Renowned actor/rapper Saul Williams has stepped up to address the headline-generating news of his 2Pac-inspired Holler If Ya Hear Me musical coming to an unexpected end this week.
With nightly standing ovations and packed shows, Williams singled out the musical’s reviewers.
“The idea of having a play that centers around, How do you stop the cycles of gun violence in our community? It’s weird to hear someone feel like the story is generic when it’s the front page of every f*cking paper to date. And when you look at the reviews and compare them to everything from Do the Right Thing to Menace II Society, it’s always the same f*cking review. There’s actually a generic response when I don’t think critics realize they’re playing into the hands of something that runs deeper than how this made you feel.” (Rolling Stone)
Saul also questioned if the musical’s shocking end boiled down to something bigger than critics.
“Basically, I’m starting to think that there’s some deeper sociological reasoning behind this.” And that’s where I am. I think it’s something deeper. There is no disconnect between this and Iggy Azalea, an Australian girl rapping with a southern accent, being Number One on the charts. It’s all related to where we are right now as a culture and within the culture of the arts.” (Rolling Stone)
Reports earlier this month revealed financial complications would force the production to stop prematurely.
In a statement on Monday night, one of the lead producers, Eric L. Gold, blamed the show’s closing on “the financial burdens of Broadway” and added, “I was unable to sustain this production longer in order to give it time to bloom on Broadway.” Mr. Gold also recently told Variety that he made a “rookie mistake” by underestimating the amount of capital necessary to keep the $8 million show running. (New York Times)
Producer Eric L. Gold had acknowledged how much effort went into “Holler If Ya Hear Me.”
In his statement on Monday, Mr. Gold said: “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. My hope is that a production of this caliber, powerful in its story-telling, filled with great performances and exciting contemporary dance and music will eventually receive the recognition it deserves.” He added, “Tupac’s urgent socially important insights and the audiences’ nightly rousing standing ovations deserve to be experienced by the world.” (New York Times)