Holler If You Want Insight On The Tupac Play Now On Broadway - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Christine Devine

Holler If You Want Insight On The Tupac Play Now On Broadway

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Lead Actor Saul Williams Lead Actor Saul Williams
"Californ-i-aye.” When the DJ played the popular 2Pac Shakur song this crowd came alive! We were at the premier night after-party for “Holler If Ya Hear Me.” It's the new Broadway play inspired by the lyrics of the late rapper. 


The trigger was the Shakur song “California Love.” Arms flew up into the air. We hit the beat hard. Cast members of the new Tupac play danced in a tight energetic circle. To my surprise, a dressy, middle-aged caucasian couple flashed a “westside” with their fingers as they bopped to the beat. For me, that dance was part emotional release, part appreciation, part celebration, part recollection, part understanding, part feeling-the-pain, part fear, of that era in gangsta-rap history. 


 Holler If Ya Hear Me

Holler If Ya Hear Me

Holler If Ya Hear Me

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“Holler If Ya Hear Me” is billed as a love story that brings to light "the world inside Tupac Shakur’s music.” While the rapper's music is peppered heavily throughout, the play is not a biography based on his life. It is a tale of friendship, hopes, dreams, and loss, that weave together stories of the 'hood. The struggle of good and bad plays out in an inner-city drama with all of the trappings of gangs, violence, prison, revenge, redemption, and the true challenge to try and escape it all.


I was thrilled to receive an invite to opening night courtesy Hollywood manager, Eric Gold. This musical was 15-years in the making. It pairs Eric and his producers with Tony award winning director Kenny Leon(A Raisin In The Sun) and writer Todd Kreidler. Eric walked the red carpet with his stunning wife and young children. Kreidler happily posed on the red carpet with his ever-so-cool cast. Leon opened it all on stage proclaiming you're "about to witness a revolution in theater."  


While the Hollywood Reporter is reporting light ticket sales, you don’t have to be a rap fan to appreciate the fact that 2Pac sold 77-million albums. Shakur acted in movies with the likes of Janet Jackson. One might wonder where this poetic urban artist from a political Black Panther family could have been today had he not been murdered one Vegas night in 1996. Take his producer, Dr. Dre, now billed as raps first billionaire. A preview of the play was held a day after Shakur's birthday with his mother, Afeni Shakur, and his "pal" Madonna, in attendance. Tupac would have been 43 years old. His older step-brother Mopreme was there the night I attended. He and Tupac were in the hip hop group "Thug Life" and Mopreme has a song in the play. During intermission I asked "do you feel your brother here?" His eyes welled up.


Tupac, mama - Yahoo Search Results

Tupac, mama - Yahoo Search Results

www.youtube.com/watch?v=byyWQEYzS2A   Cached You are appreciated [Verse One: 2Pac] When I was young me and my mama had beef Seventeen years old kicke...

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My eyes welled up, and tears rolled down my face in parts of the play that tugged at the heart. Take 2Pac's music to his mama,"Dear Mama."  The reality of thug life hit home. I thought of Mike, a young man I met this year in Compton trying to escape street violence at a youth empowerment program. He'd recently been shot in a drive-by. I thought of Dustin, eighteen and convicted of murder. On a call from prison last month, he said "when I get out I'm not even gonna jaywalk." I thought of the funeral in gang territory I went to when I first arrived in L.A. The wail of the dead man's girlfriend still haunts me. I thought of my (adopted) brother who was born in prison to a drug addict, went to prison himself, and died of a drug overdose. I thought of the day a young man came up to me at a mall while I was on my Wednesday's Child adoption segment. I knew his name right away. He'd been named as the triggerman in the death of Tupac Shakur. My mouth fell open. He seemed just a baby. He said he just wanted to say hi. Two years later he and two associates where shot dead. A lot of mamas have shed tears.


Is the (Broadway) world ready for rap? Holla if "Holler" is a play you'd go see. That was the question I asked. Would a mass Broadway audience buy tickets? The effort will need more than a black audience or the likes of one super fan I met outside. He crashed the VIP events two nights in row. He showed me his picture with Afeni Shakur, said he loved her. He got choked up with emotion as he told me what Tupac meant to him, as he himself, grew up without a father. He's a buff caucasian guy who told me he works as a NYC jailer. I gauged the reaction of my guest, a Jewish girl in her twenties. She's a theater goer and gave it a "really good" rating.


I'm guessing most audience goers will be more like myself, someone who enjoys the theater and/or someone who's danced a night or two away at the clubs to a Tupac Shakur song. It was definitely a walk down music's memory lane and 2Pac's hits have mass appeal. Lead actor Saul Williams captured my heart and owned the stage. There is one scene that got me really pumped. The theater crowd, however, sat through one of the signature songs. I was so glad for the after-party where we could actually get up, dance hard, and show some California love!

California Love by 2Pac ft. Dr. Dre | Interscope

California Love by 2Pac ft. Dr. Dre | Interscope

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