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Forums > Music: Non-Prince > Producer worries that demise of Tupac musical means it will be next to impossible to mount future hip hop musicals.
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Thread started 07/15/14 5:05pm

HAPPYPERSON

Producer worries that demise of Tupac musical means it will be next to impossible to mount future hip hop musicals.

‘Holler If Ya Hear Me,’ Tupac-inspired musical, will close Sunday

[img:$uid]http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=http://img.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2014/07/Theater_Review_Holler_If_Ya_Hear_Me-07079-698x1024.jpg&w=480[/img:$uid]

It turns out you really can’t have a Tupac musical without actually telling Tupac’s story.

“Holler If Ya Hear Me,” the musical inspired by the lyrics of rapper Tupac Shakur and headlined by poet Saul Williams, will close Sunday after six weeks. The show struggled to find its footing financially with roughly 55 percent of its seats going unsold.

Its lead producer, Hollywood veteran Eric L. Gold, told Variety last week he was hoping to raise $5 million to keep the show onstage, but his quest to save it was unsuccessful.

“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.”

The musical had plenty of elements working against it — there were questions of whether it would be able to draw traditional theatergoers and pique the interest of Tupac fans who aren’t necessarily lining up to see Broadway plays. “Holler” wasn’t able to gain traction via word of mouth, either, a fault most reviewers attributed to the book, written by Todd Kreidler. Kreidler was forced to make up a generic story because the production could not obtain the biographical rights to Shakur’s story. That was bizarre, given that Tupac’s mother Afeni Shakur was one of the show’s producers.


Variety called the story line “vague and unspecific,” while Vulturecondemned it for being riddled with clichés. Its musical arrangements and energy were widely praised, but many left wishing the musical had been able to tap Shakur’s life story instead of trying to match up his work with the tale of a down-on-his-luck, impoverished Everyman battling violence and drugs. Even the setting for the musical was vague: The program informed attendees it took place in a “Midwestern industrial city.”

The fate of “Holler” highlights the struggle of producing works that are either biographical or, in the case of the Tupac Musical That Wasn’t Actually a Tupac Musical, biographical-ish. Surviving family members are understandably protective. (No one wants to see another Flex Alexander-as-Michael...n disaster. No one.) But they tend to put the kibosh on the more unflattering elements of the subject’s story, thereby flattening its emotional appeal.

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Reply #1 posted 07/15/14 5:10pm

babybugz

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Wow.

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Reply #2 posted 07/15/14 5:12pm

LittleBLUECorv
ette

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Hip-Hop musical, that already sounds bad.

THey didn't learn from Carmen: a Hip-Hopera?

PRINCE: Always and Forever
MICHAEL JACKSON: Always and Forever
-----
Live Your Life How U Wanna Live It
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Reply #3 posted 07/15/14 5:24pm

SoulAlive

I agree,the idea of a "hip-hop musical" is absurd. lol it won't work
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Reply #4 posted 07/15/14 5:36pm

getxxxx

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^^^^^ yep the closeminded have spoken with the two above comments. SMH

http://www.ebony.com/ente...c-play-222

Nick Ashford was someone I greatly admired, had the honor of knowing, and was the real-life inspiration for Cowboy Curtis' hair. RIP Nick. - Pee Wee Herman
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Reply #5 posted 07/15/14 6:33pm

LittleBLUECorv
ette

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getxxxx said:

^^^^^ yep the closeminded have spoken with the two above comments. SMH

http://www.ebony.com/ente...c-play-222

Lol.

I love Hip-Hop but it wont go anywhere.

PRINCE: Always and Forever
MICHAEL JACKSON: Always and Forever
-----
Live Your Life How U Wanna Live It
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Reply #6 posted 07/16/14 12:53am

SoulAlive

getxxxx said:

^^^^^ yep the closeminded have spoken with the two above comments. SMH

lol,not closeminded,just realistic lol hip-hop doesn't translate well to that type of setting

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Reply #7 posted 07/16/14 7:04am

jeidee

there go my hopes for the ODB musical

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Reply #8 posted 07/16/14 7:14am

luvsexy4all

what a loss to the world of stage and music...yeh right

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Reply #9 posted 07/16/14 9:26am

getxxxx

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closeminded people, like Karu said in the Ebony link which im sure NONE of you read.

Nick Ashford was someone I greatly admired, had the honor of knowing, and was the real-life inspiration for Cowboy Curtis' hair. RIP Nick. - Pee Wee Herman
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Reply #10 posted 07/16/14 3:19pm

lastdecember

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But what was the support like? Musicals close for that reason mostly, it takes ALOT to mount a Broadway show, if you dont have sell outs right away youre doomed plain and simple. And how was the ticket pricing? This was the ISSUE with "Capeman" by Paul Simon, I saw this show with my girlfriend at the time, her three cousins (who were in love with Marc Anthony) and her older brother and honestly, the place was pretty much full, but honestly my girl and her cousins and brother, were just about the only latin people there. And this cast included MARC ANTHONY RUBEN BLADES EDNITA ROZARIO so its not because this was a "Hip Hop Musical", im sure alot of things played a part


"We went where our music was appreciated, and that was everywhere but the USA, we knew we had fans, but there is only so much of the world you can play at once" Magne F
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Reply #11 posted 07/16/14 6:32pm

119

I attend a lot of theatre and had absolutely no interest in this musical. I really think that this topic was a stretch in terms of interest for most of the theater going public. And I will also go out on a limb and suggest that the audience who would be intrested in Tupac's story would be less interested in seeing that story interperted as a broadway musical.

Broadway is a very tough run, no matter the topic. After Midnight, a review musical that should have been a tourist delight, much like Motown, closed early.

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Reply #12 posted 07/16/14 7:29pm

popgodazipa

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Just curious...has anyone here seen it?

1 over Jordan...the greatest since
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Reply #13 posted 07/18/14 5:56pm

119

Interview with Saul Williams discusses the closing on broadway and move of the show to tour.


http://www.youtube.com/wa...QWBGD7XIX8

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Reply #14 posted 07/19/14 9:40am

SeventeenDayze

I heard Whoopi on The View plug this musical a few weeks back, so at least she tried to help them. This might be one of those situations where all the stuff going on behind the scenes is more likely the reason for the show closing so early.

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Reply #15 posted 07/20/14 6:33am

ABeautifulOne

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I don't think it will be next to impossible at all. From my perspective Tupac's relevance is very real but they didn't market it well. They easily could have salvaged it at the last minute by using the BET Awards as a huge promo piece since that's damn near like the most visibility any urban brand has throughout the year. I'm guessing they thought this was the 90s when his legacy was still fresh and they could put a show on and people would flock to it. Just a lesson learned for them.

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Reply #16 posted 07/20/14 10:50am

SeventeenDayze

ABeautifulOne said:

I don't think it will be next to impossible at all. From my perspective Tupac's relevance is very real but they didn't market it well. They easily could have salvaged it at the last minute by using the BET Awards as a huge promo piece since that's damn near like the most visibility any urban brand has throughout the year. I'm guessing they thought this was the 90s when his legacy was still fresh and they could put a show on and people would flock to it. Just a lesson learned for them.

Agreed. I mean didn't Bring in the Noise, Bring in the Funk have a wild run on Broadway? I still think the stuff going on behind the scenes, including incompetent management, maybe was the reason this closed. Maybe they will do off-Broadway or take the show on the road for a tour.

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Reply #17 posted 07/20/14 2:18pm

HuMpThAnG

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So there'll never be a Vanilla Ice: The Musical? sad

bawl!!!!!

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Reply #18 posted 07/20/14 5:01pm

SeventeenDayze

HuMpThAnG said:

So there'll never be a Vanilla Ice: The Musical? sad

bawl!!!!!

Naw, they're gonna do one on Macklemore that will mysteriously break records and receive 10 Tonys. Or, they might do one about Iggy Azalea and crown her the Queen of Hip-Hop (fake butt notwithstanding) smile lol

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Reply #19 posted 07/20/14 5:25pm

HuMpThAnG

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SeventeenDayze said:

HuMpThAnG said:

So there'll never be a Vanilla Ice: The Musical? sad

bawl!!!!!

Naw, they're gonna do one on Macklemore that will mysteriously break records and receive 10 Tonys. Or, they might do one about Iggy Azalea and crown her the Queen of Hip-Hop (fake butt notwithstanding) smile lol

And a lifetime achievement will go to Marky Mark nod

Presented by his funky bunch lol

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Reply #20 posted 07/20/14 5:27pm

SeventeenDayze

HuMpThAnG said:

SeventeenDayze said:

Naw, they're gonna do one on Macklemore that will mysteriously break records and receive 10 Tonys. Or, they might do one about Iggy Azalea and crown her the Queen of Hip-Hop (fake butt notwithstanding) smile lol

And a lifetime achievement will go to Marky Mark nod

Presented by his funky bunch lol

I don't know how Marky Mark got into acting, his facial expressions never EVER change, LOL. But I think the upcoming Tony-award winning show will be called: "Iggy & Mack: Gentrifying a Lost Art!" (all donations to go to the Apollo Theater) lol

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Reply #21 posted 07/20/14 6:20pm

Stymie

Considering it was not about PAC, wtf do they expect?
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Reply #22 posted 07/20/14 9:51pm

SeventeenDayze

Stymie said:

Considering it was not about PAC, wtf do they expect?

This reminds me of the games kids play when they talk about someone sitting at the table but use code to talk about them without saying their name. I hope this production gets better management and can make a comeback, with the family's full permission of course...

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Reply #23 posted 07/21/14 1:01pm

bobzilla77

I think it would be very possible to do a good hip-hop musical, just like it's possible to make a good rock musical or opera. You would need someone telling a story organically. You don't need to do a remake of Carmen with samples of orchestra music, you just need to tell a good story and write songs around it.

I haven;t seen this show. But from reading about it, it sounds like they thought they could throw any old bullshit story together into a Jukebox Musical like Mamma Mia, and people would pay because of 2pac's name is on it. I'm not surprised that didn't work out too well for them.

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Reply #24 posted 07/21/14 1:15pm

Stymie

bobzilla77 said:

I think it would be very possible to do a good hip-hop musical, just like it's possible to make a good rock musical or opera. You would need someone telling a story organically. You don't need to do a remake of Carmen with samples of orchestra music, you just need to tell a good story and write songs around it.

I haven;t seen this show. But from reading about it, it sounds like they thought they could throw any old bullshit story together into a Jukebox Musical like Mamma Mia, and people would pay because of 2pac's name is on it. I'm not surprised that didn't work out too well for them.

yeahthat

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Reply #25 posted 07/21/14 2:38pm

SeventeenDayze

bobzilla77 said:

I think it would be very possible to do a good hip-hop musical, just like it's possible to make a good rock musical or opera. You would need someone telling a story organically. You don't need to do a remake of Carmen with samples of orchestra music, you just need to tell a good story and write songs around it.

I haven;t seen this show. But from reading about it, it sounds like they thought they could throw any old bullshit story together into a Jukebox Musical like Mamma Mia, and people would pay because of 2pac's name is on it. I'm not surprised that didn't work out too well for them.

Agreed. Sometimes I wonder if the show was intentionally wrecked just to prove that hip-hop isn't good enough to hit Broadway.

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Reply #26 posted 07/21/14 4:09pm

bobzilla77

You think racist theater moguls are staging shows and losing millions of dollars to prevent... other people from making musicals?

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Reply #27 posted 07/21/14 4:12pm

SeventeenDayze

bobzilla77 said:

You think racist theater moguls are staging shows and losing millions of dollars to prevent... other people from making musicals?

Where did I write that? Get some glasses.

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Reply #28 posted 07/23/14 12:24pm

bobzilla77

Who would have "intentionally wrecked" it, or for what intent?

I'm guessing they did the best they could with a not-that-great idea.

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Reply #29 posted 07/23/14 1:48pm

SeventeenDayze

bobzilla77 said:

Who would have "intentionally wrecked" it, or for what intent?

I'm guessing they did the best they could with a not-that-great idea.

I guess sabotage and skullduggery never happen in show biz huh?

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Forums > Music: Non-Prince > Producer worries that demise of Tupac musical means it will be next to impossible to mount future hip hop musicals.