One of the most celebrated rappers of the last two decades was not enough to lure theatergoers to the show. The Tupac Shakur-inspired musical, Holler if Ya Hear Me, will close on Broadway after only six week of performances.
According to The New York Times, one of the show’s lead producers, Eric L. Gold, talked about the economic difficulties of keeping the project open on the Great White Way. In a statement on Monday he said, “I was unable to sustain this production longer in order to give it time to bloom on Broadway.”
Gold also told Variety that he made a “rookie mistake” by not realizing the amount of money it would cost to keep the $8 million musical up and running. The show struggled from the beginning with its top-grossing week coming in at $175,000.
The producer knew what he was up against when he first mounted the show because selling a new vehicle about a hip-hop artist isn’t easy. He shared, “If we don’t succeed, it’s going to be difficult to do another rap or hip-hop show on Broadway.”
However, In the Heights was a 2008 Tony Award-winning show that ran for three years. In comparison, Holler if Ya Hear Me opened to lukewarm reviews and will have only played 17 preview performances and 38 regular performances at the Palace Theatre.
No matter what the end result, Gold is proud of the cast and the social message that Shakur’s lyrics bring to the table.
He summed up in the statement, “We are so proud to be a part of this groundbreaking production. My hope is that a production of this caliber, powerful in its storytelling, filled with great performances and exciting contemporary dance and music will eventually receive the recognition it deserves. Tupac’s urgent socially important insights and the audiences’ nightly rousing standing ovations deserve to be experienced by the world.”
Shakur died in 1996 after being shot while in Las Vegas. His murder has not been solved.