David Bowie is returning to the stage — but only as an author. The New York Times reports that Bowie collaborated with Once playwright Enda Nicola on a musical play called Lazarus. It’s loosely based on the 1963 Walter Tevis sci-fi novel The Man Who Fell to Earth, and though it’s not a direct re-telling, it does center around Thomas Jerome Newton, the character who Bowie portrayed in the 1976 film version of the story.
The show will run at New York Theater Workshop, an off Broadway venue, and Bowie is writing new music for the feature as well as arranging older numbers. Apparently, Bowie has been working on the project in secret for years now, and it will finally open this winter. The theatre’s artistic director James C. Nicola said the piece falls somewhere between a musical and a play:
It’s going to be a play with characters and songs — I’m calling it music theater, but I don’t really know what it’s going to be like, I just have incredible trust in their creative vision. I’m really excited about it. These are three very different sensibilities to be colliding.
Lazarus will be directed by Ivo van Hove, an “avant-garde Belgian director” who has a close relationship with New York Theater Workshop. Van Hove used some of Bowie’s music last year in his production of Angels In America at Brooklyn Academy of Music. Bowie will not perform in the play, though his early ’80s Broadway stint in The Elephant Man no doubt prepared him for an off Broadway role. You can read the full press release here.