By Hayden Wright
When Holler if You Hear Me, the musical set to Tupac’s songs and poetry, debuted on Broadway in 2014, it closed prematurely after 17 previews and 38 performances. Now, Atlanta’s True Colors Theater Company has undertaken a revival of the musical, set to debut September 12 in the city’s Cascade Heights neighborhood.
Explaining the decision to resurrect a flop, lead producer Eric L. Gold said that Broadway wasn’t ready for a full-tilt hip-hop musical three years ago. “People have commented to me that it was one moment too soon, and that opening on Broadway was just too ambitious,” he told The New York Times. “Not opening originally in Atlanta is one of my biggest regrets.”
The musical tells the story of John, a recently released prisoner who discovers his best friend and ex-girlfriend are in a relationship. Tragedy and heartache color the story of redemption and social injustice—set to Tupac hits like “I Ain’t Mad at Cha” and “Keep Ya Head Up.”
Creative minds behind the project say the musical has taken on new significance in light of recent events. Todd Kreidler, who wrote the libretto, said, “People are going to see the story through a different lens because of Ferguson and Black Lives Matter.”
Director Kenny Leon says that if the revival does well in Atlanta, he hopes Holler if You Hear Me can stage a national touring production.