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Madonna attends preview of Tupac Broadway musical on late rapper's 43rd birthday

FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2013, file photo, U.S. pop star Madonna smiles during her visit at the

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FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2013, file photo, U.S. pop star Madonna smiles during her visit at the "Hard Candy Fitness" center in Berlin. Madonna attended a preview of "Holler If Ya Hear Me" in New York City on Monday, June 16, 2014, which would have been the her friend and rapper Tupac Shakur's 43rd birthday. Shakur died in 1996 at age 25. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)

NEW YORK, N.Y. - One of Tupac Shakur's old friends celebrated his birthday by seeing a new play inspired by his music.

Madonna attended a preview of "Holler If Ya Hear Me" in New York City on Monday, which would have been the rapper's 43rd birthday. Shakur died in 1996 at age 25.

The musical officially opens Thursday at the Palace Theatre. It uses Shakur's songs to tell an original story about two young men dealing with life and tragedy in a Midwestern industrial city. Recent Tony winner Kenny Leon is directing.

Madonna sat in the third row. Shakur's mother and show producer, Afeni Shakur, also attended.

"Holler If Ya Hear Me" uses some of the rap genius' well-known songs, including "California Love," ''Dear Mama," ''I Get Around" and "Keep Ya Head Up."

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