On October 29, Lin-Manuel Miranda announced that his improvisational hip-hop group, Freestyle Love Supreme, will be back on stage or 32 performances from January 30 through March 2 at Ars Nova’s Greenwich House Theatre, that next year will house the Off Broadway nonprofit Ars Nova. The announcement was made throught a video at the NOVA BALL 2018 and shared on Twitter by the group official account.
Tickets available here.
WE. ARE. FREESTYLE. LOVE. SUPREME!!! And we’re coming back this winter from Jan 30 – March 2 at @ArsNova! Watch @Lin_Manuel‘s announcement video from tonight’s #NovaBall. [mic drop] https://t.co/kTqhKO8N5h pic.twitter.com/a9SK3THWEc
— freestylelove (@freestylelove) 30 ottobre 2018
NEW YORK TIMES: Before “Hamilton” or “In the Heights” hit Broadway, Lin-Manuel Miranda honed many of his artistic skills by performing live, improvisatory hip-hop with a group of like-minded friends.
Now Mr. Miranda and his tight cadre of post-college collaborators are bringing that group, Freestyle Love Supreme, back to the stage; Mr. Miranda will be a producer and an occasional guest performer, but not a regular member of the cast.
“It is as addictive as Twitter once you realize you can get in front of an audience and make up a hip-hop show in real time,” he said. “I am going to jump in for as much as my life allows. But the show will not be dependent on me being there.”
Freestyle Love Supreme, which first hit the stage in 2004, performs spoken and sung numbers, accompanied by keyboards and beats, that are formulated in real time based on suggestions — words or themes — from audience members. The group’s name is a tribute to “A Love Supreme,” the John Coltrane jazz suite.
The group has performed at a variety of festivals and venues around the world and had a brief life on television. It will now reconvene for a sustained Off Broadway run from Jan. 30 to March 2 at the Greenwich House Theater; each show will be 80 minutes long.
“Freestyle Love Supreme probably has shaped my writing more than any other creative endeavor I’ve been a part of, because it’s writing in real time in front of an audience with nothing but your brain and your friends,” Mr. Miranda said.
The regular cast will feature Andrew Bancroft, Arthur Lewis, Bill Sherman, Chris Sullivan, Anthony Veneziale and Utkarsh Ambudkar; the producers hope guest performers will include alumni Christopher Jackson, James Monroe Iglehart and Daveed Diggs, all of whom have performed in “Hamilton,” as well as Mr. Miranda.
Embracing a practice used by some comedians, the show will require that patron cellphones be checked at the door.
“You want a real freestyle show, put your phones away,” Mr. Miranda said. “You’ll get to see something you’ll never see again. It’ll make a better audience experience, because the performers onstage are free and you’re fully present for it.”
Mr. Miranda is best known as a writer and performer and the creator of “In the Heights” and “Hamilton.” This run of Freestyle Love Supreme will mark his debut as a stage producer; the other producers include Thomas Kail, who directed “Hamilton” and “Heights” and directs Freestyle Love Supreme; Jill Furman, who is one of the lead producers of “Hamilton,” and Jon Steingart.
“Most of the quotes that we kick back and forth all these years later are from some Freestyle show in Edinburgh or Australia or Brooklyn,” Mr. Kail said. “We’ve been doing one-offs for years, while looking for an opportunity to do it again, and now we’ve found a window.”
Freestyle Love Supreme, which was formed while Mr. Miranda and Mr. Kail were working on “In the Heights,” was originally among the first productions of the Off Broadway nonprofit Ars Nova when it moved to West 54th Street. Next year, Ars Nova is shifting its home base to the Greenwich House Theater, and it is renting the space to the Freestyle production; the Freestyle plans were announced Monday night at an Ars Nova gala.
“There’s something exhilarating about sharing this with fans who haven’t seen it in a minute,” Mr. Kail said, “as well as an entirely new audience.”