Holler If Ya Hear Me BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Joan Marcus
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Opening Night:
June 19, 2014
Closing:
July 20, 2014

Theater: Palace Theatre / 1564 Broadway, New York, NY, 10036

Synopsis: 

Holler If Ya Hear Me is an original story set in the present day on the inner-city streets of a Midwestern industrial city, following two childhood friends and their extended families as they struggle to reconcile the challenges and realities of their daily lives with their hopes, dreams and ambitions. The non-biographical rap musical is based on and features Tupac Shakur's music.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Holler If Ya Hear Me

    To Be Young, Besieged and Black
    ‘Holler if Ya Hear Me,’ Inspired by Tupac Shakur’s Rap

    Charles Isherwood

    June 19, 2014: The beats are sweet, and the words often have an electric charge in Holler if Ya Hear Me, a new Broadway musical inspired by the lyrics of the popular but troubled rapper Tupac Shakur, who was shot and killed at 25 in Las Vegas in 1996. Unfortunately, much else about this ambitious show, which opened on Thursday at the Palace Theater, 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. Written by Todd Kreidler and directed by Kenny Leon, a Tony winner this year for the revival of A Raisin in the Sun, the show admirably yanks the jukebox musical, which has mostly been mired in the hit parade of the baby-boomer years, into the last decade of the 20th century. It was then that Shakur’s raw, propulsive music struck a powerful chord, especially among disaffected black (and white) youth living in poverty amid explosive violence, while America was supposedly firing on all economic cylinders.

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  • ASSOCIATED PRESS REVIEW OF Holler If Ya Hear Me

    Review: Tupac Shakur musical tests limits of rap

    Mark Kennedy

    June 19, 2014: Broadway has had a punk jukebox musical with Green Day songs and one featuring harmonies by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. There's a jukebox show with Abba songs and a new Carole King one. Now it's time for rap. Holler If Ya Hear Me is the intriguing musical inspired by songs by Tupac Shakur, one of hip-hop's greatest artists who wrote about the ugly life in the drug-fueled mean streets before dying of gunshot wounds in 1996. The high-energy, deeply felt but ultimately overwrought production opened Thursday in a blaze of N-words at the Palace Theatre, proving both that rap deserves its moment to shine on a Broadway stage and that some 20 Shakur songs can somehow survive the transformation — barely.

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  • HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW OF Holler If Ya Hear Me

    'Holler If Ya Hear Me': Theater Review

    David Rooney

    June 19, 2014: John Singleton can relax. Any danger of his long-in-development Tupac Shakur biopic being beaten to the punch by Holler If Ya Hear Me is quickly dispelled by the deflating experience of this well-intentioned but toothless Broadway rap musical. The show is not a biographical drama but a story of friendship and family, gun violence, racism and redemption in an inner-city black neighborhood, inspired by Shakur's lyrics and poetry. However, therein lies the problem. The music is often powerful and the performers uniformly capable, but the songs are a poor fit for narrative presentation, at least in writer Todd Kreidler's cut-and-paste of cliched situations and stock characters.

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  • NBC NEW YORK REVIEW OF Holler If Ya Hear Me

    Review: Tupac's Gangsta Rap Comes to Broadway in "Holler If Ya Hear Me"

    Robert Kahn

    June 19, 2014: It’s a safe bet that a swath of theatergoers has steered clear of hip-hop—at least, the kind not scripted by In the Heights composer Lin-Manuel Miranda—because it’s gritty, racy and has a perception problem in some quarters. If that’s you, then Holler If Ya Hear Me, the Broadway musical “inspired by” the lyrics of Tupac Shakur, is a chance to correct a grave omission. If, however, you’ve been on the Tupac train all along, then Holler, which has just opened at The Palace Theatre, is a banner opportunity to stand in awe of a rich canon that, it’s difficult to grasp, originated with a man who died at only 25.

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF Holler If Ya Hear Me

    Holler if Ya Hear Me: Theater review by David Cote

    David Cote

    June 19, 2014: In theory, hip-hop ought to have a bigger presence in mainstream music-theater by now: Broadway showstoppers have never been short on rhyme, syncopation or populist sentiment. Practice is a different matter. While there have been rap-rich musicals (In the Heights), the fusion of hip-hop and razzle-dazzle has been tricky at best, tacky at worst. The latest attempt is Holler if Ya Hear Me, a ghetto-not-so-fabulous repurposing of songs by Tupac Shakur (1971–96) for a ramshackle morality tale about revenge and second chances.

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