Hamilton‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda has teamed up with director Thomas Kail to bring the hip-hop dance group Freestyle Love Supreme back to the stage.
Before Miranda’s accomplishments on Broadway, he could be found performing alongside friends in an improv hip-hop group. The Broadway star just finished performing as the title role character in the Puerto Rico run of Hamilton, and will now focus on bringing the group back to life. While he won’t be a regular member of the cast, Miranda will produce the show with Kail and occasionally, he’ll take the stage for a guest performance.
Freestyle Love Supreme hit the stage back in 2004 while Miranda and his friend Anthony Veneziale were developing the Tony Award-winning show In The Heights. The group revolved their performance around keyboard and beats. Members of the audience would suggest words or themes, and then the group would take-off, singing and performing on the spot.
“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,” Miranda 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.”
Kail explained that during the development of In The Heights, he often witnessed Veneziale grabbing Miranda to work during breaks and they duo would rehearse and freestyle.
“When I heard them, I knew they were on to something special,” Kail said in a statement. “We spent years crafting the show after that, and many of our favorite, and most hilarious memories, are from Freestyle Love Supreme shows. We’ve been waiting for just the right moment to bring the show back to New York. It’s time!”
The freestyle show is set to take place Off-Broadway from January 30 to March 2 at New York City’s Greenwich House Theater. Each performance will last 80 minutes and cell phones will not be allowed in the theater. Miranda explained that in order for audience members to experience a “real freestyle show,” it’s important to be fully present, without electronics.
“There is nothing like a live hip-hop show that is improvised from the first moment til the final curtain, and the skill set required to pull it off has introduced me to this deep bench of multi-hyphenate genius musician emcees,” Miranda said. “No two shows are the same, each show its own experience. I’m so thrilled to get the band back together; and even though I’m a co-producer this time around, I selfishly hope they let me jump onstage a couple of times over the course of the run. FLS for life.”
Find Freestyle playing at the Greenwich House Theatre on 27 Barrow Street.