Saul Williams on Closing of HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME: 'It Was Going to Be an Uphill Battle'
In a new interview with Rolling Stone, HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME star Saul Williams spoke about the recent cancellation of the Tupac Shakur-inspired musical, which was forced to shutter on Sunday, July 20th, after only one month and 55 performances.
While the show's producer Eric Gold cited "financial burdens of Broadway" for the musical's early demise, Williams offered another theory for weak ticket sales, involving Australian rapper Iggy Azalea.
"There is no disconnect between this and Iggy Azalea, an Australian girl rapping with a southern accent, being number one on the charts," said Williams in the interview. "It's all related to where we are right now as a culture and within the culture of the arts."
Williams also opined that 'Holler' was not the type of show that current theater audiences were looking for when they made their ticket purchasing decisions. "Broadway or America prefers their stories packaged like Rocky at this point. So when we're onstage with this thing, we knew that it was going to be a struggle and an uphill battle."
He also said news of the closing came as no surprise to the cast and crew. "Every day at rehearsal, [director] Kenny Leon was saying, "Let's be very clear with the fact that this play is probably going to be hated coming out the gates." We see how full or empty the house is every night. Twenty-six thousand people have seen the play and, of those people, we've had fucking standing ovations every night and tremendous support from the people that have seen it. But the producer, Eric Gold, said to me, "We expect that the first two months are going to be really difficult."
Despite the show's closing, Williams remains optimistic about the future of hip-hop on the Broadway stage. "Who are we fooling? More hip-hop musicals are inevitable if Broadway wishes to survive."
Read the interview in full here!
Photo: Joan Marcus