photo by Joan Marcus
The musical improv sensation, Freestyle Love Supreme, makes its Philly debut from June 7 – 12 at the Kimmel Cultural Campus’ Miller Theater (formerly the Merriam). This show is unlike anything you’ve seen before or will see again with a unique blend of hip-hop, comedy, stories and songs (improvised on the spot). FLS was co-created by Philly-born Anthony Veneziale (aka Two-Touch) with Hamilton and In The Heights creator Lin Manuel Miranda and director Thomas Kail. It’s created live on the spot every night with suggestions from the audience and no two shows will ever be the same! I spoke with Allentown, Pennsylvania native Morgan Reilly AKA “Hummingbird” about the show, what they do each night and how she joined the FLS tour! Come see her and the rest of the FLS company- tickets here.
Q: For anyone unfamiliar with Freestyle Love Supreme, what’s your “bite sized” explanation of the show?
A: Freestyle Love Supreme is unlike any other Broadway show. It combines hip-hop, comedy, rap, musical theatre, and is entirely based off of audience suggestions. No two shows are the same!
Q: What led you to joining Freestyle Love Supreme? What improv experience did you have prior to being a part of this show?
A: I’ve been performing since I was three years old. I grew up doing musical theatre and transitioned into the world recorded music and songwriting. Quite honestly I don’t have a lot of improv experience- Freestyle Love Supreme found me when I was bartending in my hometown of Allentown, PA. I had never freestyled in front of people before auditioning for FLS. I took a leap of faith, trusted the unyielding kindness and support of my friends and family, and went for it. And I’m so beyond grateful I did.
Q: Each cast member has a stage persona. You’re nickname is Hummingbird- how did that name come about? And do you all help come up with each other’s names?
A: I actually got my nickname from The Sugar Hill Gang! I had a studio session with them and Diamond told me “I’m gonna call you Hummingbird, because you sing like a little hummingbird. That’s your name now.” When Anthony (Two-Touch) asked me what “aka” name I wanted to use for the show, I told him the Hummingbird story and it stuck. Everyone has such a unique story behind their “aka” name and in most cases we have helped each other find them!
Q: No two FLS shows are the same! What have been some of your favorite improvised moments recently?
A: My favorite moment so far was during a game we play called Second Chance where we paid homage to the musical Wicked and I ended it singing “Defying Gravity” at the top of my lungs. It was a theatre kid’s dream come true!
Q: You’re from nearby Allentown (I’m also from the LV!)- If Philadelphians were to take a day trip to the Lehigh Valley, what “must-sees” do you recommend?
A: If you’re going to the Lehigh Valley, I’d check out the Bethlehem Steel Stacks, The West End Theatre District, Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, Cali Burrito, and of course, Randall’s (the restaurant I used to bartend at).
Q: Is there anything you’re looking forward to during your downtime here in Philly?
A: Honestly I’m really looking forward to spending time with my family and friends. I can’t wait to introduce them to the wild and wonderful world of Freestyle Love Supreme. And having a Wawa or two close by certainly adds to the excitement.