Photo: Catalina Kulczar
By Ryan McPhee
David Byrne will hit the Broadway stage in a New York bow of his acclaimed American Utopia tour. The theatrical concert experience will play a pre-Broadway engagement at Boston's Emerson Colonial Theatre September 11–September 28 before beginning at the Hudson Theatre (currently home to Burn This) October 4. Opening night is set for October 20.
The Scottish-American musician teams up with Tony-nominated director Alex Timbers, who serves as production consultant, along with choreographer Annie-B Parson. The three reunite after collaborating on the Off-Broadway Imelda Marcos musical Here Lies Love. (Timbers also directed Byrne's Joan of Arc: Into the Fire.)
The show features songs from Byrne's 2018 album of the same name, along with hits from his time as Talking Heads frontman and throughout his solo career. Joining him onstage will be an eclectic group of international musicians: Jacquelene Acevedo, Gustavo Di Dalva, Daniel Freedman, Chris Giarmo, Tim Keiper, Tendayi Kuumba, Karl Mansfield, Mauro Refosco, Stephane San Juan, Angie Swan, and Bobby Wooten III.
"As I was recording the songs for my American Utopia album, it occurred to me that they would be exciting to play live, and I realized that a lot of my older material would fit right in. I imagined a live show," Byrne said. "Parked in a beautiful Broadway theater we can perfect the sound [from sound designer Pete Keppler], the lights [by Rob Sinclair], the movement. I thought to myself that this new context might be good—it might bring out the narrative arc a little bit more, to make it just a little more explicit."
The limited engagement, music directed by Karl Mansfield, is scheduled to run through January 19, 2020. Among the producers are Kristin Caskey, Mike Isaacson, Patrick Catullo, and Byrne's Todomundo label, along with Hal Luftig, Jonathan Reinis, Shira Friedman, Annapurna Theatre, Elizabeth Armstrong, Steve Traxler, Thomas Laub, Steve Rosenthal, Erica Schwartz, Matt Picheny, Len Blavatnik, Nonesuch Records, Warner Chappell Music, and Hudson Theatre operator Ambassador Theatre Group. Allan Williams serves as executive producer.
For tickets and more information, visit AmericanUtopiaBroadway.com.