BY MELISSA RUGGIERI /firstname.lastname@example.org
After only 55 performances, “Holler If Ya Hear Me,” the musical that pulled from the catalog of rap great Tupac Shakur, is closing on Broadway. Its final show will be Sunday.
“Holler”‘s Atlanta-based director, Kenny Leon, confirmed the show’s early demise in an email late Monday night.
“I have never been more proud of a project or group of artists, nor the audiences that found their way to the Palace Theatre to see this groundbreaking musical theater piece,” Leon said.
As recently as Monday morning, Leon was promoting the show on the Tom Joyner radio show. Producers had hoped to raise $5 million to keep the musical open, but the funding didn’t come quickly enough.
“It saddens me that due to the financial burdens of Broadway, I was unable to sustain this production longer in order to give it time to bloom on Broadway,” producer Eric L. Gold said in a statement.
For the week ending July 13, the musical took in only $154,948 at the box office and played to a 45.4-percent full audience with an average ticket price of $38.44, according to Playbill.
The long-in-the-works musical was close to Leon’s heart. During the preview period of the musical, which began in early June, he spoke passionately about wanting to bring a different audience to Broadway and enlightening theater-goers about the depth of Shakur’s music.
But despite the disappointing news that “Holler” is done, the Tony Award-winning Leon remains optimistic.
“We continue to push for diversity on the American stage in every conceivable way…’Holler If Ya Hear Me’ reminds us that some of our young Americans just want to be heard, and if we listen closely enough we may hear something that impacts all of our lives,” he said. “I am pretty positive that this musical will find its way around the world. It’s been a joy to be just a small part of its creation.”