Actor Saul Williams Says This Change Could Have Saved 'Holler If Ya Hear Me'

Saul Williams said the death of Michael Brown and the protests that followed may have impacted how the show was received.

Actor Saul Williams, who starred in the musical "Holler If Ya Hear Me," believes there are a few things that could have saved the show from its early demise.

The Tupac-inspired production had a tough time attracting patrons and closed just six weeks after its Broadway premiere in the summer of 2014. But according to Williams, the play may have fared better if it opened a few months later.

When Williams sat down with HuffPost Live to discuss his latest album "MartyrLoserKing," he said the messages in the musical, which detailed the struggles of a midwestern industrial city, would have been much more potent after the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

It would have changed everything if it came out that September. It's horrible for me to say that because … by that time, we had the death of Michael Brown and then Eric Garner, and so instead of being on stage during that time, I found myself in the streets being one of the thousands of people stomping up the West Side Highway or the Triborough Bridge or what have you marching through the streets of New York. But if we were on the stage at that time, we would have been addressing exactly what we were already addressing.

While Williams said the production drew A-list audience members like Harry Belafonte and Madonna, its subject matter may have also prevented the word-of-mouth favorability that could have driven theatre-goers to the show. In fact, Williams told Rolling Stone in 2014 that the production threw together a last-minute street team to "counter those TKTS people" that weren't promoting "Holler."

"When those people standing in the center of Times Square who were talking to tourists who were asking like, 'What should I go see? I'm in New York for two days and I have the family with me!'" he told HuffPost Live. "They're like, 'Well, there's 'Rocky the Musical,' which is really fun. There's 'Cinderella' … There's ['Holler if Ya Hear Me,'] which has a bit of profanity. It's a bit of a downer, but it's really well done.'"

Unfortunately, the play may not have fit the lighthearted material that potential viewers were looking for, Williams said. 

"I think that goes to my argument about aligning entertainment with escapism," he added. 

Watch the full HuffPost Live interview with Saul Williams here

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