LAZARUS: David Bowie’s Musical turns into Memorial after his Death

A performance of David Bowie’s melancholy musical, Lazarus, turned into a memorial on Tuesday night as fans who had bought tickets to celebrate his music instead found themselves mourning his passing.

Tuesday night’s performance was the first time since Bowie’s death on Monday that the show went on at the 200-seat New York Theatre Workshop in New York’s East Village.

Cast members did not acknowledge the death or make any changes to the show. They also declined to comment. The only official nod to Bowie’s death was a video screen in the lobby showing a photo of the musician with the words: “In Memoriam, 1947-2016.” Fans left flowers near the entrance.

Starring Michael C. Hall (Dexter and Six Feet Under ), the musical has been a hit since previews began on November 18.  Bowie’s death only made tickets more desirable, with a single matinee seat going Tuesday afternoon for $1,900 on StubHub.

Bowie wrote the musical with Irish playwright Enda Walsh as a sequel to the 1963 novel The Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis, which inspired the 1976 film of the same name that Bowie starred in. The musical is directed by the Belgian avant-garde director, Ivo van Hove.

The story centers on millionaire alien Thomas Jerome Newton, whom Bowie portrayed in the film.  Newton, played now by Hall, has imprisoned himself in his own apartment, drinking gin, eating Twinkies, being tormented by his past and watching TV. He cannot leave–or die.

His new assistant gets sucked deeper into his world; Newton is visited by an ethereal girl who creates a rocket ship out of masking tape to take him home; and he’s harassed by an enigmatic, black-clad figure. At one point, the stage is filled with white liquid resembling milk, which some actors bodysurf on. At another, it is filled with dark balloons.

The story has recurring themes of creatures caught between worlds and the exhaustion that comes with daily survival. “I’m done with this living!” a character cries out at one point — a line that had more depth after Bowie’s passing.

The rest of the 11-member cast includes Cristin Milioti (a Tony Award nominee) and Broadway veteran Michael Esper.  There is also a video appearance by Alan Cumming.

The New York Theatre Workshop, a place for bold works, has seen tragedy like this before. Almost 20 years ago, playwright Jonathan Larson died on the eve of the company’s first preview of his groundbreaking Rent.


AP, Hollywood Reporter