David Bowie's Lazarus will feature new 'classics' about love and violence

David Bowie

‘There are romantic songs - because his songs are deeply romantic – and there are songs about violence and the ugly world surrounding us’ says director behind the forthcoming stage show

The director of David Bowie’s forthcoming musical stage show has revealed that Lazarus will include a number of new “classics” about love and violence.

Set to premiere at the New York Theatre Workshop in December, Lazarus is based on The Man Who Fell to Earth and centres around Thomas Newton, a character played by Bowie in the 1976 screen adaptation directed by Nic Roeg.

Speaking to the BBC, director Ivo van Hove confirmed Bowie would not be appearing on stage in Lazarus, but shed some light on the type of musical content fans can expect. As well as re-arrangements of Bowie’s old songs (“He told me he is going to give his songs a new skin”), Van Hove said some of the new songs “sound as if you have heard them for ever – like classics”.

Describing the new Bowie music as “really great stuff”, he added that preparations for the show are “far advanced”.

“I started with [1975 album] Young Americans as a young man and went on to 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.”

He added: “He will not be on stage – 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.”

Bowie is co-writing Lazarus with Irish playwright Enda Walsh, the award-winning writer of the musical Once. Speaking to the New York Times, James Nicola, the artistic director of the New York Theater Workshop, said the project had been in the works for some years, but was not sure whether calling it a “musical” was the most accurate term.

“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 said. “I just have incredible trust in their creative vision.”

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