Holler Producers Looking to Raise $5 Million to Keep Hear Me Afloat

By Michael Gioia
11 Jul 2014

Saul Williams, Dyllon Burnside and Joshua Boone
Saul Williams, Dyllon Burnside and Joshua Boone
Photo by Joan Marcus

Eric L. Gold, the lead producer of the Tupac Shakur-scored musical Holler If Ya Hear Me — about hope, friendship and life on the city streets — is hoping to raise $5 million to sustain the production until box office improves, according to Variety. 

Although the musical — a non-biographical new work directed by 2014 Tony Award winner Kenny Leon — is struggling at the box office and opened June 19 to mixed reviews, Holler has refused to dim its lights.  

"It's week to week right now," he said. "I can't tell you if it'll be two weeks or two months. It's an expensive game, and I'm the guy carrying the load financially. I made a rookie mistake by underestimating how much capital was necessary, but I'm tenacious."

For the week ending July 6, the muiscal took in $144,773 at the box office and played to a 53.2-percent full audience with an average ticket price of $30.63. 



Although the cast has made numerous television appearances over the last week, Gold hopes to get influential theatregoers (including New York City mayor Bill de Blasio) in the door and draw attention elsewhere.

He added, "If we don't succeed, it's going to be difficult to do another rap or hip hop show on Broadway."

Written by Todd Kreidler and directed by Leon, Holler If Ya Hear Me features slam poet, actor, singer and musician Saul Williams ("Slam") as John with Christopher Jackson (In the Heights, After Midnight) as Vertus, Saycon Sengbloh (Motown, Fela!) as Corinne, Ben Thompson (Matilda) as Griffy, Tony nominee John Earl Jelks (Radio Golf) as Street Preacher, Joshua Boone (Brownsville Song [b side for Tray] at Actors Theatre of Louisville) as Darius, Dyllon Burnside ("Prison Break") as Anthony and Tony winner Tonya Pinkins (Jelly's Last Jam; Caroline, or Change; Play On!) as Mrs. Weston.

Broadway previews began June 2.

Rounding out the cast are Tracee Beazer (Memphis), Afi Bijou (Fela!), Mel Charlot (three-time World Hip Hop Champion), Carrie Compere (Shrek national tour), Otis Cotton, Ryan Davis (danced for Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj), Brandon Gill (Neighbors at The Public), Ariana Groover (Bare Off-Broadway), F. Michael Haynie (Wicked), Jared Joseph (The Book of Mormon national tour), Jahi Kearse (Baby It's You), Muata Langley (freestyle Krump performer), Candace Maxwell, 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).

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."

Read the Playbill.com feature with director Leon, who was awarded the 2014 Tony for the direction of A Raisin in the Sun and compares the work of Shakur and Lorraine Hansberry

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). Casting is by Caparelliotis Casting (Casa Valentina, The Trip to Bountiful).

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

Visit HollerIfYaHearMe.com.