David Byrne’s American Utopia ran on Broadway from October 2019 to February earlier this year, just before the pandemic shuttered Broadway. Fortunately, American Utopia is getting a second life as a concert film directed by Spike Lee, bringing the show directly to your home in a year where concerts have become an impossibility.
The musical, written by and starring former Talking Heads frontman Byrne, brings together 11 musicians to perform a modified version of Byrne’s album of the same name. The stage show also incorporates hits from Byrne’s past such as “This Must Be the Place,” and even a cover of Janelle Monáe’s “Hell You Talmbout.” The songs are broken up by monologues from Byrne that stress the show’s themes of unity, optimism, and social justice.
Though capturing the electricity of a live show is a difficult feat to pull off, judging by the trailer, Lee seems to have done it.
American Utopia will have its world premiere at the 2020 Toronto Film Festival on Sept. 10 before becoming available on HBO on Oct. 17.