From Fun Home to Waitress, from Next to Normal to Finding Neverland - it's always fun collating the various rumours flying around theatreland. After a very busy...
Why You Should be Excited for David Bowie's Lazarus Musical
After months of speculation it has finally been confirmed that the David Bowie musical Lazarus will transfer to London, where it will open at the King's Cross Theatre in October 2016.
Tickets for the London production will be available from 10am on Monday 25 July 2016 from here.
Having already taken New York by storm during its initial run at the New York Theatre Workshop in December 2015, where it was extended due to popular demand, the production has since been planning the next stage of its production. Following Bowie's death in January of this year, interest in the musical has increased, leading to an unprecedented demand for tickets to see the show that Rolling Stone called “a surrealistic tour de force”. London audiences now have the opportunity to book tickets to the show and enjoy this fantastic and unique piece of musical theatre. If you still need some convincing, read on to find out why Lazarus should be on your list of shows to see in 2016.
David Bowie's music spans five decades and is amongst some of the most iconic pop music ever created. From his early hits such as “The Man Who Sold the World” to the title track “Lazarus” which comes from the 2016 album 'Blackstar', his music not only defines a generation but continues to inspire new audiences. Lazarus the Musical brings together a score of 18 hit David Bowie songs from across his career, with tracks such as “Sound and Vision”, “All The Young Dudes” and “This is Not America”, to the more well-known “Heroes”, “Changes” and “Life on Mars”. Much more than a typical jukebox musical, these new arrangements blend alongside a number of specially written hits, including “No Plan”, “Killing a Little Time” and “When I Met You” to create a memorable and highly theatrical musical score.
Aside from the score and performances, Lazarus features a unique production that has been created by a number of the theatre industry's top creative minds. Directed by Tony Award-winning Ivo Van Hove, it features designs by Jan Versweyveld, who was recently represented on Broadway by productions of 'The Crucible' and A View From the Bridge, which earned him two Tony Award nominations. A scenographer and lighting designer Jan trained at the Sint-Lucas Institute in Brussels as well as the acclaimed Royal Academy in Antwerp. Alongside Ivo van Hove he founded the Flemish theatre groups Akt/Vertikaal and Toneelproducties De Tijd and became the regular scenographer of the Zuidelijk Toneel theatre group. His work both on and off-Broadway have earned him much recognition, and his design for Lazarus were enjoyed by audiences who appreciated the highly inventive and original settings. In the new London space, it is anticipated that his designs will be developed to fit the venue, bringing audiences closer to the world of the production.
Lazarus was met with a wide range of critical acclaim with reviewers finding much joy in both the delivery of the David Bowie score and the exceptional production. Ben Brantley of the New York Times commented that it was like “ice-cold bolts of ecstasy shoot like novas through the glamorous muddle”, whilst the Associated Press called Van Hove's direction “precise”, saying that it was “crystal clear that the production is packed with talent”. The Guardian said that “it's nearly impossible not to be persuaded and baffled and at least a little thrilled” by the production, with Rolling Stone calling it a “beautifully nuanced production”.
Dutch director Ivo Van Hove is one of the most sought after creatives working in the industry today. His work has been seen all around the world, including productions in both the West End and New York. His work is frequently seen at the Barbican in London, and was recently nominated for multiple awards for his production of A View From the Bridge which originated at the Young Vic, before transferring to Broadway where it won him the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. He has been the general director of Toneelgroep Amsterdam since 2001 and is a regular guest director at the New York Theatre Workshop, where his production of Lazarus was first presented. In 2015, he also directed a new production of Antigone that was co-produced by the Barbican and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, starring Juliette Binoche which toured to six European and four US venues. His work on Lazarus was highly praised by critics who recognised his unique style as the perfect accompaniment to Bowie's score and original vision for the show.
The musical is described as a sequel to Walter Tevis's novel “The Man Who Fell to Earth” in which David Bowie himself previously starred in the 1976 film adaptation which was directed by Nicolas Roeg. Highly expressive and distinctly non-linear, Lazarus returns to the character of Thomas Newton who remains on Earth, a man still unable to die. The musical follows Newton across a number of days as the arrival of a similar lost soul brings the promise to finally set him free. Haunted by a past love and soaked in cheap gin, Newton is looking for a way out, and comes to rely on this remarkable stranger. The book is written by Bowie and Irish playwright Enda Walsh, who is most widely known for his stage adaptation of the Tony Award-winning Once the Musical. Almost completely sung through, the narrative weaves the score and story together to tell this exciting and highly imaginative tale.
It has been confirmed that Michael C Hall (Thomas Newton), Michael Esper (Valentine) and Sophia Anne Caruso (Girl) will all reprise their roles from the original New York Production. Hall is perhaps most famously known as the title character in the TV show 'Dexter', which he starred and co-produced. His New York stage roles include the Emcee in Cabaret, Billy Flynn in Chicago and the premiere of Will Eno's The Realistic Joneses in 2014. Most recently he starred as the title role in the Tony Award-winning revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Michael Esper's recent Broadway credits include American Idiot and the Sting musical The Last Ship, as well as films such as 'Francis Ha' and 'A Beautiful Mind'. Sophia Anne Caruso has starred in the New York productions of Blackbird and The Nether, as well as the musicals Little Dancer, Ruthless and Annie. She was nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award for her performance in Lazarus at the New York Theatre Workshop.
Lazarus was one of David Bowie's final artistic projects, along with his 2016 album 'Blackstar' that he worked on before his death. Having grown up with a desire to write musical theatre for London and New York audiences, he always preferred to write songs to be performed by other people. After coming up with the initial idea for Lazarus in 2013, he worked like “a lion on a deathbed”, as described by Van Hove, in order to get the work completed before his death on 10 January 2016 at the age of 69. He kept his illness a secret from those he was working with, with many in the cast and production team shocked at his untimely death during the run of the initial production. His last public appearance was on 7 December 2015 on the opening night of the production. Following his death, the New York City Mayor declared the final performance date on 20 January 2016 “David Bowie Day”, presenting the honour to the managing director of New York Theatre Workshop on the final curtain call.