Imagine for a minute that David Bowie wrote a play. Did your head suddenly fill with bizarre images and wonderful sounds? Good. Anyway, Bowie and Tony-winning playwright Enda Walsh (Once), co-wrote a musical titled Lazarus, which is supposed to be an extension of the 1963 Walter Tevis novel The Man Who Fell to Earth. This might sounds familiar because a film of the same name was released in 1976 and starred none other than David Bowie.
The production will center around Thomas Newton, the alien whom Bowie played in the ’76 film. However, Michael C. Hall (Dexter) will take up the lead in this edition. The show’s director, Ivo van Hove, shared some details of the show’s plot with the New York Times.
“Lazarus focuses on Newton as he remains on Earth, a man unable to die, his head soaked in cheap gin and haunted by a past love. We follow Newton through the course of a few days where the arrival of another lost soul might set him free.”
This is where it gets really Bowie-style. Van Hove admitted, “You don’t know what you’re watching for about 40 minutes or so,” He feels that the audience will be able to follow along regardless especially on “an emotional level,” and he even teased “a sad and shocking ending.” I wonder if h’s saying that for shits and grins or if they actually altered the ending. The show has rapidly become the fastest-selling show the Off Broadway New York Theater Workshop has ever produced.
“You don’t know what you’re watching for about 40 minutes or so,”
Bowie wrote music especially for the production and Hove described the soundtrack and lyrics as filled “with a mixture of romance and itchy violence.” Sounds like classic David Bowie to me.
Walsh also offered some thematic hints while discussing his role co-writing Lazarus with Bowie. “This is really my territory,” he said. “I understand that isolated, lonely, broken, unstable sort of character.” The writer also recalled hearing songs Bowie wrote for the production before they began working on the script, describing the music and lyrics as fraught “with a mixture of romance and itchy violence.”
The show officially opened December 7th and will run through January 20.