A musical based solely on Tupac's music. Yes, please! I knew about this production before previews even started and I was determined to see it. This show hit a personal nerve with me for some reason. I felt that it addressed an issue that almost went as the elephant in the room. The struggles that went on in the world that no one really wanted to discuss.
That being said... my observations of the audience were interesting. Now, being "ethnic" I noticed I was surrounded by people who, lets say, lacked the same socioeconomic background as I. They had to have known what they were about to witness, in some sense, right? This is a show solely based upon Tupac's music, one of the most influential rappers of all time. And he wasn't subtle about anything and sure didn't hold back. So, should they really have been so shocked when the n word was said?
I also noticed that there were groups of teens in the mezzanine. I felt I should have been seated in the mezzanine. It was odd because I felt at times those teens didn't follow theater etiquette, doing things like calling out when they got excited about songs when they heard the intros. My professional self and my teenage self were fighting with each other because I shared that same excitement. I continued to think that it was just me feeling the beat and wanting to sing along. But then I began to get signals from my fellow audience members in the orchestra. There was a man sitting by me that had the most grouchy look on his face. Yet, his foot was tapping along to the beat. It was almost funny, in a way.
BUT show wise. The energy was always there. I was moved into my own world, despite the audience atmosphere. It was like a calming adrenaline rush. The musical used Tupac's words in a way where it didn't lose its meaning. But it felt different and new, something I liked as a fan of Tupac's work. The rhythmic sounds, the dancing, the musicality, felt lush. It was infused with the many demands of every day life. To me, it felt so true and relatable.
It honestly left me HOLLERING. Long live the rose that grew from concrete!!!