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David Byrne’s ‘Here Lies Love’ Reaches Deal With Broadway Musicians

“Here Lies Love,” the new David Byrne musical scheduled to start previews on Broadway next week, has bowed to objections by a labor union and agreed that 12 musicians will be part of the production.

The producers of the musical, which is a dance-club-like show about Imelda Marcos, and the union, Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, announced the agreement late Friday afternoon.

“On behalf of our entire cast, company and creative team, we have reached an agreement with Musicians Union Local 802, per the collective bargaining agreement,” the producers of the musical said in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming audiences to experience the revolutionary musical experience that is ‘Here Lies Love’ at the Broadway Theater beginning on Saturday, June 17.”

The union issued a similarly terse, but slightly more detailed, statement, saying, “After negotiation, we have reached an agreement that will bring live music to ‘Here Lies Love’ with the inclusion of 12 musicians to the show. Broadway is a very special place with the best musicians and performances in the world, and we are glad this agreement honors that tradition.”

Eric Koch, a communications consultant for the union, said three of the company’s actors would be counted among the 12 musicians.

The show, with Hal Luftig as its lead producer, is one of the larger productions planned for Broadway this summer, with a big budget to redo the Broadway Theater so that the production can be staged in an immersive fashion, with much of the audience on a dance floor surrounded by the action.

“Here Lies Love,” about Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines, was written by Byrne and Fatboy Slim. It has been around for more than 15 years, and has been praised by critics and popular with audiences. It was presented as a song cycle at Carnegie Hall in 2007, and there were productions in 2012 at Mass MoCA, an art museum in the Berkshires; in 2013 at the Public Theater in New York; in 2014 at London’s National Theater and back at the Public for a second engagement; and in 2017 at the Seattle Repertory Theater.

The production has in the past used recorded music with live singers, but as the Broadway opening neared, the labor union objected, saying its contract with the Broadway League requires the use of live musicians. The union had threatened to protest this weekend’s Tony Awards and the show’s upcoming previews; on Friday, the two sides settled the dispute.

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