David Bowie and 'Once' Writer Working on Theater Adaptation of 'The Man Who Fell To Earth'; Is It A Musical?
David Bowie may not have new music ready anytime in the near future but he will be working on a theater adaptation of his cult classic 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth, according to reports from The New York Times. Other details from the stage production remain unknown, such as whether it will be musical or a more straightforward play. The new production will be titled Lazarus.
Bowie is reportedly working with Enda Walsh, the Tony-winning playwright behind Once, to write the new play, which will be staged by the New York Theater Workshop.
The mystery behind the nature of the performance goes beyond good PR—the artistic director of the New York Theater Workshop, James Nicola, couldn't provide details, although he noted that the production has been in work for "years."
"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," he said.
The director will be Ivo van Hove, described as an "avant-garde" director. Bowie reportedly brought the idea to van Hove, having wanted to create a theater version of the novel The Man Who Fell to Earth for a while. The show will apparently not repeat the plot of the film, but will focus on the same characters.
Bowie played the titular "man who fell" during the 1976 film, an alien named Thomas Jerome Newton who comes to Earth looking to take some of its water back to his own planet, which is undergoing a drought brought upon by nuclear war. He hides among humanity as one of them and goes through a rise-and-fall plot.
Bowie was initially supposed to contribute to the soundtrack for the album, however contractual obligations led to John Phillips (of The Mamas & The Papas) performing several tracks, as well as original compositions from percussionist Stomu Yamashta. The official soundtrack was never released due to further contract disputes.
Lazarus is scheduled to open during late 2015.