Lin-Manuel Miranda Talks Freestyle Love Supreme

Phebe Wahl | December 17, 2019 | People


“I believe spontaneity is something that has always resonated with people—and always will,” says Lin-Manuel Miranda of his show Freestyle Love Supreme, playing at the Booth Theater through Jan. 12. “People also appreciate authenticity, love and honesty—and enjoy a good laugh. And I think the show offers them all of that every night. It’s also a truly communal experience: We listen to you, you listen to us, and we make something singular together.”

In the boundary-breaking show created by Miranda, Thomas Kail and Anthony Veneziale, the audience checks its phones at the door and embarks upon an interactive and improvisational journey, where surprise guests range from Miranda to Helen Mirren, and audience suggestions are spun into musical numbers. The trio connected the show long before Hamilton or In the Heights shot Miranda to megastardom. “The real spark for the show came on our very first public performance. It was on Aug. 15, 2003, in New York—the night after the Northeast blackout. With no power at the original planned venue (Peoples Improv Theater), we brought 16 audience members uptown to the basement of the Drama Book Shop and freestyled about each of them while handing out free beer,” he shares. “It’s been truly a labor of love for our members to bring Freestyle Love Supreme to the Booth Theater. One of the most gratifying experiences each night is when we ask the audience how many people are seeing the show for the first time. The response is always resounding.”

Currently, you can also catch the multihyphenate as aeronaut Lee Scoresby on HBO’s His Dark Materials, followed by In the Heights—a film directed by Jon M. Chu scheduled to release this summer. Miranda will also take a turn behind the camera. “I am excited to direct my first movie next year: the adaptation of Jonathan Larson’s Tick, Tick… BOOM! It is everything I love about musicals, and I can’t wait to get started.”

Photography by: Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/Shutterstock