Nevertheless, the actor, who starred in the production, knew early on that the play would not have a long life on Broadway.
“We’ve known what was going on all along. Every day at rehearsal, Kenny Leon was saying, ‘Let’s be very clear with the fact that this play is probably going to be hated coming out the gates,’” Williams confessed during an interview with Rolling Stone.
“We see how full or empty the house is every night. Twenty-six thousand people have seen the play and, of those people, we’ve had f*cking standing ovations every night and tremendous support from the people that have seen it. But the producer, Eric Gold, said to me, ‘We expect that the first two months are going to be really difficult.’”
Williams’ comments come after “Holler if Ya Hear Me” ended its stint on Broadway just over a month after its June 19 premiere.
The New York Times reported earlier this month that the Kenny Leon production grossed $144,773 during the week of July 6, playing to just 16 percent of The Palace Theatre’s maximum capacity. According to Williams, negative reviews was the final nail in the coffin that prevented “Holler if Ya Hear Me” from reaching its full potential.
“One of our producers came in really angry because he had spoken to one of the TKTS people [who man Broadway ticket-selling booths] — not saying she was a producer — and asked them, ‘What about Holler? Should I see that?’ And the response of the person who is supposed to guide tourists to plays was like, ‘It’s a bit of a downer. It’s not necessarily as fun as’ whatever other play they mentioned,” he explained.
“Then she approached another one and that person was like, ‘Oh, it got really bad reviews.’ We started a street team at the last minute to counter those TKTS people who are really supposed to be promoting everything on Broadway. I also cannot go without saying that there was something deeply embedded in a lot of the reviews that went deeper than just a dislike of the play.”
For more of Saul Williams’ interview with Rolling Stone click here.