This photo provided by Boneau/Bryan-Brown shows Christopher Jackson, right, and Tonya Pinkins in a scene from "Holler If Ya Hear Me" at the Palace Theatre in New York. (AP Photo/Boneau/Bryan-Brown, Joan Marcus)
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NEW YORK:Broadway has had a punk jukebox musical with Green Day songs and one featuring harmonies by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. There's a jukebox show with Abba songs and a new Carole King one. The high-energy, deeply felt but ultimately overwrought production opened Thursday in a blaze of N-words at the Palace Theatre, proving both that rap deserves its moment to shine on a Broadway stage and that some 20 Shakur songs can somehow survive the transformation -- barely.Writer Todd Kreidler and director Kenny Leon wisely avoided writing a Shakur biography and instead have fashioned a fictional story in a traditional two-act format, compete with reprises. The danger is that the urgent, free verse style of Shakur's very personal songs gets diffused, lightened and flattened.More troubling, the repetition of the me-against-the-world point of view in Shakur's songs doesn't always help move the story forward onstage.
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