The Cast of Lin-Manuel Miranda's 'Freestyle Love Supreme' Is Teaching Improv Hip-hop Rap Classes — Here's How You Can Join
In one of the most meta moments of the pandemic-delayed 74th annual Tony Awards on Sunday night, Broadway sensation Freestyle Love Supreme closed out the show with an impressive improv hip-hop performance summarizing the event as it had just happened. Among the group were familiar faces, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Wayne Brady, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Christopher Jackson, and James Monroe Iglehart. And now, you can learn how to freestyle firsthand from the cast with Freestyle Love Supreme (FLS) Academy.
Back in 2004 — long before "Hamilton" and "In the Heights" — Miranda started the group with Thomas Kail and Anthony Veneziale in the basement of the Drama Book Shop. By 2019, they had transformed the concept into an 80-minute comedy Broadway show, showing off their improv talent by riffing off audience cues — a journey that was captured on Hulu's 2000 documentary "We Are Freestyle Love Supreme."
Their trademark style of hip-hop rap — now familiar to the world through Miranda's successful musicals — is the backbone of Freestyle Love Supreme, along with their shockingly impressive ability to come up with rhymes on the fly.
In fact, their innovative show earned them a special Tony Award yesterday as the cast prepares to return to Broadway on Oct. 7. In addition to the regular cast members — Anthony Veneziale, Andrew Bancroft, Tarik Davis, Aneesa Folds, Arthur Lewis, Kaila Mullady, and Chris Sullivan, who were also on the Tonys stage on Sunday night — each show features possible surprise appearances by Miranda, Jackson, Brady, Iglehart, Ambudkar, Daveed Diggs, and Ashley Pérez Flanagan.
And that's the access you can get through FLS Academy, which welcomes any skill level to join their cypher (that's a gathering of rappers and beatboxers) with a Foundations of Freestyle course. The seven-week virtual session is held in fall 2021 (from Oct. 23-24 through Dec. 11-12) or winter 2022 (Jan. 29-30 through March 12-13) for $695. There's also a two-day Welcome to the Cypher class (Oct. 23-24) for $125. But the FLS Academy doesn't want price to get in the way, so it also offers scholarship opportunities.
"FLS Academy started as a fun and inclusive place to learn freestyle rap and improv, and it quickly evolved into a supportive international community of diverse voices," co-creator Bancroft, who started the Academy in 2018 with Sullivan and Veneziale, told Travel + Leisure. "Whoever you are and whatever you bring to the table, we're here to have your back and celebrate your story.