David Bowie Is Back, Writing A New Play For Broadway

Thirty-five years later, David Bowie is returning to Broadway. But this time, he’ll be behind the scenes of a new production based on one of his cult film roles. The New York Times reported Thursday that Bowie will co-write a play called Lazarus, based on his character from the 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth.

Bowie took center stage on Broadway in 1980 as the lead in The Elephant Man, playing John Merrick. He is set to co-write Lazarus with Tony award winner Enda Walsh. Belgian Ivo van Hove will direct.

Of perhaps greatest interest to Bowie fans is the news that the play will feature new music written by the rock icon, as well as rehashed older pieces. Bowie, 68, released a new album, The Next Day, in 2013 after a 10-year hiatus from recording. A compilation album of his 50 years in the industry was released last fall.

The Man Who Fell to Earth was based on the 1963 novel by Walter Tevis. The film starred Bowie as the alien Thomas Newton who crashed on earth while in search for water for his home planet. The new production will form part of the 2015-16 theater season, coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the British film’s release.

The production will happen at the off-Broadway New York Theater Workshop. James C. Nicola, artistic director, said the project has been simmering for some time. Bowie had the idea to do a play based on the Tevis novel and brought it to van Hove, who in turn brought on Walsh. The project then made its way to the Workshop.

It’s unclear whether the production will be a musical, according to Nicola.

“It’s going to be a play with characters and songs — I’m calling it music theater, but I don’t really know what it’s going to be like, I just have incredible trust in their creative vision. I’m really excited about it. These are three very different sensibilities to be colliding.”

Lazarus does not yet have a cast but is set to debut in winter 2015.

Bowie has recycled a substantial amount of his back catalog in recent years as significant dates come to pass, such as the 40th anniversary in 2012 of his Ziggy Stardust album. NME reported today that Bowie will release a seven-inch picture disc of his 1971 hit “Changes” next month. The disc will be part of Record Store Day on April 18.

[Image: David Bowie in The Elephant Man October 1980 (Photo by Keystone Features/Getty)]