In life, Tupac Shakur was a multi-platinum-selling recording artist. Five years after his murder, his street cred informs Up Against the Wind, a multi-faceted "ferocious portrait" of this rap artist. New York Theatre Workshop will present the world premiere of Michael Develle Winn's play, March 16 - April 14, with opening night set for April 2.
Rosemary K. Andress directs a cast that seeks to recreate many of the most successful and controversial music people in America. The play features Olubunmi Banjoko (the girl), Kevin Daniels (Suge), Hazelle Goodman (Afeni), J.D. Jackson ((Biggie), Nashawn Kearse (Booker), Tracey A. Leigh (Lisa), Anthony Mackie (Tupac), David Brown, Jr. (Marl Anthony Bell), Jesse J. Perez (Jerome), Christopher Rivera (prison guard), Joseph Siravo (Jimmy Iovine), Tracie Thoms (Sekyiwa Shakur) and Isiah Whitlock, Jr., (Lt. Dan).
The play was originated at Juilliard's School of Drama in 1999 and later developed at NYTW by Winn and Andress. Their first professional reading was done at the theatre's Just Add Water Festival in the spring of 2000.
Tupac Amaru Shakur was born in Brooklyn in 1971. A member of the Digital Underground ("Same Song"), Shakur became a multi-platinum artist with such albums as "2Pacalypse Now," "Strictly for My N.I.G.G.A.Z.," "Me Against the World" and "All Eyez on Me." In film, Shakur appeared in the films "Juice," "Poetic Justice " and "Gridlock'd." Publicly at odds with the law at various points, Shakur was associated with the controversial Suge Knight of Death Row Records. He was appealing a 1995 sexual abuse conviction at the time of his murder in Las Vegas in 1996.
The creative team for the show comprises set designer Narelle Sissons, costume designer Olu-Orondava Mumford, lighting designer Peter West, and sound designer Jerry Yager, with original music by Jonathan Sanborn. The productions stage manager is Jason Scott Eagan. Tickets are $45. The New York Theatre Workshop is located at 79 E. 4 Street between Bowery and Second Avenue. For tickets call the box office at (212) 460-5475 or Telecharge at (212) 239-6200.
—By Murdoch McBride