David Byrne honoured with Special Tony Award for ‘American Utopia’

Byrne also performed Talking Heads' 'Burning Down the House' during the ceremony

David Byrne has been honoured at this year’s 74th Annual Tony Awards at New York City’s Winter Garden Theatre for his Broadway production American Utopia.

The former Talking Heads bandleader was presented with a Special Tony Award for the production, based off his 2018 album of the same name, which was also adapted into a concert film directed by Spike Lee that was released late last year on HBO.

Byrne also performed Talking Heads’ 1982 ‘Speaking in Tongues’ favourite ‘Burning Down the House’ during the awards ceremony. Watch that below:


American Utopia began its Broadway run at the Hudson Theatre in October of 2019 before closing in February last year. The unique concert utilised cutting edge technology to free its dozen performers from being tethered to any cables, allowing Byrne and his live band members to move about the stage without restrain.

In addition to songs from the same name, the performance also included classics from throughout Byrne’s career, including Talking Heads songs ‘This Must Be the Place’ and, ‘Once in a Lifetime’, ‘Born Under Punches’ and ‘Road to Nowhere’. It also featured a cover of Janelle Monáe‘s ‘Hell You Talmbout’.

NME gave the production a five-star review in January of last year, calling it a “staggering live show” that, much like the original tour behind the solo album of the same name, “continues to be an unreplicable musical experience”.

Earlier this month, American Utopia returned to the stage for a six-month run, having relocated to the St. James Theatre.