“California Love” is coming to New York. Holler if Ya Hear Me, a musical inspired by Tupac Shakur, one of the world’s most influential rappers, will open this year. It is based on his powerful lyrics, which are celebrated as commentaries on social justice. His life was short, but his legacy still lives on today.
Here’s what you need to know about Tupac on Broadway.
1. Casting Hasn’t Been Announced
With previews beginning on May 26, it’s only a matter of time before the cast is revealed. The show officially opens on June 19.
The theater it’s being held in, the Palace, has an interesting history. Opening in 1913, many stars have graced its stage, including Ethel Barrymore, Harry Houdini, Will Rogers, Ethel Merman, Judy Garland, Jerry Lewis, Harry Belafonte, Bette Midler, Shirley MacLaine and Diana Ross.
2. There’s Also a Tupac Movie Being Made This Year
Coincidence or not, the movie is also being filmed this year. There’s still no word on who will play the iconic rapper.
Both the movie and musical have Afeni Shakur, Tupac’s mother, as one of the producers.
3. The Show is Named After a Tupac Song
The song, “Holler if You Hear Me,” was the first single off his second album, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. Released in 1993, it focuses on poverty and police injustice.
The song’s video, shot in black and white, illustrates inner city life.
The musical is based around the families of two friends in a present-day Midwestern inner-city.
4. It’s Been Said That It May Save Broadway
With many shows closing after short runs, the Broadway world needs to tap into a more diverse demographic. Vanity Fair already weighed in on the hope that the musical may or may not bring to New York:
So here’s a great way to bring in new audiences. It’s also an opportunity for that older, more homogenous audience to, hopefully, see something a little different. And the show would in theory provide some big casting opportunities for minority actors who are all too often pushed to the sidelines in big musicals. Really, this is a win-win-win situation.
5. The Choreographer Has Been Nominated for 7 Tonys
Wayne Cilento is putting the steps to Tupac’s music. In fact, the choreographer actually won his first Tony Award for setting The Who’s music to their musical, Tommy. He has also directed and choreographed commercials for Liza Minnelli, Barry Manilow, Chita Rivera,
Billy Joel, Donna Summer, Pete Townshend, Alicia Keys and the Jonas Brothers.