They say the neon lights are bright...
Broadway viewers just weren't into a Tupac musical
After just six short weeks on the Great White Way, the Tupac Shakur–themed musical Holler if Ya Hear Me is ending its Broadway run on Sunday. Granted, it is notoriously difficult to predict what will be a hit on Broadway — before it was a huge Broadway success itself, Mel Brooks' The Producers was wryly noting the fickleness of Broadway crowds — but surely a musical about a political rapper was a bigger risk than most.
Last week's half-empty audiences were the last straw, but the $8 million production never brought in more than $175,000 a week, The New York Times reports, making it "one of the worst-selling musicals of recent years." Lead producer Eric L. Gold hinted at the challenge last week, telling Variety that "if we don't succeed, it's going to be difficult to do another rap or hip hop show on Broadway."
In fact, another rap musical, Hamilton, is expected on Broadway in the 2015-16 season. Maybe it will do better against the Disney juggernauts and musicals based on the music of Billy Joel, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and Abba. If you don't get a chance to see Holler before Sunday, here's a taste of the show — and a bullish assessment of its chances — from some of its stars. --Peter Weber