A roaring crowd greeted hip-hop comedic dynamos, Freestyle Love Supreme opening night at the Emerson Colonial Theatre in Boston on Friday, March 18. Packed with plenty of self-proclaimed Freestyle Love Supreme super fans, witnessing this unique, interactive, Tony award-winning production feels more like attending a rock concert. The anticipation leading up to it was palpable and I immediately got the sense I was in for a truly remarkable experience.
Before In The Heights or Hamilton, there was Lin Manuel Miranda’s Freestyle Love Supreme which continues live and in person at the Emerson Colonial Theatre, 106 Boylston Street in Boston, MA through April 2. The show is approximately 90 minutes with no intermission. Click here for more information and tickets.
No wonder Freestyle Love Supreme is beloved seeing that the show still features some of the founding cast members since the group started in 2004 and went on to be featured in the self-titled Hulu documentary and on Broadway. Founding member Chris Sullivan AKA Shockwave wows with phenomenal hip hop beats (and seemingly impossible) sound effects, Aneesa Folds AKA Young Nees can perform powerful vocal gymnastics to anything that is thrown Young Nees’s way, and founding member Anthony Veneziale AKA Two Touch is a great and welcoming host. Not only can every cast member deliver clever quips at the drop of a hat, but the show is friendly, interactive, and inclusive.
Is Freestyle Love Supreme a big party? A resounding yes, but every performance is unique so it is best enjoyed just knowing the basics. Don’t feel pressure to participate, but the more enthusiasm and participation, the better the show. Trust me. Even in masks which Freestyle Love Supreme deems ‘consonant killers,’ the audience is invited to demonstrate what they are saying in creative and amusing ways. It is fun, has heart, and there wasn’t a dull moment.
The show is tailor made for the locals boasting a slew of signature Boston and pop culture references. Listen closely for the inventive and masterful delivery of these brilliant, high-speed rappers. The possibilities are endless. They also aren’t shy about what they say onstage. This may sound a bit like Whose Line is it Anyway and Wayne Brady was part of the cast at one point, but accompanied by an intimate live band, Freestyle Love Supreme is just on another level. For example, one audience member suggested the word, ‘Yankees’ and it was amazing to see how just many ways that one word was demonstrated led by the vocal styling of hilarious Jay C. Ellis AKA Jellis J.
Freestyle Love Supreme is hilarious, relatable and brilliantly fast-paced, but what makes the show most endearing was not so much the spectacle, but how much the cast does not hesitate to share their personal experiences as each show is shaped into a carefully tailored crowd pleaser. To think for the first time ever, the show’s full set was not delivered by opening night! I can’t imagine having a better time.