Posted by | Ray Cornelius
It’s hard out here for a pimp Black Broadway musical…
Tony-winning director, Kenny Leon’s hip hop-inspired musical, Holler If Ya Hear Me is closing its doors on July 20 due to slow box office sales.
According to VARIETY, Holler didn’t attract a big enough audiences to sustain the $8 million dollar production costs. Based on the music and not the life of the late Tupac Shakur, the show was already seen as an ambitious undertaking—even for the New York stage. Considering that most of Broadway’s demos are “older and white,” producers were banking on the younger hip-hop crowd to come and support the show but that simply was not the case. It is also being said that not promoting Holler in national markets that have been might be more receptive to the title like Atlanta or D.C.was another possible factor in the show’s demise.
“We are so proud to be a part of this ground breaking production. The cast, musicians, production and creative teams gave more than just their professional excellence but contributed their passion as well,” said show producer Eric L. Gold in a statement. “My hope is that a production of this calibre, powerful in its story telling, filled with great performances and exciting contemporary dance and music will eventually receive the recognition it deserves. 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. Tupac’s urgent socially important insights and the audiences’ nightly rousing standing ovations deserve to be experienced by the world.”
Holler is the second Black Broadway musical to shut down within the last month. If you recall, the jazz-inspired Duke Ellington show, After Midnight closed its doors at the end of June after only eight months. The lavish production, featured a litany of rotating artists including Fantasia, Dule Hill, Vanessa Williams, Toni Braxton, Babyface and Patti LaBelle. However, all of that star power was not enough to sustain the show. Producers were even considering taking After Midnight on a national tour to keep it going but its not clear if that was ever worked out.
RC will keep you posted as this continues to develop.
Photo Credits: NYTimes.com and BroadwayWorld.com