David Bowie’s Lazarus: director reveals details

Some light is shed on the play's "broken and fractured" plot

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Details have emerged of Lazarus, the forthcoming Off Broadway musical co-written by David Bowie.

In a New York Times feature, the play’s director Ivo van Hove and co-writer Enda Walsh spoke about the play’s “broken and fractured” plot.

The production is based on Walter Tevis’ novel The Man Who Fell To Earth, which was filmed by Nic Roeg in 1976, starring Bowie as an alien, Thomas Jerome Newton.


Speaking to the New York Times, van Hove revealed the raw plot details of Lazarus.

“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,” said van Hove. “We follow Newton through the course of a few days where the arrival of another lost soul might set him free.”

The musical features several new songs alongside reworkings of eight songs from Bowie’s back catalogue.


The NYT piece reveals that one of these is “This Is Not America“, which Bowie recorded in 1985 with the Pat Metheny Group.

The piece also reports that none of the songs Bowie recorded for a scrapped soundtrack to Roeg’s film feature in Lararus.

Speaking about the play’s narrative, meanwhile, Walsh said, “The piece is broken and fractured; the information comes late. You don’t know what you’re watching for about 40 minutes or so.” But he hoped that audiences would be able to track the narrative on “an emotional level.” And he teased that the various strands would build to “a sad and shocking ending.”

Lazarus previews at the New York Theatre Workshop on Wednesday, November 18, and opens on December 7, when it runs through to January 17.

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