Saul Williams, Christopher Jackson, Saycon Sengbloh, Ben Thompson, Tonya Pinkins Will Star in Holler If Ya Hear Me

By Michael Gioia
07 Apr 2014

Christopher Jackson
Christopher Jackson

Award-winning slam poet, actor, singer and musician Saul Williams, Christopher Jackson, Saycon Sengbloh, Ben Thompson, Tony nominee John Earl Jelks, Joshua Boone, Dyllon Burnside and Tony winner Tonya Pinkins will star in Holler If Ya Hear Me, the new Broadway musical inspired by the lyrics of Tupac Shakur, producers announced April 7.

Written by Todd Kreidler and directed by Kenny Leon, Holler If Ya Hear Me will begin performances May 29 towards a June 19 opening at Broadway's Palace Theatre (1564 Broadway at 47th Street).

Williams ("Slam") will play John with Jackson (In the Heights, After Midnight) as Vertus, Sengbloh (Motown, Fela!) as Corinne, Thompson (Matilda) as Griffy, Jelks (Radio Golf) as Street Preacher, Boone (Brownsville Song [b side for Tray] at Actors Theatre of Louisville) as Darius, Burnside ("Prison Break") as Anthony and Pinkins (Jelly's Last Jam; Caroline, or Change; Play On!) as Mrs. Weston.

Rounding out the cast are Afi Bijou (Fela!), Mel Charlot (three-time World Hip Hop Champion), Carrie Compere (Shrek national tour), Otis Cotton, Ariana Groover (Bare Off-Broadway), Jared Joseph (The Book of Mormon national tour), Jahi Kearse (Baby It's You), Muata Langley (freestyle Krump performer), Valentine Norton ("American Idol"), Christina Sajous (Spider-Man Turn off the Dark), Charlene "Chi Chi" Smith, Jaime Lincoln Smith (Ruined Off-Broadway), Donald Webber, Jr. (Motown) and Joaquina Kalukango (Antony and Cleopatra).



Tickets are available through Ticketmaster at Ticketmaster.com or by calling (877) 250-2929. Tickets can be purchased in person beginning May 8 at the Palace Theatre box office at 1564 Broadway. Additionally, a limited number of student tickets at $35 are available through TIX4STUDENTS — an annual membership program for students 18 years and older that provides access to purchase tickets online in advance — at Tix4Students.com.

Holler If Ya Hear Me, the world inside Tupac Shakur's music and lyrics, "blazes to life in a non-biographical story about friendship, family, revenge, change and hope. Inner city lives struggle for peace against the daily challenges they face in this entertaining and original musical," according to press notes. "Through the poetry of one of the 20th century's most influential and culturally prominent voices, we are given a window into realities of the streets still relevant today."

Joining director Leon (A Raisin in the Sun, Fences, The Mountaintop) and author Kreidler (Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and direction of How I Learned What I Learned) on the creative team are Tony Award-winning choreographer Wayne Cilento (Wicked, The Who's Tommy, How to Succeed…, Aida, Sweet Charity) and musical supervisor Daryl Waters (Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring In 'Da Funk; The Color Purple; Memphis).

Other members of the creative team includes scenic designer Edward Pierce (The Other Place, Shatner's World) based on original concepts by David Gallo; projections designer Zachary G. Borovay (No Man's Land, Waiting for Godot); costume designer Reggie Ray (Stick Fly); lighting designer Mike Baldassari (Cabaret, Titanic, First Date); and sound designers John Shivers (Kinky Boots) and David Patridge (Soul Doctor).

Holler If Ya Hear Me is produced on Broadway by Afeni Shakur, Eric L. Gold, Chunsoo Shin, Jessica Green and Marcy Kaplan-Gold. The general manager is Richard Martini for KL Management.

Shakur died as the result of a 1996 gang-related drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. In 2010 the Library of Congress selected Shakur's "Dear Mama" to become part of its National Recording Registry. He also appeared in the films "Poetic Justice" and "Above the Rim." His albums include "2Pacalypse Now," "Me Against the World," "All Eyez on Me," "Until the End of Time" and "Pac's Life."

Visit HollerIfYaHearMe.com.