Musical Review: Freestyle Love Supreme

Zoe Loughnane // The Watchdog

“Freestyle Love Supreme” is an entirely made-up-on-the-spot hip-hop musical. Meaning, the performers take audience recommendations for words and stories then create songs around them. This is one of Lin Manuel Miranda’s lesser-known creations and the Seattle Rep Theatre is home to the tour until March 13. Since each show is entirely different from the last, there is no spoiler warning in this article. Instead, we can hop right into the review! I will note that this is probably an age 13+ show because of language usage.

“Freestyle Love Supreme” was an absolute delight; I would see this show every day of the run if I was able to. This was not my first show back in the theater but I almost wish it had been. There was such an “I’m finally coming home” energy to the night and it was magical. The audience participation was entertaining and made for some of the longest laughing fits I’ve ever witnessed. I went with my mom and her friend and both were bent over in their seats with laughter at multiple points throughout the show.

I got tickets to this show expecting something similar to improv comedy except in rap form. If you’ve ever watched Miranda freestyle on “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Falon, that’s what I was envisioning. So when the cast came in with vocals, I was shocked and excited. Aneesa Folds a.k.a. “Young Nees” and Morgan Reilly a.k.a. “Hummingbird” brought the Broadway belting to freestyling and it was a stellar combination.

There were a few halting moments where a cast member would get tongue-tied or they couldn’t think of a phrase on the spot, but it was minimal. These performers are seasoned professionals and it was enchanting to watch them weave their rhymes on the spot, even with a few stumbles. During the show I attended, we got a song using the word “truculent,” a full-blown ballad about best friends, and an entertaining sung story about an audience member who had gone paragliding that morning. Truly, this show was a blast; an unmatched creative explosion.

I would be remiss not to mention the set as well. As soon as you walk in, you’re hit with the feeling of attending a concert more than anything else. The background consisted of a bunch of different boomboxes and speakers stacked on top of one another nearly to the ceiling. The lighting consisted of a lot of bright fun colors that livened the theater up a lot. It all added to the heightened feeling of energy and joy filling the room.

“Freestyle Love Supreme” has a documentary on HBO that was released in 2020 called “We Are Freestyle Love Supreme.” 2020 ended up being a big year for the show because they also became the recipient of a special Tony Award for creating something entirely different from the norm. They’re so proud of it that they have even brought their Tony on tour and have shown audiences across the nation their statue. How often do you get to be in the same room as a Tony Award? That alone was worth the visit.

If you’re looking for $5 to $10 tickets, visit the TodayTix website or app or check out other ways to get cheaper tickets. Otherwise, you can try your luck with rush tickets for half the original ticket price. You have to get to the theater 45 minutes or so before showtime and ask if they have any available seats. The Seattle Rep has great visibility from every seat so placement doesn’t matter as much as it might in a different theater. If you’re worried about how seating affects your chance at audience participation — it doesn’t at all! The cast makes an effort to call on people from the front and back of the floor as well as the balcony.

“Freestyle Love Supreme” is comedic, witty, and lively. The beats, rhymes, and vocals don’t stop till the curtain closes, and a 90 minute run time is not nearly enough. If you’re itching to see a show this week, this is the one! Or, if you’re looking for something different there’s a list of other shows this month in this article.