The otherworldly stage musical Lazarus, built around the songs of David Bowie, began previews at the East Village's New York Theatre Workshop in November 2015, and officially opened on December 7. Just over a month later, on January 10, the world learned that Bowie had died: Lazarus and the album Blackstar (released on Bowie's birthday, January 8) would be the rock icon's final artistic offerings. But whereas anyone could listen to the album, Lazarus was seen by very few; NYTW seats only 199 people, and the production's entire two-month run had sold out within hours of tickets going on sale.
This week, to mark the fifth anniversary of Bowie's death, Lazarus is rising again. From Friday, January 8, through Sunday, January 10, a filmed version of the show will be available for streaming online. The recording captures the musical's 2016 mounting at London's King's Cross Theatre. As in New York, the central role of Newton—an older version of the alien played by Bowie in the 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth—is portrayed by Michael C. Hall (Dexter), who is joined by his NYC costars Sophia Anne Caruso (Beetlejuice) and Michael Esper (American Idiot).
Showtimes for the stream are staggered for the benefit of viewers around the world. The three aimed at U.S. audiences are on Friday and Saturday at 9pm EST and Sunday at 4pm EST. The broadcasts can only be watched live, and no playback will be available after each has concluded. Tickets cost $21.50, and can be purchased here.
What can Bowie fans expect from Lazarus? For one thing, it is weird. Very weird. Written by Ireland's Enda Walsh (Once) as a sequel to The Man Who Fell to Earth, the show depicts an extraterrestrial visitor who has grown alienated from his life on Earth. As directed by the experimental Belgian auteur Ivo van Hove (A View from the Bridge), who specializes in spectacular chill, Lazarus weaves songs from the classic Bowie canon (such as "Changes," "Heroes" and "This Is Not America") with new creations (including the title number, which appears on Blackstar) into a disjointed narrative that, like Bowie himself, seems to gravitate toward a state of flux.
Critics and audiences at the time were mixed in their response to the work, but it may help to know in advance that Lazarus is by no means a conventional jukebox musical. "That the piece unfolds in dream logic, or as a fever dream, is fairly obvious in the first 10 minutes, so best to let it wash over you without worrying about sequence or connections," wrote David Cote in his 2015 Time Out review. "Even casual admirers of the Bowie songbook will come away with renewed awe at his ruined-poet turn of phrase and jittery melodic genius."
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