How to have an interesting night in the city? Have friends with good ideas. Last Friday night I went to see a show at Joe’s Pub with my friend and a friend of hers. It was at 11:30 at night. People who know me know that I am almost always asleep at 11:30 at night, and I like it that way. But it was my friend’s birthday week, and the show she suggested sounded intriguing, so I drank a couple of cups of cocoa and got ready for a fun night.
The group is called Freestyle Love Supreme, and for you musical theater fans out there, it was started by Lin-Manuel Miranda (composer-lyricist and star of In the Heights) and Anthony Veneziale (producer for In the Heights). For those of you not intrigued by that, it’s a five-man improv hip hop improv group. What does that mean? Well, like any improv group, FLS takes cues shouted out by the audience or drawn from a hat and works up skits on the spot. Unlike most groups, these skits involve a beatboxer, freestyle rapping, and singing — or as their site says, “instantaneous riffs and fully realized musical numbers.” These guys are fun, funny, and talented, and so are their keyboardist and percussionist.
Some highlights: An impromptu R&B song based on a couple in the front row, where when asked what he liked about her, he mentioned something about the fact that she cooks for him — and instagrams their meals. A song about body pillows, composed entirely of true stories, including one by special guest James Monroe Iglehart, who stopped by after a night onstage at Aladdinin his Tony award-winning role as the genie. And finally, a song based on a woman’s recounting of her day, complete with a fairly accurate depiction of the personalities you encounter riding public transportation in NYC.
Look, there’s no way anything I tell you about this show is going to match how hilarious it was, so you can either watch the Pivot special on Youtube, below, OR, you can sign up to attend a free taping of their upcoming Pivot show next week. You have to commit to being there for four hours, but, they’ll pay you $20 — and I can tell you that my friend and I are hoping to go, even after spending money to see them. Check it out here!