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Tupac Shakur Musical 'Holler If Ya Hear Me' in Dire Straits on Broadway; Producers Seek Funding

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Jul 11, 2014 10:44 AM EDT | Jon Sobel (j.sobel@classicalite.com)

Tupac Shakur

Tupac Shakur, high on life. (Photo : Ron Galella)

The lead producer of Holler If Ya Hear Me, the first Broadway musical built on rap music and lyrics, is seeking $5 million in new funding in an effort to keep the show open at the Palace Theater, Variety reports.

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With weekly sales below $200,000--extremely low numbers for a Broadway show--the musical based on the lyrics of Tupac Shakur is in dire financial straits. But lead producer Eric L. Gold isn't giving up yet. He and his producing team have always believed it would take time to build up audiences for a show that's outside the bounds of what audiences for Broadway musicals traditionally expect. And the theater's supportive owner, the Nederlander Organization, has not exercised its option to boot the show for low ticket sales.

Reviews have been mixed, the large cast and orchestra are expensive, and the creative team lost 600 seats by reconfiguring the theater into a more intimate space.

Gold, a first-time Broadway producer, admits he miscalculated. "I made a rookie mistake by underestimating how much capital was necessary, but I'm tenacious." In addition to raising funds, he's looking for creative marketing opportunities like those that boosted audiences for the TV shows he's worked on, like In Living Color and Ellen.

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