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|Basis||The Man Who Fell to Earth
by Walter Tevis
Lazarus is a musical with music and lyrics composed by David Bowie, and a book written by Enda Walsh. First performed at the end of 2015, it was one of the last works Bowie completed before his death on 10 January 2016. The musical is inspired by the 1963 novel The Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis. Bowie previously starred in the 1976 film adaptation of the same name, directed by Nicolas Roeg.
As of December 2018 there have been seven productions: one each in New York, London, Bremen, Düsseldorf, Vienna, Linz and Hamburg. Further productions are planned for Aarhus, Nuremberg, Leipzig, Amsterdam, Bielefeld, Göttingen, Melbourne, Wroclaw, Oslo, Bergen and Tel-Aviv.
Thomas Jerome Newton, an alcoholic alien who's desperate to return to his home planet.
Elly, Newton's personal assistant who eventually falls in love with him.
Girl/Marley, an ethereal teenage girl who promises to help Newton return home.
Valentine, a sinister figure who haunts Newton.
New York production
The musical was staged for a limited run at New York Theatre Workshop in Manhattan, directed by Ivo van Hove. Henry Hey, who previously played keyboards on Bowie's 2013 album The Next Day, served as musical director and arranger/orchestrator for the production and worked closely with Bowie during its development. Like Bowie's contemporary album Blackstar (with which it shares the song "Lazarus"), much of the production of the musical was kept secret until its first preview in November 2015. The musical opened on 7 December 2015 with a planned run through 17 January 2016, although the production was extended to 20 January 2016. Tickets to the entire run of the musical sold out within hours of being made available.
- Michael C. Hall as Thomas Jerome Newton.
- Cristin Milioti as Newton's assistant, Elly.
- Sophia Anne Caruso as Newton's muse.
- Michael Esper as Valentine.
- Alan Cumming as the girl's killer (video insert)
- Lynn Craig as Maemi.
- Nicholas Christopher as Ben.
Bowie's last public appearance was at 7 December 2015 opening night of the production.
New York City's mayor's office declared the final day of the play's run (20 January 2016) "David Bowie Day" in honour of the late artist and presented the proclamation to managing director Jeremy Blocker at the curtain call of the final show.
A London production of the musical ran at the King's Cross Theatre from 8 November 2016 to 22 January 2017, with previews beginning the week of 25 October. Ivo van Hove again directed the London production and Henry Hey was the musical director and arranger/orchestrator. The London production was produced by Robert Fox Ltd. and Jones/Tintoretto Entertainment.
- Michael C. Hall as Thomas Jerome Newton
- Amy Lennox as Newton's assistant, Elly
- Sophia Anne Caruso as Newton's muse
- Michael Esper as Valentine
- Jamie Muscato as Ben
A performance in London was recorded for a Lazarus film; the film was shown in New York for one night in May, 2018, and was later livestreamed worldwide online in January, 2021 for the fifth anniversary of David Bowie's death.
An Amsterdam production of the musical premiered on 13 October 2019 at the DeLaMar Theater. This production also involves Ivo van Hove as director and Henry Hey as musical supervisor and arranger/orchestrator.
The cast involves:
- Dragan Bakema as Thomas Jerome Newton
- Pieter Embrechts as Valentine
- Noortje Herlaar as Elly
- Juliana Zijlstra as Girl 
Lazarus features a number of songs from Bowie's back catalogue as well as four new tracks ("Lazarus", "No Plan", "Killing a Little Time", "When I Met You").
All tracks are written by David Bowie, except where noted.
Original cast recording
On 21 October 2016, the original cast recording, Lazarus, was released. The album was produced by Henry Hey, who was the musical director and arranger/orchestrator of the original New York production and subsequent productions in London and Amsterdam. The album also features three previously unreleased songs from Bowie, among the last he recorded prior to his death.
Lazarus met with a mixed critical reception; while some critics praised the concept and performances, others found it pretentious and difficult to follow.
Ben Brantley said in his review of the production in The New York Times that "Ice-bolts of ecstasy shoot like novas through the fabulous muddle and murk of Lazarus, the great-sounding, great-looking and mind numbing new musical built around songs by David Bowie." Rolling Stone called the musical a "tour de force" and "theater at its finest."
Among the negative reviews, Ann Trenemen of The Times called the play "pretentious rubbish" and "nonsense on stilts", while Dominic Cavendish of The Telegraph wrote that he was "disappointed" in Bowie's final project, and that "it’s hard to engage head or heart when there’s so much enigma".
Awards and nominations
Original Off-Broadway production
|2016||Drama Desk Awards||Outstanding Actor in a Musical||Michael C. Hall||Nominated|
|Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical||Brian Ronan||Nominated|
|Outstanding Projection Design||Tal Yarden||Nominated|
|Drama League Awards||Distinguished Performance||Michael C. Hall||Nominated|
|Outer Critics Circle Awards||Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical||Nominated|
|Outstanding Book of a Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway)||Enda Walsh||Nominated|
|Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical||Michael Esper||Nominated|
|Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical||Sophia Anne Caruso||Nominated|
|Outstanding Projection Design (Play or Musical)||Tal Yarden||Nominated|
|Lucille Lortel Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical||Michael C. Hall||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical||Sophia Anne Caruso||Nominated|
Original Off-West End production
|2017||WhatsOnStage Awards||Best Actor in a Musical||Michael C. Hall||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress in a Musical||Amy Lennox||Nominated|
|Sophia Anne Caruso||Nominated|
|Best Video Design||Tal Yarden||Nominated|
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- Cavandish, Dominic (8 November 2016). "Lazarus review – Bowie musical lands in London, but does it really make the grade?". The Telegraph. London, England: Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
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