Broadway Musicians Object to David Byrnes Here Lies Love

Logo The New York TimesThe New York Times
2023-05-30 17:01:02  • 4 mins

The show plans to use recorded music instead of a live band, but a labor union says its contract for the theater requires musicians for musicals.

A labor union representing musicians is challenging David Byrnes 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 productions spokesman, Adrian Bryan-Brown, said in a statement on 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.

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