Holler If Ya Hear Me takes the philosophical stance that rapper Tupac Shakur, and everything his lyrics discussed - "love, honor, betrayal, duty" says playwright August Wilson - is universal, according to The New York Times. The Broadway musical opens June 19 at Palace Theater, smack dab in Times Square.
The musical features the design talents of Edware Pierce on sets, Reggie Ray on costumes, Mike Baldassari on lighting, John Shivers and David Patridge on sound, and 2014 Broadway Projection Master Classes speaker Zachary G. Borovay on projection.
Holler incorporates Tupac's lyrics and viewpoints into a family-friendly, fictional plot about a community attempting to rise above social issues that have been embedded for generations. The musical centers on a group of friends who gather on one block and discuss their families and choices. The creative team chose to set the musical in an anonymous city in present day in order to avoid a period-piece. Although the musical involves signature styles like krumping and popping and locking, choreographer Wayne Cilento avoided creating era-specific dances to make it more universal.
While some people say Tupac is controversial, he is still one of the most celebrated figures in hip-hop. Tupac's music was emotional and vulnerable. According to The New York Times, Saul Williams, who plays the characyer John, says:
“Pac was so insightful,” said Mr. Williams...“‘I Ain’t Mad at Ya,’ ‘Dear Mama,’ listen to those lyrics. It’s crazy how much heart and vulnerability and passion and empathy was in his music. I never heard a rapper reference being brought to tears as much as Pac."
Check out the video below for a sneak peek at Holler If Ya Hear Me. For the full story, visit The New York Times.