writer, actor, and advocate for inclusion. Her work has been produced and/or developed by the Roundabout, Village Theatre, O’Neill Center, the Abingdon, Greater Boston Stage Company, Ars Nova, Barrow Group, Prospect Theater, Weston Playhouse, and more, and is included in the Library of Congress’s Asian Pacific American Playwrights Collection and published by Rowman & Littlefield, Applause Books, and Smith & Kraus. Christine most recently was awarded the 1st annual Alvin Epstein Memorial Prize for Solo Performance for her new play A Little More Blue. She is the co-director (with Bruce Johnson) and Executive Producer of the multiple award-winning documentary feature Transcending: The Wat Misaka Story. Treasurer of the Dramatists Guild. Co-founder, AAPAC (Asian American Performers Action Coalition). BMI, Writers Lab, Sarah Lawrence College alum. As an actor, Christine has appeared extensively on Broadway, off-Broadway, in regional theatres across the country, and on television and film and currently plays Diane and others in the First National tour of Come From Away. Insta/Twitter: @CToyJ Details: www.christinetoyjohnson.com

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