David Byrne’s ‘American Utopia,’ directed by Spike Lee, to premiere on HBO
The Spike Lee-directed filmed version of David Byrne's American Utopia on Broadway will make its debut later this year via HBO. "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 in a press statement. "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."
Meanwhile, Spike says, "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. And dat's da ‘once in a lifetime’ truth, Ruth. Ya-dig? Sho-nuff. Peace and love. Be safe.” No premiere date has been announced. Will there be a floating shot? Stay tuned.
American Utopia on Broadway is set for a 17-week return engagement September, though with the coronavirus impacting events through the fall, that is looking less and less likely to happen by the day.
Earlier this month Byrne shared an American Utopia on Broadway performance of their cover of Janelle Monae's protest song, "Hell You Talmbout," which has been part of the production since the beginning. The song invokes the names of Eric Garner, Sharonda Singleton, Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin, and other Black lives lost at the hands of law enforcement and racial violence. “Here was a protest song that doesn’t hector or preach at us,” Byrne told Billboard in 2018. “It simply asks us to remember and acknowledge these lives that have been lost, lives that were taken from us through injustice, though the song leaves that for the listener to put together. I love a drum line, so that aspect of the song sucked me in immediately as well. The song musically is a celebration and lyrically a eulogy. Beautiful.” With the video, Byrne simply wrote "Say his name. Say her name. Say their names and don’t stop." You can watch that below.
Right before the whole country went in lockdown, Byrne brought American Utopia to SNL.
Spike Lee just released his terrific new film, Da 5 Bloods, via Netflix last week.