New Kid on the City Block

Over the years, Broadway has featured everything from Wicked and The Phantom of the Opera to musicals that pushed boundaries like In The Heights and even a limited run of Mike Tyson. So is now the ideal time to consider Tupac: the Musical?


Last week another new musical was announced that is aiming to premiere on Broadway during the 2013/14 season. But unlike some of the other – safer – choices, this new non-biographical musical titled Holla If Ya Hear Me features the music of Tupac and follows two guys growing up in the city.

Upon reading this news, I was a little surprised to hear that it would feature the music of Tupac. I mean if you are to imaging a Venn Diagram with one circle labelled ‘Broadway theatre-goers’ and the other labelled ‘Lovers of Tupac’, I have a feeling that there would be a miniscule (if any) overlap between the two circles.

But think about Broadway’s history. This isn’t the first time boundaries have been pushed. Just in the last couple of years the range of offerings has grown dramatically.

In 2010, American punk rock band Green Day created American Idiot, a rock opera about trying to find the meaning of life set against a series of Green Day songs. In 2012, Mike Tyson opened up in a behind-the-scenes look at his life in The Undisputed Truth. And surprisingly this won’t be the first musical to feature rap music after it was heavily used in the 2008-2011 run of In The Heights.

While In The Heights was a little closer to the usual Broadway show with rap mixed in with salsa numbers, bodegas and traditional musical theatre songs, it is all about stepping stones.

If there is one thing that these three shows proved, it was the old saying ‘If you build it, they will come’. While there may not have been an audience for these styles of shows before they visited Broadway, they encouraged a whole new segment of people to give Broadway a go. And you have to remember that if this new segment of Tupac fans enjoy the show, they may try another offering on Broadway next time.

And from there it is only a few short steps to Wicked!

What do you think? Will a Tupac musical work? Let me know your opinion in the comments below.