Broadway musicians object to David Byrne's 'Here Lies Love'

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Monday, May 20, 2024

Broadway musicians object to David Byrne's 'Here Lies Love'
Conrad Ricamora in “Here Lies Love,” in New York, April 30, 2014. A labor union representing musicians is challenging David Byrne’s next Broadway show, “Here Lies Love,” saying it opposes plans to stage the production with recorded instrumental tracks instead of a live band. (Sara Krulwich/The New York Times)

by Michael Paulson

NEW YORK, NY.- A labor union representing musicians is challenging David Byrne’s next Broadway show, “Here Lies Love,” saying it opposes plans to stage the production with recorded instrumental tracks instead of a live band.

The musical — an immersive, dance-driven spectacle about Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines — is scheduled to start previews June 17 and to open July 20 at the Broadway Theater. Byrne co-wrote the music with Fatboy Slim.

The musical has previously been staged off-Broadway, in London and in Seattle, each time with a singing cast accompanied by recorded music. There are a few moments in which actors have instruments as part of the action being depicted, but there are no full-time instrumentalists.

“Since ‘Here Lies Love’ was first conceived 17 years ago, every production has been performed to prerecorded track; this is part of the karaoke genre inherent to the musical and the production concept,” the production’s spokesperson, Adrian Bryan-Brown, said in a statement Tuesday. “The music for ‘Here Lies Love’ was inspired by the phenomena of ‘track acts,’ which allowed club audiences to keep dancing, much like this production aims to do.”

But Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians says its contract with the Broadway League requires the use of 19 musicians for musicals at the Broadway Theater. (The number of musicians required under the contract varies based on theater size.)

The union says it is seeking to preserve jobs for musicians and quality for theater lovers.

“We’re not going to stand by and let this happen,” said Tino Gagliardi, the local’s president and executive director. “It’s not fair to the public.”

Since February, the producing team of “Here Lies Love,” led by Hal Luftig, has been seeking to have the show declared a “special situation,” which is a category in the labor agreement that allows for the employment of fewer musicians. The request is to be assessed by a panel that includes neutral observers as well as representatives of the Broadway League and the musicians’ union; it is not clear how long that process will take, and the ruling can be appealed to arbitration.

The League did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday, but Bryan-Brown said, “This process is ongoing and may ultimately culminate in a final and binding arbitration decision, but until that time, we will continue to work in good faith with the union to move through the steps of the contractual process.”

There have been multiple Broadway shows staged with reduced orchestra sizes over the years, but it is rare to have a musical without an orchestra at all. The best-known example was “Contact,” a dance show produced by the nonprofit Lincoln Center Theater that won the 2000 Tony Award for best musical. In 2011, the union objected to a reduced-size orchestra, along with recorded music, for the Broadway production of “Priscilla Queen of the Desert.” More recently, “The Little Prince” was staged at the Broadway Theater with music sung to recorded tracks; that show was not Tony-eligible and had a short run, so the union did not object.

The musicians say they are disappointed that the request is coming from a show associated with Byrne, whom they revere. Byrne’s last Broadway production, “American Utopia,” showcased musicians, with the band onstage playing instruments and dancing with the star.

“I was really excited that David Byrne was bringing something else to Broadway,” said Ray Cetta, a bass player and union member who has occasionally played in the band for “Chicago.” “The current situation is very surprising and disheartening. Any musician would want to work with David Byrne and bring his music to life.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Today's News

June 3, 2023

Whitney Museum sells Breuer Building to Sotheby's for about $100 million

In Samuel Fosso's photos, 'You can see evil, you gan see God'

X-ray vision brings new life to a fossil flattened by time

Carlos Cruz–Diez presents 'The Euphoria of Color' on view at Galleria Continua

With Hannah Gadsby's 'It's Pablo-matic,' the joke's on the Brooklyn Museum

Florence Griswold Museum is exclusive venue for Princeton University Art Museum traveling exhibition

The Whitney Museum appoints Drew Sawyer as Sondra Gilmann Curator of Photography

Broadway musicians object to David Byrne's 'Here Lies Love'

Bonniers Konsthall presents: Tarik Kiswanson, Becoming

Get lost in clay, even if it's just for the weekend

Figure Telling: Contemporary Bay Area Figuration now opening at di Rosa

Modern Women/Modern Vision: Photography from the Bank of America Collection

BMA selects Raúl de Nieves as second Meyerhoff-Becker Artist for East Lobby Commission

Fergus Linehan to lead Carriageworks as its next Chief Executive Officer

Javier Calleja 'Still on time' on view at Almine Rech in London

Review: In 'Grey House,' talk about an extreme case of cabin fever

Inhotim exhibits works by Mestre Didi and Mônica Ventura

I Am Not Your Mexican: curated by Eduardo Egea now on view at Ruiz-Healy Art

Lotus Laurie Kang at Chisenhale Gallery

Marc Jancou Contemporary presents Marta Naturale

Fotohof opens an exhibition of works by Inge Morathor for her 100th birthday

The Artistry of Inflatable Water Slide Designs

The Historical Top 5 Artifacts to Look Out for at the Tower of London Tour

Experience the Thrill of Live Casino Gaming at Bons Casino

How Technology Has Penetrated Every Aspect of Our Lives

4 Proven Tips for Creating Viral Videos and Building a Successful YouTube Business

Invisalign: Choosing the Right Type for Your Needs

Poker Hands In Order: What Beats What

Top Methods For Winning Online Slots

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful