Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon is back from the Berkshire Theatre Festival and is headed to Broadway to direct a revival of “Children of a Lesser God.” But he is not home to rest. Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company just opened “Holler if Ya Hear Me,” a musical based on the songs and poetry of Tupac Shakur.
The show began life on Broadway in 2014, closing just a month into the run with mixed reviews.
"There’s nothing in your life that’s not contained within that music!" playwright Todd Kreidler recalled an animated August Wilson admonishing him. Kreidler would go on to adapt Shakur’s catalog into “Holler” seven years later.
Leon’s involvement dates back to the founding of True Colors and befriending Amaru Shakur, Tupac’s mother.
“We talked about the idea of […] her son’s catalog becoming a Broadway musical,” Leon remembered. “And I said ‘I don’t think it would be autobiographical. I think it should focus on his artistry,’ and she said ‘Absolutely. Because he wrote every single day.’”
“I’ve done Broadway, a lot of musicals, television events,” Leon said. “[This] is probably my best directorial work to date. This is really meaningful.”
“Holler if Ya Hear Me” is playing at the Southwest Fulton Arts Center through Oct. 8.