David Bowie to Fall to Earth on Off Broadway

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Bowie in "The Man Who Fell to Earth" movie.

Bowie in “The Man Who Fell to Earth” movie.

After a decade-long public creative hiatus that ended nicely with a new album in 2013, The Next Day, the man known as Ziggy Stardust and The Thin White Duke, among other personae, now opens yet another new aspect to his dazzlingly-varied career by going back to the future with a musical theater project based on the book and later 1976 film (that he starred in): The Man Who Fell to Earth. Titled Lazarus, it has been in gestation for a while now, and many details still remain under wraps even with its recent public announcement. Bowie is collaborating on the play with Tony Award-winning Irish playwright Enda Walsh, writing new songs for its score and adapting music from the film. After conceiving the idea, Bowie presented it to innovative and acclaimed Belgian theatre director Ivo van Hove, who used Bowie’s songs in his well-received version of Angels in America at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (aka BAM) last October, and will direct the production.

The New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW) will help develop and stage the project, which NYTW’s artistic director James Nicola shies away from calling a “musical.” per se. “It’s going to be a play with characters and songs – I’m calling it music theatre, but I don’t really know what it’s going to be like,” he told The New York Times. “I just have incredible trust in their creative vision.” Although Bowie won raves as an actor on Broadway in “The Elephant Man,” he won’t play the lead role of alien Thomas Newton of the planet Anthea as he did in the 1976 movie. It lands on our planet at NYTW’s theatre in Manhattan’s East Village during its 2015/2016 season.

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