Saul Williams to play Tupac in Broadway musical

Acotor, poet and musican will play the rapper in the non-biographical drama

Saul Williams will play Tupac Shakur in a new Broadway musical, it has been confirmed.

According to Billboard, Williams will lead the cast of the non-biographical drama, which is based on the late rapper’s lyrics. He is best known as the star and co-writer of Marc Levin’s 1998 film Slam.

The hip-hop-themed stage show, titled Hollar If Ya Hear Me, will start its run at the Palace Theater in New York on June 19 and is being overseen by stage director Kenny Leon. Preview performances for the show will begin on May 26.

Williams will star as John, while the cast also features Broadway actors Christopher Jackson, Tony Award-winning Tonya Pinkins, as well as Saycon Sengbloh, Ben Thompson and and John Earl Jelks.

The $8 million (£4.8 million) production will feature songs from throughout the rapper’s career, including classics such as ‘California Love’, ‘Keep Ya Head Up’, ‘Me Against The World’ and the musical’s title song, ‘Hollar If Ya Hear Me’.

The script, written by Todd Kreidler, is not about the rapper’s life story but instead focuses on his music. It tells the story of two childhood friends living in a poor Midwestern industrial city. In a statement, the show’s producers say the show will be a tale of “friendship, family, revenge, change and hope”.

A long-delayed Tupac biopic, which will tell the rapper’s life story, is due to begin shooting this year. Tupac was killed in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas in 1996.