Actor, producer, and TV host Wayne Brady, seen on Broadway in Freestyle Love Supreme, Kinky Boots, and Chicago, has been named Chief Creative Officer of FLS+, a new company to be formed by the upcoming merger of the improvisation training companies Freestyle Love Supreme Academy, LLC and Speechless Inc.
Second City President and Managing Partner Steve Johnston, also an investor in FLS+, will serve as the President of the new company. With combined backgrounds in experiential learning, digital production, and musical theatre, the joint entity will help bring improvisational theatre to a global audience and will create in-person and virtual opportunities to help people from all backgrounds share their authentic voices.
“It’s a major honor to help support the creative genius of Freestyle Love Supreme Academy and Wayne Brady, as well as the incredibly talented team of innovators at Speechless Inc.,” says Johnston. “I’m extremely excited to collaborate to bring these incredible organizations and individuals together in innovative new ways with FLS+.”
“Improvisation just isn’t a tool for the stage, it’s a tool for life,” adds Brady, who first demonstrated his improv skills on Whose Line Is It Anyway? “With this revolutionary venture, we plan to bring improv to the people and to make it accessible to the world.”
Sammy Wegent and Anthony Veneziale will act as Co-CEOs of FLS+. The team, who plan to create new corporate and public offerings, envision new workshops, show formats, and video content that will entertain and train audiences around the world. Plans are also in the works to open brick-and-mortar training centers in multiple U.S. cities.
“We want people’s worlds to change from improv, and we want improv to change the world,” said Veneziale, a Tony recipient for creating Broadway's Freestyle Love Supreme with Thomas Kail and Lin-Manuel Miranda and co-founder of FLS Academy. “We have to make including others and equity the most important of all the work we do.”
FLS Academy was co-founded in 2018 by Freestyle Love Supreme members Veneziale, Chris Sullivan, and Andrew Bancroft. It fosters diverse creative voices using improvisation and freestyle rap. Speechless Inc., co-founded in 2013 by Wegent, Veneziale, and Scott Lifton, has entertained and trained companies all over the world in applied improvisation that helps people conquer public speaking.
Additional FLS+ investors include Jenny and Jon Steingart, Jill Furman, Brynn and Lowell Putnam, and Eros Resmini.