* * *
One of the reasons why Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” won over so many older playgoers who couldn’t care less about hip-hop is that it’s not a hip-hop show. It’s an extremely well-made musical about the founding fathers that just happens to have a hip-hop score. Yes, I exaggerate, but not by much, and I can’t tell you how many senior citizens of my acquaintance were pleasantly surprised by how much they liked “Hamilton.” Unfortunately, it was an inherently impossible act to follow, and to date, Mr. Miranda has yet to follow it…
In the meantime, Mr. Miranda has now gotten himself back on Broadway—after a fashion. He is very prominently credited as co-creator and co-producer of “Freestyle Love Supreme,” which just opened at the Booth Theatre after a successful off-Broadway run, and if you didn’t know any better, you could be forgiven for assuming that it’s “Son of ‘Hamilton.’” But you’d be dead wrong: “Freestyle Love Supreme” is the name of a hip-hop improv comedy troupe, which is a fancy way of saying that it’s a nightclub act, not a musical….
Each performance consists of 85 minutes’ worth of hip-hop numbers and sketches made up on the spot by the members of the troupe, who invite the audience to shout out words and phrases on which they improvise. Whatever else that is, it’s not a musical, nor does it purport to be one….
Therein, of course, lies the catch: Improvisational comedy is by its nature a hit-or-miss proposition. Some nights you get lucky, some nights you don’t, and some nights—most nights, truth to tell, unless you’re Elaine May and Mike Nichols—you spend a fair amount of time circling the airport, hoping against hope for inspiration to strike. On Wednesday, that came to about 45 minutes…
* * *Read the whole thing here.
Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of Freestyle Love Supreme perform on The Tonight Show: