David Byrne's American Utopia Trailer

After premiering at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month, Spike Lee’s filmed version of David Byrne’s American Utopia stage show is coming to HBO Max in October. Recorded during its Broadway run at New York’s Hudson Theatre, the show is described as a “transformative musical experience” featuring David Byrne (former frontman for Talking Heads) and musicians from around the world as they rock out and celebrate human connection, self-evolution, and social justice.  Watch the trailer below for a taste.

David Byrne’s American Utopia Trailer

In the year 2020, you may ask yourself, “How did I get here?” That’s exactly what David Byrne will do in American Utopia as he performs the Talking Heads hit “Once in a Life Time” as well as “Burning Down the House.” There’s also a stirring rendition of Janelle Monáe’s “Hell You Talmbout’,” which draws attention to police brutality toward Black Americans. Of course, since the title of the show is American Utopia, he also performs songs from the 2018 album of the same name. In between these songs, Byrne gives little monologues to address important issues like voter turnout, climate change, and immigration. This isn’t your average concert documentary, and it certainly isn’t the usual kind of Broadway show.

Our own Chris Evangelista was able to see David Byrne’s American Utopia as part of the 2020 TIFF line-up, and he said the production feels like “a revival meeting; a pep-rally; a museum installation come to life; an interpretive dance class; a nonsense poetry reading; and, of course, a concert” all at once. He says it’s not just a recorded stage production because Spike Lee, director of photography Ellen Kuras and 11 camera operators, turn this into “a full-blown film – one bustling with life, energy, and exuberance.” Sounds like something worth checking out.

Thankfully, HBO is making that easy, because the film will debut there at 8:00 P.M ET on October 17, 2020. Following the debut on cable, it will be available to stream on HBO Max.

David Byrne’s American Utopia features the original Broadway cast, including Jacquelene Acevedo (percussionist), Gustavo Di Dalva (percussionist), Daniel Freedman (percussionist), Chris Giarmo (vocals / dance & vocal captain), Tim Keiper (percussionist), Tendayi Kuumba (vocals), Karl Mansfield (keyboard / music director), Mauro Refosco (percussionist / music director), Stéphane San Juan (percussionist), Angie Swan (guitar), and Bobby Wooten III (bass).

If you’re a fan of the show, you can also pick up American Utopia as a book featuring artwork by best-selling author, illustrator and artist Maria Kalman that brings Byrne’s words and lyrics to life on the page in a beautiful way. Plus, the original Broadway cast album is available from Nonesuch Records too.

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