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NEW YORK – Hip-hop and rap are not among the customary sounds of Broadway, but that looks set to change with the arrival this year of Holler If Ya Hear Me, a new musical inspired by the lyrics of Tupac Shakur.
Casting has not yet been announced, but the show is set to begin performances on May 26, with official opening on June 19 at the Palace Theatre, one of Broadway’s largest venues.
Written by Todd Kreidler, the original musical is not biographical. Instead it uses the gritty poetry of the influential late rapper’s words and music to create a story of inner-city struggle, encompassing themes of friendship, family, revenge, change and hope.
Directing the production is Kenny Leon, who also will be represented on Broadway this spring with the revival of Lorraine Hansberry‘s A Raisin in the Sun, starring Denzel Washington, Diahann Carroll, Sophie Okonedo and Anika Noni Rose.
Holler If Ya Hear Me is produced on Broadway by Afeni Shakur, the late rapper’s mother, along with Eric L. Gold, Chun-soo Shin and Jessica Green.
Wayne Cilento (Wicked) will be choreographer on the show, with music supervision by Daryl Waters, who also worked in that capacity on the current Broadway revue After Midnight, a tribute to Duke Ellington and the Harlem Renaissance. Waters also was involved with the 1995 musical Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk, one of Broadway’s most successful forays into rap.
Casting and ticketing information will follow in the coming weeks. The opening date of Holler If Ya Hear Me positions the show after the cutoff for this year’s Tony Awards, making it eligible for consideration in 2015.
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