'Holler If Ya Hear Me' Brings Tupac's Revolutionary Words to Broadway

by Espii

Injustice begets revolutionaries: those that live by the pen or die by the sword. Tupac Shakur’s life was a combination of both, and together they played a role in his tragic death at the age of 25.

Holler If You Hear Me is inspired by Shakur’s life. Saul Willlams stars as John, who finishes a prison stint and moves back to his Midwestern neighborhood. He distrusts the world around him and immerses himself in art and poetry,

His desire to be alone in peace is shaken up when his friend Benny is killed. Suddenly, the neighborhood is split. Mrs. Weston, Corinne, and the other women want the bloodshed to end, while Anthony and Darius want to start a war.

The male characters represent facets of Shakur’s mind. Anthony and Darius are two sides of a coin: the pen and the sword respectively. John represents Tupac’s growth into ‘Makaveli' as a general leading an army to new self-awareness. Meanwhile, the women are the bedrock and strength of the neighborhood.

Shakur’s music takes us inside the characters’ minds. “Dear Mama,” “If I Die 2Nite,” “The Rose That Grew From Concrete,” and “Life Goes On” shows the complexities of life in the hood and the deeper racial and socioeconomic barriers behind it.

Whether you’re a fan of hip-hop or not, Holler If Ya Hear Me is a universal story about the realities of the American dream. As one audience member later said to me, “it’s like Shakespeare. It’s poetry. It’s prose.”

Holler if Ya Hear Me is written by Todd Kreidler and directed by Tony Award winning director Kenny Leon. The show can now be seen at The Palace Theatre