A stage production inspired by Tupac Shakur's songs has to end its Broadway run at the Palace Theater early this coming Sunday, July 20 after around 55 performances. Titled after one of the rapper's songs, "Holler If Ya Hear Me", the hip-hop musical was shut down due to lukewarm response from audience.
"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," a representative said. "Tupac's urgent socially important insights and the audiences' nightly rousing standing ovations deserve to be experienced by the world."
The $8 million musical received mixed reviews since its debut on June 19 this year, and none was glowing enough to build strong word of mouth. The ticket sales also never once reached the $200,000 mark. According to Variety, last week attendance came in at just 45% of overall seating capacity.
Last week before the cancellation was announced, producer Eric L. Gold told Variety, "It's week to week right now. ... It's an expensive game. ... I made a rookie mistake by underestimating how much capital was necessary, but I'm tenacious." He added, "If we don't succeed, it's going to be difficult to do another rap or hip-hop show on Broadway."
Producers initially tried to raise $5 million to keep the show, but the plan never came together. "It sounds like I'm begging, but I am," director Kenny Leon said on Tom Joyner's syndicated radio show. "I want folks to run and see it because if they do, I think they'll be rewarded with something that's very meaningful and impactful to their lives."
A Tupac Shakur biopic is also in the works. John Singleton, who once directed the late rapper/actor in 1993's romantic drama "Poetic Justice" opposite Janet Jackson, is on board the project to rewrite, direct and produce the long-gestating movie. The lyricist's mother Afeni Shakur serves as an executive producer.