Tuesday, December 7

An American utopia settles on Broadway


Byrne (cento) put together a group with artists from different countries to offer a concert-style show of impeccable musical quality./Photo: Matthew Matthew Murphy

Photo: Matthew Murphy / Courtesy

In ‘American Utopia’ immigrants are a vital piece, something that goes hand in hand with the message that the acclaimed play led by David Byrne wants to convey.

The acclaimed Scottish-born musician, formerly the lead singer of the rock band Talking Heads, has returned to the live stage and is now performing at the St. James Theater (246 West 44th Street) with the acclaimed production, which was recently honored with a special Tony award.

Byrne assembled a group with artists from different countries, such as Brazil, France, Canada and the United States, to offer a concert-style show of impeccable musical quality, jubilant choreographies and messages that invite you to imagine a better world. A show that becomes a celebration of life that cannot come in better moments, after the world suffered a huge hiatus due to the pandemic.

Dressed in gray, barefoot, carrying different musical instruments without cables that limit them, Jacquelene Acevedo, Gustavo Di Dalva, Daniel Freedman, Chris Giarmo, Tim Keiper, Tendayi Kuumba, Karl Mansfield, Mauro Refosco, Stéphane San Juan, Angie Swan and Bobby Wooten III accompany Byrne at the party on a simple stage, which does not need more than a few lights and an occasional element to serve as a framework for the production.

“The show shows a utopian society where everyone is treated the same and at the same time asks the question ‘how can we create a better society together?”, Says Stéphane San Juan, one of the show’s percussionists, a national French and who has lived in New York for 4 years after living in Brazil for 15.

Stéphane San Juan (second from right) is one of the show’s percussionists. Photos: Matthew Murphy

San Juan arrived at the show in 2019, after one of the musical directors, Mauro Refosco, called him on emergency to cover another of the percussionists, when the production was showing in London, and immediately Byrne invited him to stay for the whole the tour, which has traveled 30 countries before settling in our city for a limited time.

“Being here with this show on Broadway, six days a week, is incredible. I feel very blessed, especially after everything we have experienced during the pandemic, “said the music producer, also.” The idea of ​​the show is to show diversity and there is no better place to do it than New York.

Regarding the message that this show wants to convey, inspired by the 2018 American Utopia album, with music and lyrics by David Byrne, San Juan points out that there is a kind of existentialism about how to deal with what we feel inside and what we live outside.

“I think the show provides ideas for learning to live together harmoniously. It invites us to move forward as individuals, make changes and improve as a society ”, he says. “I recommend it to everyone because we carry a very positive message about how to be happier.”

American Utopia will be on Broadway until June 2022. For more information, visit: https://americanutopiabroadway.com/


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