AMERICAN UTOPIA comes to Broadway

BritCrit
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AMERICAN UTOPIA comes to Broadway#1
Posted: 5/17/19 at 10:41am

https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Breaking-David-Byrnes-AMERICAN-UTOPIA-Will-Come-to-Broadway-This-Fall-20190517

Thoughts?

Personally, I am really looking forward to this. As a Talking Heads fan, I am very interested in the prospect of seeing a David Byrne musical on Broadway...

Fordham2015
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AMERICAN UTOPIA comes to Broadway#2
Posted: 5/17/19 at 10:50am

They're billing it as a special event or Broadway residency, not a musical- so like Springsteen or the series at the Lunt Fontanne

 

DrowsyKaye
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Posted: 5/17/19 at 10:56am

I saw this tour last year and it's truly a thrilling performance. Curious how much, if at all, they're going to deviate from the concert-feel of it all. I'm definitely gonna try and check it out.

LightsOut90
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Posted: 5/17/19 at 12:06pm

has anyone been able to figure out how to buy a ticket with the meet and greet?

Alice147
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AMERICAN UTOPIA comes to Broadway#5
Posted: 5/17/19 at 12:10pm

DrowsyKaye said: "I saw this tour last year and it's truly a thrilling performance. Curious how much, if at all, they're going to deviate from the concert-feel of it all. I'm definitely gonna try and check it out."

Does it have a narrative arc? I'm intrigued by the description on Playbill: "theatrical concert experience"!

StageJunkie2
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AMERICAN UTOPIA comes to Broadway#6
Posted: 5/17/19 at 12:19pm

Personally, I’ll pass.  Enough with the concerts eating up valuable theatrical stage space. But that’s just me...

pathman2
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AMERICAN UTOPIA comes to Broadway#7
Posted: 5/17/19 at 12:42pm

LightsOut90 said: "has anyone been able to figure out how to buy a ticket with the meet and greet?"

There are actually only maybe 6-8 meet and greet tickets available that day. If you click on the yellow/orange seats front and center, the info box that pops up should confirm that they are meet and great. They're $550 I believe.

Alex Kulak2
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AMERICAN UTOPIA comes to Broadway#8
Posted: 5/17/19 at 12:46pm

Remember when they used to do plays on Broadway? That was fun.

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DoTheDood
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AMERICAN UTOPIA comes to Broadway#9
Posted: 5/17/19 at 1:17pm

BritCrit said: "Personally, I am really looking forward to this. As a Talking Heads fan, I am very interested in the prospect of seeing a David Byrne musical on Broadway..."

Honestly same, tho I think the movie "True Stories" by him would make a great adaptation to the stage and if this works out, then that could be a thing? 

JSquared2
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AMERICAN UTOPIA comes to Broadway#10
Posted: 5/17/19 at 1:29pm

Alex Kulak2 said: "Remember when they used to do plays on Broadway? That was fun."

 

Yes.  Too bad there were NO plays on Broadway last season!

BritCrit
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AMERICAN UTOPIA comes to Broadway#11
Posted: 5/17/19 at 1:31pm

Alex Kulak2 said: "Remember when they used to do plays on Broadway? That was fun."

I think that it’s fonw to have one or two projects like this for a limited period of time, but the plays come first. If American Utopia starts extending its run like Springsteen On Broadway (another concert show with some acting elements) it could really frustrate those who want to see what the Hudson will provide for the 2020 Tony Awards...

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Mike Barrett
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AMERICAN UTOPIA comes to Broadway#12
Posted: 5/17/19 at 1:35pm

Alex Kulak2 said: "Remember when they used to do plays on Broadway? That was fun."

Yep, I've attended 12 of them within the past 7 months. It was fun. 

DrowsyKaye
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Posted: 5/17/19 at 2:09pm

Alice147 said: "DrowsyKaye said: "I saw this tour last year and it's truly a thrilling performance. Curious how much, if at all, they're going to deviate from the concert-feel of it all. I'm definitely gonna try and check it out."

Does it have a narrative arc? I'm intrigued by the description on Playbill: "theatrical concert experience"!
"

Definitely doesn't have a coherent narrative arc to it, but maybe they'll tweak it a bit from what I saw. If nothing else, it has a fantastically unified sense of design and production. Really gorgeously put together. Excited to see how they expand upon Byrne's vision.

Also lolololol at Alex Kulak2, as if events like these haven't existed on Broadway for decades.

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RippedMan
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AMERICAN UTOPIA comes to Broadway#14
Posted: 5/17/19 at 2:35pm
Maybe I just don’t know the fan base, but it seems like a long run, no?
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dramamama611
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AMERICAN UTOPIA comes to Broadway#15
Posted: 5/17/19 at 2:51pm
It IS theatrical...not just a concert. Tegardless, obviously it wasnt taking up valuable space. Or it would have been spoken for.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
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haterobics
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AMERICAN UTOPIA comes to Broadway#16
Posted: 5/17/19 at 5:53pm

I saw it on tour and am not sure how to describe it... I found that the theatricality didn't make me feel engaged like I was at a concert. But it was also not just performance art with a setlist?! Neither of which isn't to say it wasn't a thrilling, unique night out... just that you should know what you're signing up for, since a lot of people around me kept waiting for it to turn into a proper concert, which never happened.

LightsOut90
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AMERICAN UTOPIA comes to Broadway#17
Posted: 5/17/19 at 9:24pm

with Alex Timbers onboard this will definately become more theaterical. This is probably the closest to a Talking Heads musical as we will get due to rights issues and I am ready to see it OVER AND OVER

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RippedMan
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AMERICAN UTOPIA comes to Broadway#18
Posted: 5/17/19 at 9:34pm
Is Timbers a new addition? That peaked my interest! I love his direction.
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RippedMan
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AMERICAN UTOPIA comes to Broadway#19
Posted: 5/17/19 at 9:34pm
Is Timbers a new addition? That peaked my interest! I love his direction.
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RippedMan
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AMERICAN UTOPIA comes to Broadway#20
Posted: 5/17/19 at 9:34pm
Is Timbers a new addition? That peaked my interest! I love his direction.
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AMERICAN UTOPIA comes to Broadway#21
Posted: 5/17/19 at 11:32pm
This is an easy pass for me unless I get free tickets and even then meh.
Alice147
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AMERICAN UTOPIA comes to Broadway#22
Posted: 5/18/19 at 11:57am

DrowsyKaye said: "Alice147 said: "DrowsyKaye said: "I saw this tour last year and it's truly a thrilling performance. Curious how much, if at all, they're going to deviate from the concert-feel of it all. I'm definitely gonna try and check it out."

Does it have a narrative arc? I'm intrigued by the description on Playbill: "theatrical concert experience"!
"

Definitely doesn't have a coherent narrative arc to it, but maybe they'll tweak it a bit from what I saw. If nothing else, it has a fantastically unified sense of design and production. Really gorgeously put together. Excited to see how they expand upon Byrne's vision.

Also lolololol at Alex Kulak2, as if events like these haven't existed on Broadway for decades.
"

Ah, I see. I'd be interested to see if anything is altered for Broadway, he seemed to hint at that in his quotes! 

mufish
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AMERICAN UTOPIA comes to Broadway#23
Posted: 9/21/19 at 5:22pm

Reviving this thread after having seen the show in Boston last weekend.  I am not that familiar with Talking Heads beyond their three or four well-known hits and quite honestly only went because I won the TodayTix lottery.  For those considering that option before it heads to NY, my seat was in the Dress Circle, want to say Row G a few seats off the Right Center aisle - very good seat although as most who've been to the Colonial can attest, the leg room is brutal.  Fortunately there was no one seated on one side of me, so I could kind of spread out a little bit.

I still don't know the best way to describe this show, but I LOVED it.  I read a review of the tour and it sounds like they probably haven't changed much, if anything, at least as far as the set list goes.  During "Once in a Lifetime" a handful of people got up and danced in their seats, and everyone left them to their own devices as long as they didn't obstruct the aisle.  Later on, before "Burning Down the House" David Byrne mentioned that very thing, which basically prompted most to get up for the next song (which came WELL after 'Once' and just a few songs before the end, so it was a bit odd) but then most sat down right after.  Also there was an encore, which certainly moves this closer to a concert.  Lastly, since cell phones have been such a hot button issue here lately, during the pre-show announcement Byrne asks the audience to "limit" use of phones during the performance, but the ushers were telling folks no photos, etc. when seating us and also patrolling and shutting down anyone filming/taking pics.

There is a point he tries to make, but the thread isn't woven through the entirety of the show.  He sort of sets things up early, and then comes back to it to bring it home near the end (and it's an admirable point, to be sure).  There's also a PSA about voting about halfway through which was fine and not terribly overbearing or anything (no one from any political affiliation should be too bothered by it, he mostly confines it to the importance of voting itself) but it did seem a little out of place...but hey it's his show, he can do what he wants!

If anyone has any questions I'm happy to try to answer, but I would recommend anyone on the fence about it to go see it for yourself!  Regarding seating, they make use of the whole space basically, but you don't miss anything other than a little choreo if your view ends up being obstructed.  Show started maybe about 5:05 and I was leaving the Colonial a few minutes before 7.

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AMERICAN UTOPIA comes to Broadway#24
Posted: 9/24/19 at 6:57am
If anyone is interested in seeing this evening's performance in Boston, I have 2 lottery tix available. $30 each. PM me. Thanks!
theaterdarling
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Posted: 9/24/19 at 12:02pm

Saw this in Boston and absolutely loved it. I am not a rabid Talking Heads fan but certainly have always have enjoyed their music (and loved the seminal Stop Making Sense concert film)  so even those only minimally aware of his music through his most popular songs (I think) will enjoy this as long as one remembers that 1) this is not a traditional concert and 2) Byrne is an idiosyncratic performance artist at heart and, artistically, is in his head a lot.  That being said, the show is extremely accessible, satisfying and can be appreciated even only for its surface joys.

Don't know quite how to categorize it (which is a good thing) but definitely not even close to the Talking Heads "musical" as one poster wishes for.  At its simplest, the show is a barefoot David Byrne fronting, literally, an also barefoot singing/dancing marching band choreographed whimsically but wonderfully by Annie-B Parson. "Marching band" might imply showmanship over musicianship but the band was comprised of extraordinary musicians (especially the percussionists), and though they almost never stop moving in unending formations and groupings like a kaleidoscope,  they bring the goods musically and vocally. Byrne's songs have never sounded better. Though an extremely spare set, there is so much movement on stage, both tangential and center stage, that sometimes you don't know where to look -  but I usually couldn't take my eyes off of Byrne.    

As to narrative arc, it might be all in the eyes of the beholder. Byrne himself described the arc to Broadway Direct as “a journey of self-discovery, and of discovering a larger community that’s supportive, and eventually being able to engage the larger world, step by step. The songs don’t always address that lyrically, but it’s about what you see on stage. We’re not just talking about how things can be; we’re showing that. To show is more effective than to talk.”  I don't know if you always experience the arc as Byrne intended but the raw experience is still wonderful from just a movement/production/sound sense.  Mufish is right in noting that he sets his narrative up the beginning very directly and then comes back to it (most overtly) in the end.  Perhaps they will tighten the arc or make it more apparent,  but I hope not--Byrne is an enigma and I want to ponder his meaning-don't need to have it spelled out. However, since this is not a traditional concert,  others might have more of need for a tidier narrative thread.                                   

Also, Mufish mentioned the "PSA" for voting as a one-off civics appeal,  they also did a very impactful piece using the Janelle Monae song "Hell You Talmbout," a very political and extremely moving shoutout to Black Lives Matter, seemingly wedged into the thematics of the show but was very, very affecting miles away from the more generic "please vote" plea.                                                                

Byrne makes a pre-recorded announcement before the show pleading that people put away the cameras and enjoy the show. I did not perceive it merely as a suggestion. The ushers were on top of shutting down people when started to film and hats of to them for their vigilance and tenacity. They took their jobs seriously and I was impressed. (For god's sake people, hate to state the obvious but can you not just sit back and take something for only an hour and 40 minutes without a phone in front of you....)                                                                                                                                                         

Byrne is not an optimist but this show left me with so much joy-reflective of the joy and passion on stage- and it stayed with me for days after - wishing you all experience the same. (By contrast, I walked out of "Springsteen on Broadway" incredibly moved, but incredibly melancholy!)