PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Jan. 4-10: Holler If Ya Hear Me and The Curious Incident Coming to Broadway; Shakespeare and Glass Menagerie Recoup

By Robert Simonson
10 Jan 2014

Tupac Shakur
Tupac Shakur

Perhaps having exhausted the pop and rock catalogues of the 1950s, '60s and '70s, jukebox musicals are now venturing into rap territory.

Holler If Ya Hear Me, a new musical based on the music of late rapper Tupac Shakur, will premiere on Broadway at the Palace Theatre May 26 under the direction of Kenny Leon, it was announced this week.

Shakur, whose albums included "2Pacalypse Now," "Me Against the World," "All Eyez on Me" and "Until the End of Time," died in 1996 as the result of a gang-related drive-by shooting in Las Vegas — a crime that remains unsolved to this day. He was 25 years old at the time. Prior to that time, he had had many brushes with the law, having served 11 months in prison on a sexual assault charge and barely escaping with his life after a 1994 New York attack left him with five bullets in his body.

The show will not tell the tale of Shakur's dramatic life, however, according to press notes, provide a "window into realities of the streets still relevant today."



The late rapper's mother, Afeni Shakur, along with Eric L. Gold, Chunsoo Shin and Jessica Green, are producing the non-biographical musical, which has a book by Todd Kreidler and will feature choreography by Wayne Cilento.

Holler If Ya Hear Me received a five-week workshop last summer in anticipation of the newly announced Broadway production. The musical will officially open June 19, making it one of the first shows of the 2014-15 season.

Interestingly, the Shakur estate is managed by Jeff Jampol, who also manages the Janis Joplin estate. Joplin is the subject of the current Broadway attraction A Night With Janis Joplin. In case you're wondering what other new jukebox musicals Broadway may see in the future, consider that Jampol also handles the Rick James estate. Superfreak: The Musical? Could happen.

***

The National Theatre's production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time — which received international attention when the ceiling of the Apollo Theatre, in which it was playing, collapsed and injured dozens of theatregoers mid-performance Dec. 19 — will not resume performances there on Jan. 12 as announced.

 Continued...