This Month on Broadway: Sting takes off in Chicago, 'Holler If Ya Hear Me' closing

By Marcina Zaccaria ,

Summer is really heating up on Broadway. With favorite Broadway shows still running and new musicals making it to the Great White Way, it is a stellar season.

Sting’s new musical, which opened to audiences in Chicago, is getting some advance buzz before its Broadway run. However, Holler if Ya Hear Me, the musical based on songs by legendary rapper, Tupac Shakur, is closing early.

Sting's The Last Ship, is making a splash with critics in Chicago. The Last Ship takes place in Wallsend, and tells the story of ship builders with vessels. Actor Gideon Fletcher, dreams of the new world. The musical was announced almost a year ago and has been having a trial run in Chicago.

The Last Ship” is, undeniably, an original, dignified, modestly scaled, intentionally symbolic, unabashedly irony-free (and narrator-free) musical with a carefully plotted book by John Logan, (with earlier work by Brian Yorkey)," Chris Jones of The Chicago Tribune wrote. “The Last Ship has a potent story, a physical look that impresses with its lean muscularity and a beautiful song-suite.”

Whether or not the producers make any changes before the Broadway opening is unknown. The Last Ship is scheduled to play on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre, with performances beginning in New York on Sept. 30.

Holler if Ya Hear Me, the new Tupac Shakur show is closing early. The musical is based on songs from the late rapper, including “California Love.” Tupac died in 1996 of gunshot wounds.

Mark Kennedy from the Associated Press, said of the musical, “The high-energy, deeply felt but ultimately overwrought production opened Thursday in a blaze of N-words at the Palace Theatre, proving both that rap deserves its moment to shine on a Broadway stage and that some 20 Shakur songs can somehow survive the transformation - barely.”

Barely is right. The show will be closing its doors after only 38 performances and 17 preview shows. This is a disappointment for hopefuls of the jukebox musical. Previews began on June 2, and the musical starred Saul Williams and co-starred Christopher Jackson. It was co-produced by Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur.

image courtesy of Kristin Callahan/ACE/INFphoto.com



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