‘David Byrne’s American Utopia’, Directed by Spike Lee, Headed to HBO


David Byrne's American Utopia

Later this year, HBO will air the filmed version of David Byrne‘s Broadway show David Byrne’s American Utopia, directed by none other than Spike Lee. The stage show featured Byrne and 11 musical artists from around the world performing songs from the Byrne album of the same name, along with Talking Heads songs and other songs from Byrne’s solo career.

David Byrne’s American Utopia

Spike Lee fans are still buzzing about the filmmaker’s Netflix movie Da 5 Bloods, and luckily, we won’t have to wait very long for Lee’s next project. The acclaimed director filmed a live performance of David Byrne’s American Utopia, and HBO will air it later this year. Regarding the show’s Broadway run, Bryne said:

“I often get asked, ‘What is this show about? What is this song about? What is the message, what are you trying to tell us?’ My preferred answer would be to refer them to the quote from old-school Hollywood producer Samuel Goldwyn: “If you want to send a message, use Western Union!” It seems to me that in creating something—a song, a show, a blog post, a meal, a dance—a vision comes together, intuitively, gradually, bit by bit, little by little, and we don’t always know the totality of what we’ve made until we can actually see, hear and taste it.”

“It is my honor and privilege that my art brother, Mr. David Byrne, asked me to join him in concert, to invite me into his magnificent world of American Utopia,” said Spike Lee. “And dat’s da ‘once in a lifetime’ truth, Ruth. Ya-dig? Sho-nuff. Peace and love. Be safe.”

Byrne added:

“Spike and I have crossed paths many times over the years, obviously I’m a huge fan and now finally here was an opportunity for us to work together. I am absolutely thrilled with the result. The Broadway show was a wonderful challenge as well as an opportunity – it was a joy to perform and, well, best to let the quotes speak for themselves. Thrilled that this show and the subjects it addresses will now reach a wider audience.”

The stage show saw Byrne together with 11 musical artists from around the world “performing songs from Byrne’s 2018 album of the same name, along with songs from Talking Heads and his solo career for a major cultural milestone in the worlds of music and theater.” The Broadway production featured the work of choreographer Annie-B Parson and Alex Timbers serving as production consultant; lighting design by Rob Sinclair and sound design by Pete Keppler; Karl Mansfield and Mauro Refosco are musical directors.

Participant, River Road Entertainment and Warner Music Entertainment are executive producing and financing the project. “We are thrilled to partner with HBO in bringing David Byrne’s American Utopia to audiences everywhere,” said David Linde, CEO of Participant. “The creativity and artistry of David Byrne and Spike Lee, together, with the urgency and relevance of this celebratory film, have resulted in an event that is truly of and for our times.”

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