David Bowie’s new songs for stage musical Lazarus are about “romance” and “the ugly world surrounding us”, says director Ivo van Hove.
Speaking to the BBC, the theatre veteran describes Bowie’s new songs as “classics”, though he confirmed that the artist will not be appearing onstage in the production. The forthcoming show is based on The Man Who Fell To Earth, a novel by Walter Tevis, which was later turned into a Bowie-starring film in 1976.
“Some of the songs sound as if you have heard them for ever – like classics,” says van Hove. “I started with [1975 album] Young Americans as a young man and went onto Station to Station, Low, Lodger, and Heroes, but I really loved his last album The Next Day – it’s a mixture of all these things.
“There are romantic songs – because his songs are deeply romantic – and there are songs about violence and the ugly world surrounding us. That’s what these new songs are about.”
Bowie is working on Lazarus, scheduled to be debuted in New York in December, with playwright Enda Walsh.
“He told me he is going to give his songs a new skin,” van Hove said of Bowie’s contributions, which will also some include re-worked songs from his catalogue. “He will not be onstage – I don’t think that is the thing he likes most in his life. But as far as I can judge, it is a very important project in his life.”