David Byrne’s ‘Here Lies Love’ Musical is Turning Broadway Musicians Against Producers

Main issue: the show's pre-recorded tracks

As Deadline Hollywood reports, the use of pre-recorded tracks in the David Byrne-Fatboy Slim musical Here Lies Love is pitting New York City’s musicians’ union against the show’s producers, with the union calling the concept an “existential threat to Broadway” and producers saying the tracks are “part of the karaoke genre inherent to the musical.”

The duo’s musical has already received considerable critical acclaim during previous stagings Off-Broadway and in London. The immersive production will place a segment of the audience seated in a reconstructed section of the Broadway Theatre within the dance club.

The Broadway production begins previews at the Broadway Theatre on Saturday, June 17, with opening night set for Thursday, July 20.

The use of pre-recorded tracks has been an integral part of the musical throughout its long development. In a statement, the show’s producers (led by Hal Luftig, Patrick Catullo, Diana DiMenna, and Plate Spinner Productions, Clint Ramos, and Jose Antonio Vargas) said, “Since Here Lies Love was first conceived seventeen years ago, every production…has been performed to pre-recorded track; this is part of the karaoke genre inherent to the musical and the production concept.”

On the other hand, according to Tino Gagliardi, musicians’ union Local 802 President and Executive Director, “For generations, audiences have experienced Broadway shows with live music performed by the best musicians in the world, and by using just pre-recorded tracks it not only cheapens the art it’s putting jobs and livelihoods at risk.”

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CULTURE (counter, pop, and otherwise) and the people who shape it.

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