Hip-Hop icon Tupac Shakur’s work has inspired cover songs, books, and university courses, and now the late emcee’s music will serve as the basis for the upcoming play, Holler If Ya Hear Me , by celebrated Broadway director Kenny Leon.
The title was taken from the 2Pac song of the same name off his sophomore album Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. The musical features a book by Todd Kreidler and choreography by Tony Award winner Wayne Cilento.
Leon’s Holler If Ya Hear Me is the story of two childhood friends and their associates as they try to overcome the struggles of life in the inner-city.
“The idea was always to make a musical inspired by his music and not to do an autobiographical approach to his life or anything like that,” Leon told NPR in 2011. “And because I always thought that Tupac was a prophet and I thought if everybody could hear his words and hear his stories, they would see what I see.”
Leon came to prominence in the theater world for directing a revival of A Raisin in the Sun that starred Sean “Diddy” Combs and Phylicia Rashād. He also directed Denzel Washington and Viola Davis to Tony Award wins in August Wilson’s Fences.
He recently helmed Lifetime Network’s all African-American rendition of Steel Magnolias featuring Rashād, Queen Latifah, and Alfre Woodard.
According Broadwayworld.com, The Clark Atlanta University graduate will be directing a five-week summer developmental workshop of Holler If Ya Hear Me in New York running from June 3rd – July 7.
Holler If Ya Hear Me has been in development for several years, but with Leon, Kreidler, and Cilento conducting an informal run through this summer, 2Pac and Broadway fans may not have to wait much longer to experience the Hip-Hop musical.