David Byrne’s Here Lies Love Musical Opposed by Broadway Musicians’ Union

David Byrne

David Byrne, March 2023 (Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

David Byrne’s Here Lies Love Musical Opposed by Broadway Musicians’ Union

The American Federation of Musicians’ Local 802 claims the production violates the union’s contract with the Broadway League by using pre-recorded tracks instead of a live band

Here Lies Love, David Byrne’s musical theater collaboration with Fatboy Slim, is slated to begin previews at New York’s Broadway Theater on June 17. Now, as The New York Times reports, a labor union representing Broadway musicians is objecting to the production’s use of instrumental tracks instead of a live band. Pitchfork has contacted representatives for Byrne for comment.

According to the American Federation of Musicians’ Local 802, the production’s plan to rely on pre-recorded music violates its contract with the Broadway League, which reportedly dictates that all musicals at the Broadway Theater must employ at least 19 musicians. In a statement to The Times, production spokesperson Adrian Bryan-Brown claimed that the tracks are “part of the karaoke genre inherent to the musical and the production concept,” and have been essential to Here Lies Love from its inception.

Here Lies Love, which follows the early life of the Philippines’ controversial former first lady, Imelda Marcos, debuted in 2013. The original production drew critical acclaim for its immersive, dancefloorlike staging, which is being reinstated on Broadway. The show has had other stints in London and Seattle. Its Broadway run was announced in January, and, after nearly a month of previews, it’s set to open officially on July 20. Arielle Jacobs stars as Imelda Marcos, with Conrad Ricamora, Jose Llana, and Lea Salonga joining the cast.


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