*A stage musical featuring the music of late rapper Tupac Shakur has been put on hold due to a lack of available theaters on Broadway.
Director Kenny Leon put together the project, titled Holler If Ya Hear Me, with the blessing of the rapper’s mother, Afeni Shakur. The producers have raised the funding, and Leon has workshopped the production three times. The show is ready for Broadway, Leon told the Wall Street Journal, but just needs a home because “there’s a backlog in available theaters.”
The non-biographical show features a love story set to the rapper’s songs, and Leon is adamant the musical’s anti-violence message will prove popular when it finally hits the stage.
“Some people look at hip-hop and they think they hate everything black or they think they hate everything that uses profanity, or they think it’s about gun violence,” Leon said, calling Tupac a “prophet.”
“When you look at the lyrics of his music, he was always talking about universal things like honor, betrayal, family,” Leon said. “He was just trying to talk about life and say something about the country and being an American and raising a family here.”
Leon is also full of praise for his multi-talented cast, adding, “We had to have a group of actors that could sing, that could rap, that could dance – that could do hip-hop dance as well as straightforward Broadway musical dance. We had to have a good mix of 24 people who could do it all, but above all we needed actors who could tell the story.”