David Byrne Presents Altered “American Utopia” to Respond to COVID Outages

You might hear some Talking Heads songs this week

David Byrne
David Byrne performs during the "American Utopia" Reopening Night at St. James Theatre on October 17, 2021.
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

It’s a strange time for Broadway right now. With the Omicron variant of COVID-19 spreading across New York City, several shows have had outages due to key members of the cast and crew testing positive. The latest high-profile instance of this came via the current revival of The Music Man, for which star Hugh Jackman’s positive test results have led to the cancellation of several performances.

Jackman is far from alone in testing positive for COVID-19; the latest variant has affected countless shows currently up on Broadway. Included in that number is David Byrne’s American Utopia, where several musicians and crew members have fallen ill.

Byrne’s response? According to a post on Instagram and an article at Vulture, he’ll be changing things up somewhat — though the show will, as the saying goes, go on. “You can call it ‘unplugged.’ You can call it ‘unchained’ if you like,” Byrne said in his announcement. “It’ll be something unlike anything we’ve done before. It’s not quite the show, but it’s gonna be something special.”

Byrne followed up that announcement with one clarifying what the revised show — dubbed American Utopia: Unchained — would entail. Those attending performances this week will see a blend of songs from the show, Talking Heads numbers and songs from Byrne’s solo discography. It might not be what attendees expect, but it sounds pretty enticing.

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