SAN FRANCISCO - January 26, 2022 - (Newswire.com)
Award-winning actor/producer/improviser Wayne Brady will join applied improvisation training companies Freestyle Love Supreme Academy, LLC and Speechless Inc. as Chief Creative Officer in a merger set for early 2022. The newly formed company, FLS+, will help bring the transformative power of improvisational theater to a global audience. Joining Brady on the leadership team is former Second City President and Managing Partner Steve Johnston. Johnston, also an investor in FLS+, will serve as the President of the combined entity.
"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.," said Johnston. "I'm extremely excited to collaborate to bring these incredible organizations and individuals together in innovative new ways with FLS+."
The combined entity's diverse backgrounds in experiential learning, digital production, and musical theater make them prime candidates to reimagine improvisation and bring it to new audiences and clients. The group believes that the skill of improvisation is an incredible tool for becoming more adaptable, joyful, and comfortable making one's voice heard in all areas of life. The joint entity will create in-person and virtual opportunities for people from all backgrounds to take risks and practice skills to help share their authentic voices.
From Whose Line is it Anyway to freestyle rapping with Lin-Manuel Miranda on a Broadway stage, none have mastered the art of improvisation quite like Wayne Brady, the GOAT of going off-script. Embracing FLS Academy and Speechless is a major step toward one of his long-time goals of bringing professional improv to the masses.
"Improvisation just isn't a tool for the stage — it's a tool for life," said Brady. "With this revolutionary venture, we plan to bring improv to the people and to make it accessible to the world."
Along with Johnston as the President, Sammy Wegent and Anthony Veneziale will act as co-CEOs of FLS+, with Chief Creative Officer Wayne Brady applying his years of experience in entertainment to various aspects of the business. The talented team plans to create new corporate and public offerings that blend their methodologies and talent. They 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 in the coming years. Using a mixture of in-person and digital experiences, FLS+ aims to use the power of play to serve a larger global clientele.
"We want people's worlds to change from improv, and we want improv to change the world," said Veneziale, a Tony Award recipient for creating the Broadway hit 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 in New York by members of the Tony Award-winning show Freestyle Love Supreme: Veneziale, Chris Sullivan, and Andrew Bancroft. It fosters diverse creative voices using improvisation and freestyle rap.
Speechless Inc., co-founded in 2013 in San Francisco by Wegent, Veneziale, and Scott Lifton, has entertained and trained companies all over the world in applied improvisation through interactive events, video production, and an on-demand training platform that helps people conquer one of their biggest fears: public speaking.
"In the past couple of years, we have all been constantly improvising in order to navigate the world around us. For many of us, that way of thinking and behaving doesn't come naturally — we need to seek out ways to strengthen and stretch those muscles," said Sammy Wegent, CEO of Speechless Inc.
In order to reach a larger audience as well as deepen and diversify its roster of talent, FLS+ has recently raised a seed round with the help of angel investors in addition to Johnston. The round is made up of a mixture of seasoned investors from the worlds of entertainment and tech, including Jenny and Jon Steingart and Jill Furman (Tony Award-winning Broadway producers), Brynn and Lowell Putnam (founder and former CEO of Mirror and founder and former CEO of Quovo), and Eros Resmini (founder at The Mini Fund).
For more information on FLS+, please visit flsplus.com.
FLS+ strives to entertain, educate, and transform people through the power of play and self-expression, furthering the art form of improvisation, following the neuroscience of creativity, and forging interactive technologies to amplify all voices.
ABOUT SPEECHLESS INC.
Speechless is an applied improv company based in San Francisco that shows people how to be themselves and be heard through experiential learning and entertainment events, video production services, and an on-demand training platform. Speechless helps individuals tackle their fear of public speaking and become more authentic communicators and collaborators, no matter what stage they're on. Co-founded in 2013 by Sammy Wegent, Anthony Veneziale, and Scott Lifton, Speechless has entertained and trained companies all over the world including Facebook, Google, Adobe, Disney, Apple, and many more. Speechless' live events have been held in 21 states, 18 countries, six continents, and in five different languages with tens of thousands of amazing individuals from companies and colleges around the globe.
ABOUT FLS ACADEMY, LLC
FLS Academy's mission is to build an inclusive community of diverse creative voices who lift each other up through equitable play. FLS Academy was created in 2018 by Chris Sullivan, Andrew Bancroft, and Anthony Veneziale, all members of Broadway's hit show Freestyle Love Supreme. While we teach individuals the exciting arts of freestyling, beatboxing, and improv, the heart of our work is empowering a diverse community to share their stories. FLS Academy is built upon core values of the FLS Broadway show, such as creating a supportive environment, having each other's back, inclusive play, and sharing our truth.
FLS Academy has worked with thousands of individuals in person and online. We have also facilitated workshops and performed for some of the world's industry leaders including Google, Adobe, Pfizer, PepsiCo, Salesforce, and Intuit.
FLS Academy, LLC
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Original Source: Award-Winning Improviser Wayne Brady Joins Forces With FLS Academy and Speechless to Create 'FLS+,' a New Company Committed to Making Improv Globally Accessible