DAVID BYRNE – ” American Utopia The Movie “

Posted: June 19, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , , ,

David Byrne

The filmed version of the acclaimed Broadway show David Byrne’s American Utopia, directed by Academy Award–winning director Spike Lee, will be presented by HBO and will debut on HBO later this year. “David Byrne’s American Utopia is a uniquely transformative experience and a perfect example of how entertainment can bring us together during these challenging times,” said Nina Rosenstein, Executive Vice President, HBO Programming. “Spike’s brilliant direction adds a level of intimacy to this powerful performance, and we’re so thrilled to share this groundbreaking show with our audience.”
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,” said David Byrne. “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.”
“It is my honour 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,” Spike Lee said. “And dat’s da ‘once in a lifetime’ truth, Ruth. Ya-dig? Sho-nuff. Peace and love. Be safe.”

The Broadway production of American Utopia featured Byrne, together with eleven 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 original American Utopia album, as well as the Broadway cast recording, were released on Nonesuch Records.

The set list each night included “Once in a Lifetime,” “Burning Down the House,” several selections from Byrne’s American Utopia solo album, and a rendition of Janelle Monáe’s “Hell You Talmbout,” which featured Byrne and the musicians calling out the names of black Americans who have been unjustly killed with the refrains “say his name” or “say her name.”

In a recent interview, Byrne recalled approaching Monáe about permission to use the song. “She loved it,” he said. “I was kind of surprised. There was no hesitation. She’s very generous. So I continue to ask her, ‘We’re doing it on Broadway now. You sure you’re OK with all this?’ ‘Yeah.’ I thought I had to do that; I had to check with her and see what her take was on that, because otherwise, it could seem pretty strange. She’s about getting the message out.”

This one-of-a-kind, dynamic film gives audiences around the world access to Byrne’s electrifying Broadway show that played to sold-out, record-breaking audiences during its run from October 2019 to February 2020 at Broadway’s Hudson Theater. The New York Times called the production “dazzling, jubilant and rapturous,” while the Hollywood Reporter hailed it as “an astonishing knockout.” The Broadway production featured the work of choreographer Annie-B Parson, with Alex Timbers serving as production consultant (both had previously collaborated with Byrne on the acclaimed Imelda Marcos musical Here Lies Love); lighting design by Rob Sinclair and sound design by Pete Keppler; Karl Mansfield and Mauro Refosco are musical directors.

David Byrnes American Utopia

In addition to the partnership of David Byrne and Spike Lee, the feature-length film includes the work of choreographer Annie-B Parson; director of photography, Ellen Kuras (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind); production consultant Alex Timbers; and editor Adam Gough (Roma). Collaborating with Kuras are eleven camera operators, many of whom are directors of photography in their own right, including Declan Quinn (Leaving Las Vegas) and Sam Levy (Lady Bird).

American Utopia, the album upon which the stage show is based, received a Grammy nomination and was the first by Byrne to reach No. 1 on the Top Current Album Chart. Released by Nonesuch Records in 2018, it was a global hit and the accompanying tour reached more than 27 countries with 150 concert dates.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.