Freestyle Love Supreme
“Fast, furious, funny, and wildly entertaining.”
—The Hollywood Reporter
“An experience that will take you blissfully out of yourself. Freestyle Love Supreme puts you in your happy place.” –The Washington Post
Before Hamilton, before In the Heights, there was Freestyle Love Supreme. Now — direct from Broadway — the original hip hop musical phenomenon from Thomas Kail, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Anthony Veneziale is coming to Portland.
The subject of the recently released Hulu documentary We are Freestyle Love Supreme, every performance of this Grammy-nominated show brings the unexpected, as the crew takes the crowd on a freestyle, hip-hop, improvisational comedy ride. The performers take suggestions from the audience and spin them into instantaneous riffs and full-length musical numbers. See it for the first time — each time — as no two shows are ever the same. A “delightfully wit-laced evening of comedy rap for a wide range of ages” (The Washington Post).
“Just as you were thinking that life has no rhyme nor reason these days, along comes Freestyle Love Supreme to pump you full of hope.” –The New York Times
If you happened to be in the Bronx on August 11, 1973, and you had a few quarters in your pocket, you may have become a witness to a world-changing event. At a Back to School Jam hosted in the rec room of his apartment complex, DJ Kool Herc, a teenage Jamaican immigrant, singularly invented a new art form that would evolve into a global phenomenon.
Joelle Garguilo of "New York Like" talks with Anthony Veneziale and Aneesa Folds about the evolution of Freestyle Love Supreme.
Calling all readers! Multnomah County Library put together a reading list inspired by our production of Freestyle Love Supreme.
Freestyle Love Supreme
Conceived by Anthony Veneziale
Created by Thomas Kail, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anthony Veneziale
Richard Baskin Jr.
Jay C. Ellis
Cody Renard Richard
National Press Representative
Candi Adams PR
Production Stage Manager
Hudson Theatrical Associates
Andy Jones & James Hickey
Directed by Thomas Kail
Freestyle Love Supreme is
Andrew Bancroft aka Jelly Donut
Richard Baskin Jr. aka Rich Midway
Jay C. Ellis aka Jellis J
Kaila Mullady aka Kaiser Rözé
Morgan Reilly aka Hummingbird
James Rushin aka Not Draggin
Dizzy Senze aka Dizzy
Chris Sullivan aka Shockwave
Anthony Veneziale aka Two Touch
Founding members of Freestyle Love Supreme
Christopher Jackson, Thomas Kail, Arthur Lewis, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Bill Sherman, Chris Sullivan, Anthony Veneziale
Laurel Jane Vonderau
The Cast & Creative Team
Andrew is a writer and performer in New York. He made his Broadway debut with Freestyle Love Supreme in 2019. He is a co-founder of FLS Academy and a member of the band Moondrunk. As rapper Jelly Donut, he has been featured in MTV’s “TRL,” Rolling Stone, and Time. Andrew writes musicals and is an award-winning ad writer/creative director. He loves whales. He is grateful to FLS, his family, and his friends for their love and support. IG: @mcjellyd.
Richard is a pianist, vocalist, songwriter, and actor. Favorite pastimes include exploring food, languages, and cultures! He has worked with world-renowned artists, including Bobby McFerrin, George Benson, Ben Folds,- and Kurt Elling. Freestyle Love Supreme was his first Broadway show and he is elated to be on tour with FLS.
Jay is honored to join FLS, repping LGBTQ+ perspectives in hip-hop! Off-Broadway: Black Hole Wedding (Signature), Saturday Night Fever (TRW). Regional: Passing Strange, Chess (Playhouse Square). Film: Wormwood Falling (Shreek Theater), Poncho (Corin Michalski), Interrogation (Stephen Caple Jr.). Created/directed BARS, hip-hop musical, Playhouse Square and Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music (alma mater). Instructor @ FLS Academy. Gratitude @ Vicky, Scott, Greg, Dr. Weagraff #BWMT! Love @ Kyle. Woof @ Bagley. Mama&Pops forever. Instagram: @Jellis14. Twitter: @Too_JEllis. Website: jayellis.net.
Kaila is the 2015 and 2018 world beatbox champion. She travels the world incorporating singing, beatboxing, and theater to push the boundaries of storytelling and show just what the human instrument is capable of. She is passionate about teaching others how to beatbox through her Beatbox Education Platform, The Academy of Noise.
Morgan is thrilled to be joining the FLS family! A singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Allentown, Pa., her original music can be found on all streaming platforms. A world of gratitude to Mom, Dad, Ian, Peter, Marianne, German, and her incredible team. Every show is for you, Grandpop. Instagram/TikTok/Voisey: iammorganreilly.
James recently made his Broadway debut in Freestyle Love Supreme. New York City-based multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, and music director James is often at work developing new shows and new bands. Most recently on Far From Canterbury and as Slappi/ Bass in Eighth Grade President. @not_dragging.
Dizzy is a lyrical assassin and multimedia artist. Hailing from The Bronx, Dizzy is no stranger to the constant need for expression. She has engineered for powerhouse corporations (Nickelodeon, Interscope Records, etc.), photographed top-tier artists and companies (KRS-One, Sesame Street, etc.), and shared the stage with legendary artists (Kendrick Lamar, Talib Kweli, etc.). Whether through jam sessions or big stages, Dizzy’s goal is always finding new ways to change the world.
Chris has appeared on “The Electric Company,” “The Daily Show,” “The Real Housewives of NYC,” “SportsNation,” The Hamilton Mixtape, and various programming for MTV and College Humor. Shockwave has trained and performed with The UCB Theatre, The PIT, Annoyance Theatre and Beatboxer Entertainment, and is a co-creator of the FLS Academy. Love and gratefulness to the Ars Nova family, Foxboro High School Music Program, Angus MacGyver, Britt, and Yoda. @offbookbeatbox.
Anthony is a conceiver and co-creator of FLS and FLS Academy. Founding member of American Immigrants (San Francisco). He has used improv techniques to create endeavors for television (Cartoon Network, Sesame Workshop, Boardwalk Pictures), for theater (FLS, The Freeze, American Immigrants), and for business (TED, Google, Adobe, Salesforce, and many more). He is a co-founder of speechlessinc.com, an improv thinking company that helps humans create, collaborate, and find their authentic voice, as well as co-founder of the FLS Academy where we use equitable play to foster diverse communities of creative voices. Stage: Freestyle Love Supreme, Servicemen. TV: “Sex and the City,” “Looking,” “Kid of the Year.” Special thanks to all my teachers including Caricia, Jett and Oci — the loves of my life.
Broadway directing credits include Hamilton, In the Heights, Lombardi, and Magic/Bird. Off-Broadway selected directing credits include the world premiere of Hamilton, Dry Powder, Tiny Beautiful Things, and Kings at The Public Theater; the world premiere of The Wrong Man at MCC Theater; the world premiere of In the Heights; Brokeology and the world premiere of When I Come to Die at Lincoln Center Theater; and the world premiere of Daphne’s Dive at Signature Theatre. Broadway producing credits include Derren Brown: Secret and Freestyle Love Supreme. Television directing and producing credits include Hamilton on Disney+, “Fosse/Verdon” on FX, and “Grease: Live” on Fox. Graduate of Wesleyan University.
Cody is ecstatic to be back with the FLS fam! Cody has worked on 14 Broadway productions, favorites include Pass Over, Hamilton, Kinky Boots, and After Midnight. TV: “Annie Live!” (upcoming), VMAs, Tony Awards, “Jesus Christ Superstar Live!,” “Hairspray Live!,” “The Wiz Live!” Cirque du Soleil: Paramour, OVO, Wintuk. Other favorites: Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, City Center Encores. Cody has served as adjunct faculty at Columbia, Fordham, and NYU. He has been featured by CNN, Forbes, Variety, and as Out Magazine’s 2020 Out 100 honoree. CRR Scholarship program founder. codyrenard.com. @codyrenard.
Broadway: Hamilton (associate and supervising director), Magic/Bird (AD). Off-Broadway: Freestyle Love Supreme (Greenwich House), Hamilton (The Public Theater), Working (Prospect). Credits include In a Little Room (Ten Bones); Sorin, Six Characters … (Notre Dame); Welcome to the Gun Show (ANT Fest); Nothing Left to Burn (O’Neill semi-finalist, Ars Nova ANT Fest).
FLS at Ars Nova in 2005. Broadway: Act One (Tony Award), The Scottsboro Boys (Tony nomination), Thérèse Raquin (Tony nomination), Come From Away, Be More Chill, The New One, Bernhardt/Hamlet, Meteor Shower, A Bronx Tale, Prince of Broadway, Hand to God, Sondheim on Sondheim, … Spelling Bee, LoveMusik, Rock of Ages, Chaplin, Bronx Bombers, Grace, The Two and Only, On the Town, Sunday in the Park … Off-Broadway: 100 shows.
Freestyle Love Supreme (Broadway and Off-Broadway), West Side Story (IHI Stage Around 360 production in Tokyo), Remember Our Song and Breaking Bricks (Tulsa Ballet). Broadway associate designer of Six, School of Rock, Cats, An American in Paris, The Play That Goes Wrong, The Glass Menagerie, Hair, and Rent (including the national and international tours) and “Rent: Live” on Fox. Twenty years of regional and Off-Broadway design credits. Web series Submissions Only. 3D curator for the Museum of Broadway. lisazinni.com.
Broadway: Bandstand, Falsettos, Holiday Inn, Something Rotten!, Penn & Teller, Newsies, Peter and the Starcatcher, The Pee-wee Herman Show, Next Fall, Mothers and Sons, among others. Off-Broadway includes Beyond Babel, Mac Beth, The Other Josh Cohen, Smokey Joe’s Café, Jerry Springer: The Opera, Tiny Beautiful Things, Cost of Living, and The Last Five Years. Received Tony, Hewes, and Bass Awards and Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Lortel, NAACP, Ovation, and AUDELCO nominations. Jeff is a producer of the 4Wall Roundtable and the animated series “Light Humor.”
Recent Broadway: Freestyle Love Supreme, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, Hadestown (Tony Award), Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, The Cher Show, Bandstand, Bright Star, It Shoulda Been You, Mothers and Sons, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Tony nomination), The Performers, Magic/Bird. More than 30 Broadway productions with Acme Sound Partners and five additional Tony nominations: The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Fences, Hair, In the Heights.
Broadway: Mean Girls, Sunset Boulevard, Tuck Everlasting, If/Then, Cinderella, Peter and the Starcatcher, Wit, Everyday Rapture, Bye Bye Birdie, 9 to 5. Other credits include NBC’s “The Wiz Live!,” MTC, Signature Theatre, MCC. Thank you to Cody and my family!
Broadway: Pass Over, Freestyle Love Supreme, Jagged Little Pill. Off-Broadway: Slave Play; Mlima’s Tale; Stuffed; Picnic; Come Back, Little Sheba. Touring: Once on This Island national tour. Other credits: Grow with Google tour, Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
What Critics Are Saying
"The national tour of “Freestyle Love Supreme,” isn’t a play in the traditional sense. It’s more of a method, a process, a practice of playfulness and collaboration and community." –The Portland Observer
"Freestyle Love Supreme is a joyous celebration of music and life and the act of creating something together." –BroadwayWorld
"The magic happens when these talented folks take that word, headline, or story and transform it into a into a rap song. The possibilities prove endless." –Judy Nedry
"The rappers' mental gymnastics were amazing, not just in rhyming on cue, but in spinning stories and contemporary references." –Portland Tribune
"How often do you get to see one of the original creators of a Tony Award-winning production, perform in their own show, right here in your hometown?" –PDXParent
"Freestyle Love Supreme features talented performers providing non-stop action throughout this fast-paced evening, spinning suggestions from the audience into humorous bits, instantaneous songs and riffs, and fully realized musical numbers." –BroadwayWorld
"If you’ve ever marveled at the cleverness of an improvisational comedy troupe, you’ll be even more amazed that Freestyle Love Supreme manages to infuse their bits with music, rapping, sound effects and percussion." –The Hollywood Reporter
"It’s always entertaining in watching the struggle, sweat and strain of the refrain. With the pulsating beat always driving them on, there’s no place to hide. But when everything falls into place, it’s sublime." –Variety
"What distinguishes Freestyle Love Supreme from other Broadway songfests is that its numbers spring into existence before your very eyes, or ears. And you, dear audience members, are the co-authors of these numbers — feeding the onstage crew the words, ideas, and emotions that they then transform into improbably rhymed performance pieces." –The New York Times
What Audiences Are Saying
"Go see it!! 🔥🔥🔥 we are seriously considering buying tickets to see it a second time before it’s gone."
"Amazing show highly recommend!"
"I bought tickets for a second show!!! YAY!"
"Loved loved loved it!!!"
"Loved it! Ingenious improv and great music! Y’all are so talented!"
"This is a must! So fun!"
"Such a great show! Loved it!"
"It was FABULOUS! Creative, witty & just a lot of FUN. Wow! Their talent was over the top and really kept the audience engaged!"
Seattle Rep Audience Raves
“Talk about soup for the soul! We laughed so hard, danced in our seats, and had our minds blown by the incredibly talented cast. I’m still smiling this morning.”
"If the last two years have gotten you down, go to this show. It is SO MUCH FUN!!! Can’t wait to go again!"
“You may have heard that it was Lin Manuel-Miranda's freestyle hip hop group from college … but it’s SOOOOO much more than that. It’s 90 minutes of sheer joy watching 6 people be creative, take risks, be vulnerable, be brave, and have fun!”
“I've been waiting to see this show since its first run on Broadway, and my Freestyle Love Supreme dreams finally came true tonight.”
“It's been a LONG two years without live theater, and this is the perfect, feel-good, funny, high-energy, show to bring us back together. Improv is fun, but the performers in this show take it to a whole new level.”
"In case you’ve forgotten what fun is, this is it! Such a great show!"
Top of page: Photo by Joan Marcus
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