Review: ‘Freestyle Love Supreme’ Exhibits Improv Talent


The Freestyle Love Supreme group standing on stage during a curtain call on their Broadway 2021 run. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Imagine a show that you can see every night and have vastly different experiences. Whether you’re impressed, confused, or thinking “is that not just improv,” I guarantee you’ve never seen a show like Freestyle Love Supreme: a fully improvised hip-hop musical.

The group was originated in 2004 by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail, and Anthony Veneziale. I will admit that it is a little difficult to write a review of a musical that is different every time it is performed. However, I will attempt to give a behind-the-scenes look.

I think this show transcends a simple improv show. If you’re lucky enough to go on the right night, you will bear witness to quick-thinking lyrics, catchy beats, hilarious topics, and once in a while, strokes of genius.

When the show begins, which is often ten minutes late, the actors walk out and do a “microphone check,” welcoming the audience to the show.

They follow with a variety of improv scenes, from special guest highlights—which change every night: Tina Fey appeared once on the Broadway version—to re-enacting an embarrassing moment given by an audience member.

I thought I would be disappointed that I didn’t get to see Hamilton stars Lin-Manuel Miranda and Chris Jackson, but I found myself not missing a thing.

If you’re lucky enough to go on the right night, you will bear witness to quick-thinking lyrics, catchy beats, hilarious topics, and once in a while, strokes of genius.”

Each of the actors is brilliant. From Aneesa Folds (Young Nees) to Anthony Veneziale (Two Touch) to the beatboxers Kaila Mullady and Chris Sullivan, it seems as if the performers can do anything.

I constantly found my mind blown by their quick wits and ability to connect to the audience with references from popular culture to shows to current events.

Their ability to come up with rhymes and verses on the spot was immaculate, and the fact that they successfully blended their voices together to create on-the-spot music was incredibly impressive.

They also were able to delve deep into topics that matter. In one slower section of the show which they preface with “everything we are about to say is true,” the actors focus on one specific topic given by an audience member but chosen by the cast, and share their personal experiences.

The first night I attended, the cast chose “women,” and shared a powerful message about the important women in their life, even touching on the history of how women joined Freestyle Love Supreme itself.

This segment was the most emotional yet moving aspect of the show, and even though it was my first time seeing the performance, it made me feel honored to be part of something bigger than myself.

Although the show is on tour at the moment—they’re currently in Portland, Oregon—the group has a Hulu documentary that I would highly recommend.

If you ever do get the chance to attend a live performance, however, you won’t want to miss a night of hilarity, fun, and meaning.