Opening on Broadway is the brand new musical, Holler If Ya Hear Me, featuring the music of Tupac Shakur. While the show draws inspiration from the late rapper’s lyrics and themes, it’s not actually related in anyway to Shakur’s own story. In fact, the show tells the stories of inner-city lives struggling to find peace. Even though the rapper’s life was rich enough for its own story, the show creators decided to tell a new story, similarly to a number of jukebox musicals before it.
Holler If Ya Hear Me
The late rapper Tupac Shakur will be memorialized in a musical (cue indignation from conspiracy theorists who think Tupac is alive and well living it up with Elvis Presley in Egypt), called Holler If Ya Hear Me. The musical has been approved by Afeni Shakur, Tupac’s mother, and will be directed by Kenny Leon (who is responsible for the Martin Luther King Jr. inspired play The Mountaintop, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett), and is described as an, “American musical inspired by and featuring the music of Tupac Shakur.” Leon says of the musical, “A long time ago, maybe eight or nine years ago, I’ve been talking about that with Tupac’s mother, Afeni, and so we’ve become fans of each other and she sort of entrusted me with her son’s music… The idea was always to make a musical inspired by his music and not to do an autobiographical approach to his life or anything like that. And because I always thought that Tupac was a prophet and I thought if everybody could hear his words and hear his stories, they would see what I see.”
The musical is casting this week in New York City, and we’re interested to see what kind of story it tells, if not a biographical one. Firstly, the casting call is open to those without theater experience, which means that just about anyone could take on the role of Tupac, giving a wide birth for authenticity in the role. And with Tupac’s music being attributed with not only courting controversy in dealing with broad social and cultural issues, but actually provoking listeners to action, surely this is set to be a very moving spectacle. Finally, given Leon’s close and respectful relationship with Afeni, we imagine there will be an element of tenderness and extreme reverence in the production.
Casting Begins For Tupac Musical “Holler If Ya Hear Me” [All Hip Hop]
[Photo: Getty Images]