A new Broadway musical based on the songs of late rap icon Tupac Shakur has drawn mixed reviews following its official opening on Thursday (19Jun14).
Acclaimed director Kenny Leon, who won a Tony Award earlier this month (Jun14) for his revival of A Raisin In the Sun, put together Holler If Ya Hear Me, a non-biographical show featuring a love story set to the hip-hop star's tracks.
The production, which was staged with the blessing of the California Love hitmaker's mother and estate executor Afeni Shakur, launched at New York's Palace Theatre on Thursday, but the musical has split critics.
The New York Daily News' Joe Dziemianowicz praises lead actor Saul Williams' portrayal of John, a self-taught artist who attempts to stay out of trouble after being released from prison, branding his performance "magnetic".
However, Dziemianowicz laments the "predictability" of the show's storyline, despite a "vibrant, raw and rousing" production - sentiments echoed by critics for both Variety and The New York Times.
The Times' Charles Isherwood insists the "beats are sweet, and the words often have an electric charge", but claims the "ambitious" show feels "heavy-handed", while The Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney was less than impressed, dismissing the show as "misconceived" and "destined to fall on deaf ears".