Diaspora

Arts This Week: The sound of music, from hip-hop to Haiti – GBH News

This week, GBH Executive Arts Editor Jared Bowen joins Morning Edition to talk about an electrifying new performance by Freestyle Love Supreme, as well as a local production of “Once on This Island” and a sneak peek into what’s coming up on Open Studio.

Performing at the Emerson Colonial Theater now through April 2
Before he was known for “In the Heights” or “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda and his friends from college formed what would become the successful touring group known as Freestyle Love Supreme. The show “is a blend of hip hop and rap and improv and musical theater,” says Bowen, incorporating audience suggestions and stories into a 90-minute performance. Freestyle Love Supreme even features a local talent: Foxboro’s own Chris Sullivan, who beatboxes with the group.
“I don’t say it very often, but this is one of those ‘stop what you’re doing and get your tickets now’” shows, Bowen says, praising “these actors [who] are so unbelievably talented” for creating a “hugely entertaining” program.

Presented by SpeakEasy stage, now playing through April 16 at the Calderwood Pavilion
The Tony Award-winning musical “Once on This Island” brings a Haitian fable to life by way of the Speakeasy Stage Company. First premiered in 1990 and revived in 2017, the show by Haitian-American director Pascal Hausfrau presents what Bowen calls a “delightful, beautiful musical” following the story of a young woman “waiting for life to begin” and the subsequent love story between her and a young man stranded on the island.
Bowen says the show is “from the first, a party: there’s dancing and color and lively music” that will leave audiences “bounc[ing] out of the theater, not unlike how you do with Freestyle Love Supreme.”
Finally, Jared gave a preview of this week’s episode of Open Studio, which includes a conversation with Cambridge-based author Gish Jen and a look at how Berklee College of Music is taking on gender disparity in jazz. Open Studio airs Fridays at 8:30 on GBH 2 and online.
Molly McCaul is currently an intern over at Open Studio and a student at Wellesley College. As a lifelong Massachusetts resident, Molly is passionate about local music, arts journalism, and uplifting Boston’s newest voices. Beyond GBH, you can usually find them at a concert or attempting to pick up any number of hobbies in their free time

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