Arena Stage Drops a Pandemic-Era Hip-Hop Musical This Week

Courtesy: The Freewheelin’ Insurgents

Move over, Hamilton! Arena Stage is releasing the second installment of its Arena Riffs, and this one’s a pandemic-era hip-hop musical.

Arena Riffs are self-produced, self-contained finished pieces presented by Arena Stage. This second-in-the-series, The Freewheelin’ Insurgents, is a 23-minute musical piece filmed entirely in black and white. True to the times, it follows the story of a theatre crew assembling socially-distantly to rehearse in DC’s legendary Rock Creek Park, while also diving into other themes of this wild moment in history — like violent versus nonviolent protest, love, and mental health during a global health crisis.

“It was glorious collaborating with some of my favorite artists to bring The Freewheelin’ Insurgents to life,” said Psalmayene 24, who wrote, directed, and performed the piece. “This dream project is a distillation of enormous love — love for the Black community and love for theater.”

Courtesy: The Freewheelin’ Insurgents

The cast and creative team also include Othello BanaciIvan BasauriCasey DanielsonLouis DavisMichael DonnayShannon DorseyBria GranvilleCamila Franco Ribeiro GomideNick “tha 1da” HernandezJeremy HunterGary L. PerkinsDanielle PrestonGabby SturgeonTony ThomasAaron Tucker, and Justin Weaks.

Streaming on March 31 at 7 pm, The Freewheelin’ Insurgents is free and open to the public to watch, but reservations are encouraged.

The Arena Riffs series will conclude on April 14 at 7 pm with a new music piece, A More Perfect Union, written by award-winning composer Rona Siddiqui.

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