David Bowie will bring his iconic screen character — Thomas Jerome Newton, from the 1976 cult British sci-fi film The Man Who Fell to Earth — to the stage as part of the 2015-16 season at off-Broadway’s New York Theater Workshop.
The humanoid alien will be the protagonist of the play with music, Lazarus, by Bowie and Irish playwright Enda Walsh, inspired by the 1963 novel by Walter Tevis that yielded Nicolas Roeg‘s film version.
Bowie has written new songs for the world premiere project as well as new arrangements of previously recorded material. Avant-garde Belgian director Ivo van Hove will stage Lazarus at the end of the year, with exact dates, cast and other details to be announced.
In the film, Bowie played an extraterrestrial who crash-lands on Earth while seeking water to save his drought-stricken planet; he is not expected to appear in the stage production.
Both Walsh and van Hove have a history with New York Theater Workshop. Walsh wrote the book for the stage adaptation of Once, which debuted at NYTW and transferred to Broadway, winning eight Tony Awards, including best musical.
Van Hove’s many productions at the off-Broadway venue have included Scenes From a Marriage, A Streetcar Named Desire, Hedda Gabler and The Little Foxes. The director used Bowie songs in his acclaimed staging of Tony Kushner‘s Angels in America, which was seen at the Brooklyn Academy of Music last fall. Van Hove is currently represented in London’s West End with a hit revival of Arthur Miller‘s A View From the Bridge, starring Mark Strong.
Also on NYTW’s 2015-16 season slate is the world premiere of Fondly, Collette Richland, a new play from resident company Elevator Repair Service, written by Sibyl Kempson and directed by John Collins.
The play, which features original compositions performed live by musician Mike Iveson, concerns a couple at home in a wintry American town who are summoned through a portal in their living room into a phantasmagorical world in which they assume ancient identities.