New Broadway musical Holler: “If Ya Hear Me,” inspired by the music of late rapper, Tupac Shakur, has received a mixed reaction in New York, United States of America.
The jukebox show features Shakur’s hits but does not tell the story of Shakur, who died after being shot in 1996, aged 25.
Variety called it a “generic gangland saga” that was “predictable” with “clumsy characterisations”, although praised its “soaring performances”.
Deadline described lead actor, Saul Williams, as “rivetingly charismatic”.
Directed by Kenny Leon, who won a Tony Award for his recent revival of “A Raisin In the Sun”, “Holler If Ya Hear Me” is billed as a non-biographical story.
The musical is about friendship, family, revenge, change and hope.
Shakur died following a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, thought to be the result of gang wars.
The musical sees slam poet Williams play John, newly released from prison and hoping to stay out of trouble, although his friend, Vertus, a drug dealer played by Christopher Jackson, has other ideas.
“The beats are sweet, and the words often have an electric charge,” said Charles Isherwood for The New York Times.
“Unfortunately, much else about this ambitious show feels heartfelt but heavy-handed, as it punches home its message with a relentlessness that may soon leave you numb to the tragic story it’s trying to tell.”
New York Daily News reported the show at New York’s Palace Theatre has so far struggled to sell tickets and several critics hinted it may struggle to find an audience.
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