Malachi McCaskill in “A Strange Loop” at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre June 5 through June 30, 2024. Photo by Alessandra Mello.

Actor Malachi McCaskill stars as “Usher” in the critically acclaimed musical “A Strange Loop,” which begins its run at the Ahmanson Theatre on June 5. The show is co-produced by the American Conservatory Theater.

McCaskill is originally from Jackson Springs, NC, and he is currently based in Greensboro, NC where he is attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

He is a rising senior at UNC in their musical theatre program. “I’m on the fast track to becoming a professional actor,” said McCaskill.

McCaskill said he is drawn to projects with all-Black casts and not just in musical theater. He ultimately would like to explore similar opportunities in television and film.

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“Just being around artists that look like me – it’s a whole different level of magic being made,” stated McCaskill.

From L to R: Jordan Barbour, Avionce Hoyles, Malachi McCaskill, John-Andrew Morrison, and J. Cameron Barnett in “A Strange Loop” at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre June 5 through June 30, 2024. Photo by Alessandra Mello.

“This show [“A Strange Loop”] I’m in right now is so unapologetically Black and it’s awesome to be with people who understand you a little bit more.”

McCaskill described “A Strange Loop” as a “very meta-musical.” A meta-musical is theatrical commentary about stagecraft. “It’s about a Disney usher whose name is “Usher,” and he’s writing a musical about an usher writing a musical,” commented McCaskill.

He continued, “We go through this process of him writing the piece, but what we also see is the internal conflicts of his own thoughts, and his own mind, as we go through this whole show.”

Some of Usher’s internal struggles include his complex relationship with his mother and father, and his struggle with trying to reach his unattainable goals. “So, we see what he does to attain these desires that he wants, but it never really works out,” said McCaskill.

McCaskill revealed what he really loves about “A Strange Loop” is how specific the story is to Usher, who McCaskill termed as a “big, fat, Black, gay, queer man.” He said even though Usher is very tailor made he is still very relatable.

From L to R: Jordan Barbour, J. Cameron Barnett, Malachi McCaskill, Tarra Conner Jones, and Jamari Johnson Williams in “A Strange Loop” at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre June 5 through June 30, 2024. Photo by Alessandra Mello.

“We all have our own strange loop. We’ve all had problems with our family. We’ve all had problems with our own self-image,” said McCaskill. “I think he connects with people on such a deeper level.”

McCaskill discovered “A Strange Loop” two-years ago through his best friend. He listened to the soundtrack for the show, and he said by the time he finished listening to it he was in tears.

“I knew from then on I was going to play Usher,” exclaimed McCaskill! “This is truly my life, so I’ve always waited for something to come up on the internet – I [was] scrolling on Playbill to see if they [had] any open auditions for something regional.”

Then one day McCaskill saw a nationwide casting call for Usher displayed in the posting office at UNC. “I was in the middle of a contract, but I still set aside time to submit [audition] videos, because I knew I just had to play Usher,” said McCaskill.

After submitting his videos, McCaskill remembered getting a callback for the New York production of “A Strange Loop.”

“Prior to the callback in New York I sent my dance videos, and they saw it. They loved it,” said McCaskill. “I went up there and I sang, and I acted my face off, and ‘boom’ now I’m here playing Usher.”

For more information on “A Strange Loop” at the Ahmanson Theatre, visit