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  • Saturday, February 1, 2020
    Spike Lee to Direct Filmed Version of "David Byrne's American Utopia"
    Matthew Murphy

    Academy Award–winning director Spike Lee will direct a filmed version of the acclaimed Broadway show David Byrne’s American Utopia, due for release later this year. Participant will be the lead financier and executive producer for the project, which River Road Entertainment and Warner Music Group will also co-finance. The film will be produced by RadicalMedia, as well as David Byrne’s Todomundo and Lee’s Forty Acres and a Mule Filmworks production companies.

    “Pinch me. This couldn't have worked out better for this project,” Byrne said. “Spike Lee directing and Participant producing—two socially engaged teams, well, three if you count us in the band, coming together in what I feel will be something moving, important, and unlike anything anyone has seen before.”

    “American Utopia is a true celebration from a great artist and a beautiful reminder to our nation that we are all born barefoot and wearing the same suit,” said Participant CEO David Linde. “We are incredibly excited to work with Mr. Byrne and the incomparable Spike Lee, along with RadicalMedia, River Road, and Warner Music Group in bringing this one-of-a-kind event out of the theater to audiences around the world.”

    Stop Making Sense is one of the greatest music performance films ever,” said Jon Kamen, RadicalMedia CEO. “To have the opportunity to revisit the genius of David Byrne with American Utopia and produce a bookend film with Spike Lee and Ellen Kuras is a dream.”

    David Byrne, Spike Lee and Participant’s Jeff Skoll, David Linde, and Diane Weyermann will executive produce the film, along with Nonesuch Records President David Bither and Warner Music Group's Charlie Cohen, and Kurt Deutsch; Bill Pohlad of River Road; and RadicalMedia’s Jon Kamen, Dave Sirulnick and Meredith Bennett. Kristin Caskey, Mike Isaacson, and Patrick Catullo, who lead produced the Broadway production, will also serve as executive producers.

    David Byrne’s American Utopia opened October 2019 and runs through February 16, 2020, at the Hudson Theatre, where it has played to sold-out, record-breaking houses. For the show, Byrne is joined by eleven musical artists from around the world performing songs from his 2018 album of the same name along with songs from Talking Heads and his solo career.

    The New York Times called David Byrne’s American Utopia “an expansive, dazzlingly staged concert,” featuring “exacting, exciting and altogether astonishing choreography” by renowned American choreographer Annie-B Parson, with Tony-nominated Alex Timbers serving as production consultant, both of whom previously collaborated with Byrne on the acclaimed Imelda Marcos musical Here Lies Love. American Utopia has lighting design by Rob Sinclair and sound design by Pete Keppler. Karl Mansfield and Mauro Refosco are musical directors.

    The original American Utopia album was released by Nonesuch Records in 2018. The record received a Grammy nomination and was Byrne's first to reach No. 1 on the Album Chart; it was also his first to reach the Top Five on the Billboard 200 chart. The concert tour in support of American Utopia included more than 150 dates in twenty-seven countries over nine months. NME said it “may just be the best live show of all time.” Nonesuch released the cast album for the Broadway production of David Byrne’s American Utopia in 2019. The label has released eight other David Byrne records since 2003, including two versions of his musical Here Lies Love.

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Spike Lee to Direct Filmed Version of "David Byrne's American Utopia"

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on February 1, 2020 - 7:30am
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Saturday, February 1, 2020 - 07:30
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Academy Award–winning director Spike Lee will direct a filmed version of the acclaimed Broadway show David Byrne’s American Utopia, due later this year. Participant will be the lead financier and executive producer for the project, which River Road Entertainment and Warner Music Group will also co-finance. “Pinch me. This couldn't have worked out better for this project,” Byrne said. “Spike Lee directing and Participant producing—two socially engaged teams, well, three if you count us in the band, coming together in what I feel will be something moving, important, and unlike anything anyone has seen before.”

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Academy Award–winning director Spike Lee will direct a filmed version of the acclaimed Broadway show David Byrne’s American Utopia, due for release later this year. Participant will be the lead financier and executive producer for the project, which River Road Entertainment and Warner Music Group will also co-finance. The film will be produced by RadicalMedia, as well as David Byrne’s Todomundo and Lee’s Forty Acres and a Mule Filmworks production companies.

“Pinch me. This couldn't have worked out better for this project,” Byrne said. “Spike Lee directing and Participant producing—two socially engaged teams, well, three if you count us in the band, coming together in what I feel will be something moving, important, and unlike anything anyone has seen before.”

“American Utopia is a true celebration from a great artist and a beautiful reminder to our nation that we are all born barefoot and wearing the same suit,” said Participant CEO David Linde. “We are incredibly excited to work with Mr. Byrne and the incomparable Spike Lee, along with RadicalMedia, River Road, and Warner Music Group in bringing this one-of-a-kind event out of the theater to audiences around the world.”

Stop Making Sense is one of the greatest music performance films ever,” said Jon Kamen, RadicalMedia CEO. “To have the opportunity to revisit the genius of David Byrne with American Utopia and produce a bookend film with Spike Lee and Ellen Kuras is a dream.”

David Byrne, Spike Lee and Participant’s Jeff Skoll, David Linde, and Diane Weyermann will executive produce the film, along with Nonesuch Records President David Bither and Warner Music Group's Charlie Cohen, and Kurt Deutsch; Bill Pohlad of River Road; and RadicalMedia’s Jon Kamen, Dave Sirulnick and Meredith Bennett. Kristin Caskey, Mike Isaacson, and Patrick Catullo, who lead produced the Broadway production, will also serve as executive producers.

David Byrne’s American Utopia opened October 2019 and runs through February 16, 2020, at the Hudson Theatre, where it has played to sold-out, record-breaking houses. For the show, Byrne is joined by eleven musical artists from around the world performing songs from his 2018 album of the same name along with songs from Talking Heads and his solo career.

The New York Times called David Byrne’s American Utopia “an expansive, dazzlingly staged concert,” featuring “exacting, exciting and altogether astonishing choreography” by renowned American choreographer Annie-B Parson, with Tony-nominated Alex Timbers serving as production consultant, both of whom previously collaborated with Byrne on the acclaimed Imelda Marcos musical Here Lies Love. American Utopia has lighting design by Rob Sinclair and sound design by Pete Keppler. Karl Mansfield and Mauro Refosco are musical directors.

The original American Utopia album was released by Nonesuch Records in 2018. The record received a Grammy nomination and was Byrne's first to reach No. 1 on the Album Chart; it was also his first to reach the Top Five on the Billboard 200 chart. The concert tour in support of American Utopia included more than 150 dates in twenty-seven countries over nine months. NME said it “may just be the best live show of all time.” Nonesuch released the cast album for the Broadway production of David Byrne’s American Utopia in 2019. The label has released eight other David Byrne records since 2003, including two versions of his musical Here Lies Love.

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David Byrne's American Utopia on Broadway by Matthew Murphy dk

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