The first of three winter performances plays 10 PM Dec. 15 at the intimate midtown Manhattan venue.
The show, directed by Thomas Kail, is billed as "fusion of hip hop, melody, and story telling" in which "six versatile performers provide non-stop action throughout [a] whirlwind of music, comedy and freestyle rap."
Audience suggestions fuel the evenings, which are never alike. The show was an audience favorite at the Edinburgh Fringe in Scotland in summer 2005.
Freestyle Love Supreme's other winter dates at Ars Nova are 10 PM Jan. 12, 2006, and 10 PM Feb. 2, 2005, according to its website, www.freestylelovesupreme.com.
The title of Freestyle Love Supreme is "an homage to John Coltrane's 'A Love Supreme,' a nod to both its musical influences, which include jazz, soul, blues and hip-hop, and the expressive nature of Coltrane's sound." The cast includes Two-Touch and Lin-Man (who trade rhymes), C-Jack (who brings in melody and harmony), Arthur the Geniuses (who plays the piano and sings), King Sherman (on sax, flute and piano) and Shockwave (a human beatbox). By day, they are performers with varied credits.
Director Thomas Kail is the artistic director and a founder of Back House Productions, a company dedicated to the development of new work by American writers. The company is in residence at Drama Book Shop in Manhattan.
To purchase, call SmartTix at (212) 868-4444 or go to www.SmartTix.com.
Ars Nova is located at 511 W. 54th Street, just west of Tenth Avenue.
Here's the FLS performer breakdown:
Two-Touch is Anthony Veneziale, conceiver of Freestyle Love Supreme. Veneziale is also the associate artistic director and a founder of Back House Productions, the resident theatre company of the Drama Book Shop.
Lin-Man is Lin-Manuel Miranda, a founding member of FLS and author of In the Heights, an original hip-hop salsa musical, being co-produced by Jill Furman, Kevin McCollum and Jeffrey Seller. Miranda has written a number of musical pieces for commercials, including political ads for Carl McCall and Fernando Ferrer. He contributed original music to ads for Promesas, a youth center for homeless teens in the Bronx and is a part-time actor/teacher with CUNY/Creative Arts Team. Miranda writes restaurant reviews and a weekly scene column for the Manhattan Times, a bilingual weekly newspaper in Upper Manhattan.
Arthur the Geniuses is Arthur Lewis, a graduate of Yale University with a degree in music where he divided his attention between traditional composition and theory, and interactive music technology. Since then, he has worn many hats: from jazz pianist to gospel singer to hip-hop producer to robotics teacher; from songwriter to studio maven to resident Mac expert. He is currently working on his first album.
King Sherman is Billy Sherman, a composer/arranger/saxophonist who has shared the stage with Audra McDonald, Jason Robert Brown, Maceo Parker, Bela Fleck and Dead Prez, among others. He is currently working as arranger/orchestrator on In the Heights, a salsa/hip-hop musical by Lin Manuel Miranda, produced by Jill Furman, Kevin McCollum, and Jeffrey Seller. Sherman is the musical director on "Don't Try this at Home," a feature film by writer-director Jesse Hartman produced by Christopher Roberts (Adobe Theater Company); and is also the copyist for Bare: A Pop Opera, with music by Damon Intrabartolo.
Shockwave is Chris Sullivan, who has trained with Chicago's Joe Bill, Miles Stroth, Mick Napier, New York City's Upright Citizen's Brigade and The People's Improv Theater. Sullivan has also collaborated with Beatboxer Entertainment. In college, Sullivan was the vocal percussionist for a capella group Vocal Suspects and founder of long-form improv group called TOAST! Sullivan has also worked with short-form improv group Mission:IMPROVable.