Holler If Ya Hear Me Is More West Side Than Heights

June 18th, 2014 by

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There’s a new musical in town inspired by the musical of late, great rapper Tupac Shakur. And some Broadway fans think rap and then think In the Heights, but we’re here to argue that Holler If Ya Hear Me is much more similar to the ground-breaking and iconic musical West Side Story than In the Heights.

1. There’s A Gang War Brewing on the Streets

Holler- Gang

Photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia

Like the Jets and Sharks before them, the men of Holler are ready to rumble in order to defend their turf.

2. Some Major Dancing Going On

Holler- Dance

Photo by Joan Marcus

Tony-winning choreographer Wayne Cilento ('Tommy,' 'Wicked,' 'Aida') really worked to make the movement realistic while at the same time stylish and impressive.

3. A Guy Who Got Out But Gets Dragged Back In

Holler- Saul

Photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia

Remember how Tony was out free, working an honest job before Riff visited him at Doc’s and begged him to attend the dance at gym? Well here, Saul William’s character John recently left prison in order to start a new honest life…but like all good intentions.

4. There’s A Wiser, Older Character One Degree Removed From the Street War

Holler- Weston- Tonya

Photo by Joan Marcus

As Mrs. Weston, the block’s matriarch, Tony winner Tonya Pinkins has all the wisdom of 'West Side’s Doc but with that fabulous Anita flair.

5. There’s an Against-All-Odds Love Story

Holler- Love

Photo by Joan Marcus

Love can bloom even in the worst of conditions.

6. “I Get Around/Keep Ya Head Up” Is Like an Amped Up “America.”

Holler Mash Up

Photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia

Okay, if you love “America” in 'West Side Story' the movie (where it’s boys vs. girls) then you are going to lose your mind at 'Holler's first act mash-up.

7. There’s a Sweet Baby John Type Who Melts Your Heart

Holler- Baby

Photo by Joan Marcus

Broadway newcomer Dyllon Burnside plays Anthony, a young guy ready to go to war to avenge the death of his friend. Sounds hardcore until you see his sweet baby face.

8. “Thugz Mansion” Is Totally the “Somewhere” Number

Holler- Thugz

“Somewhere” is beautiful but it’s such a downer, at 'Holler' the utopian number has a real kick to it.

9. Holler Isn’t Afraid to Kill Off Characters

West Side Story- Rumble- original broadway cast

No spoilers, but 'Holler' also keeps it real.

10. It’s Ground-Breaking


Holler might later be viewed as a show ahead of its time. In the same way we look back and say, “How in the world didn’t the iconic West Side Story win Best Musical?”

Check out ‘Holler If Ya Hear Me’ at Broadway’s Palace Theatre.