Assessment: ‘Freestyle Like Supreme is a hip-hop improv potluck

“Freestyle Like Supreme,” the hip-hop improv exhibit that won a special Tony Award for its Broadway operate, is distinct each individual night. Diverse visitor stars. Diverse audience input. Unique rap riffs.

The one continuous is spontaneity. The exhibit, which opened Thursday at Pasadena Playhouse, is designed on the spot by a team of performers responding in the second to prompts with intelligent rhymes and unique flows.

The potluck nature of “Freestyle Appreciate Supreme” is part of the work’s communal allure. No a person is aware how the menu will transform out, but the experience of togetherness alleviates some of the disappointment that at the end of the meal we’re remaining concurrently stuffed and starved.

Anthony Veneziale, who emceed at Thursday’s opening below the manage Two Touch, developed the clearly show with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Thomas Kail lengthy right before “Hamilton” expanded hip-hop’s Broadway horizons. (The collective’s very long journey is captured in the Hulu documentary “We Are Freestyle Enjoy Supreme.”)

Directed by Kail, the demonstrate has set routines that invite unanticipated play. With a nod to John Coltrane’s typical totally free jazz album “A Appreciate Supreme,” the forged users of “Freestyle Really like Supreme” go where by chance, inspiration and their individual skills direct them.

Veneziale poses inquiries to the audience to get factors started. When one particular theatergoer shouted “fornicate” in response to a request for verbs, the ensemble swung into motion, grateful to obtain an action term with a minor grit soon after a bunch of duds.

An additional request was to name a present beef. A roar went up when anyone hollered “the Supreme Courtroom.” Just before you realized it, beer-loving Brett Kavanaugh was the target of what might be described as a set of stand-up hip-hop.

Fresh new from his triumph in “Kinky Boots” at the Hollywood Bowl, Wayne Brady, who was portion of the rotation of “Freestyle Adore Supreme” in New York, was the particular visitor star on Thursday. His adaptable comedy skills — honed from several years of undertaking Tv improv — ensured a smooth opening night time.

But the star was unquestionably Aneesa Folds (a.k.a. Young Nees), who brought luscious R&B ability to her hip-hop stylings. Verbally as well as vocally, she appeared bolder than her colleagues, a single of whom laid down a handful of bars about an arthritic knee in a riff motivated by the term “edibles.”

“Freestyle Like Supreme” is far more earnest than edgy. Rap’s perception of urgency, derived from exposing uncooked social truths and fearlessly bucking the standing quo, is neutered. The audience is jollied along by Veneziale with well mannered puckishness.

At Thursday’s effectiveness, there was as substantially deadwood as virtuosity. Perhaps opening night time nerves or issues about Pasadena decorum inhibited the solid. The intermission-much less generation began late and stretched on unduly. It felt like a extensive night time.

Kaila Mullady (a.k.a. Kaiser Rözé) shown her championship beatbox repertoire by generating a radio play’s truly worth of audio outcomes with her mouth on your own. Richard Baskin Jr. (a.k.a. Prosperous Midway) and Victoria Theodore (a.k.a. Gigawatts) supplied deft musical accompaniment, double-backing on a defeat when the audio was suitable and efficiently transitioning from 1 performer to another.

A single of the touching moments on Thursday included an audience member who experienced booked his 1st tv series as an actor. He was requested to operate by the functions of the working day, giving us the prior to and just after of his ecstatic news.

The interaction in between Veneziale and this young guy was a fantastic offer far more participating than the rap opera reenactment that was then laboriously whipped up. A minor improv goes a lengthy way, but the crew of “Freestyle Enjoy Supreme” are affable company.

‘Freestyle Adore Supreme’

‘Freestyle Love Supreme’

The place: Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena.

When: 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays. Finishes Aug 7.

Tickets: Starts at $30

Contact: (626) 356-7529 or

Jogging time: 1 hour, 40 minutes