‘David Byrne’s American Utopia’ (Photo: Matthew Murphy)
We could all use a little Utopia right now, and David Byrne’s American Utopia returns to rock Broadway this fall. This “dazzling, jubilant and rapturous” production – featuring “astonishing” staging by choreographer Annie-B Parson, with Alex Timbers serving as production consultant – will begin performances on September 17, featuring all the great songs, all the acclaimed musicians, and a gorgeous new venue to blow the roof off of. This is the event that will tell the world if you want to rediscover the joy of live music, community and connection, Broadway’s St. James Theatre must be the place!
The acclaimed production, which will receive a Special Tony Award at the upcoming Tony Awards ceremony on September 26, features David Byrne with returning band members Jacquelene Acevedo, Gustavo Di Dalva, Daniel Freedman, Chris Giarmo, Tim Keiper, Tendayi Kuumba, Karl Mansfield, Mauro Refosco, Stéphane San Juan, Angie Swan and Bobby Wooten III.
In our original review, critic Matthew Wexler wrote:
David Byrne’s American Utopia, though shaded with gravitas, is ultimately an optimistic call to action. The powerhouse team of creative consultant Alex Timbers, choreographer Annie-B Parson (the pair collaborated on Byrne’s Here Lies Love), and musical directors Karl Mansfield and Maro Refosco, bring Byrne’s songs to life. Singer-dancers Tendayi Kuumba and Chris Giarno frame Byrne in an ever-shifting cocoon of movement, at times a jangled mass of limbs and at others with fluid grace. Outfitted with cordless mics, the ensemble moves freely throughout the space, each offered moments in the spotlight.
No credit is given for the simple yet effective set design, three massive chain walls that rise from the floor into the theatre’s rafters. Its symbolism — a penetrable barrier that separates us from them, or this world from the next — reverberates throughout American Utopia.
“We’re on a road to nowhere,” sings Byrne and his merry band. But how we get there… well, that’s the magic of David Byrne’s American Utopia.
The acclaimed Spike Lee film of David Byrne’s American Utopia also won two Creative Arts Emmy Awards last weekend – Lighting Design/Lighting Direction for a Variety Special (Rob Sinclair, Lighting Designer / Brian Spett, Lighting Director) and Sound Mixing for a Variety Series or Special (Paul Hsu, Re-Recording Mixer / Michael Lonsdale, Production Mixer / Pete Keppler, Music Mixer) – and is also up for Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded) at the main Emmy Awards ceremony this Sunday.
A limited number of $44 seats for each performance of David Byrne’s American Utopia will be sold via a digital lottery random drawing powered by Lucky Seat. Entries for one or two tickets per entrant open at 10 a.m. ET on the Monday of the week before performances. For weekday performances, entries close at 9:59 a.m. ET the day before the performance. For Saturday and Sunday performances, entries close at 9:59am Friday. Winners will be notified by email and must purchase their tickets online with a credit card by 3 p.m. ET the day before the performance for weekday performances or by 3 p.m. ET Friday for Saturday and Sunday performances. Digital tickets will be emailed to winners on the morning of their performance. Enter and find more information at www.luckyseat.com/shows/davidbyrnesamericanutopia-newyork.