On January 8th (David Bowie's birthday), the play Lazarus, written by David and Enda Walsh, will be streamed (for the low, low price of US$21.50). The stream is a recording of the King's Cross London production of the play.
In this Guardian piece, they speak with theater producer Robert Fox about the play and working with Bowie.
Lazarus continues the story of Thomas Newton, who Bowie played in the 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth. What was it about Newton that inspired him?
The character must have had a big effect on him to want to make a musical based on him all that time afterwards. David had a sense of being "other". The character's isolation and fame are probably an aspect of it and he probably identified with the fact that Newton was a huge drinker – David had been in his time and then got clean and sober. Playing Newton had a profound effect. He was obsessed by the character and took an option out on the novel of The Man Who Fell to Earth a long time before he came to me with the idea of turning it into a musical.
What was Bowie like as a collaborator?
The overriding feeling I got from him was one of creative generosity. He loved the people he worked with and he trusted them – he gave them 100% loyalty and was their champion. When we started rehearsing the show in New York, I got a message to meet him at a studio in Brooklyn. I went to the address and it turned out that it was the day he was shooting the video for his version of the song Lazarus, directed by Johan Renck. He was so professional and incredibly well-mannered to everyone on the crew, really polite and involved. I went back to the dressing room and David said he was tired and had to rest. I realised that not one person on that set knew that they were filming a man who was about a month away from not being around any longer. There was no fuss, bother, attention-calling or drama. That's kind of remarkable.
Image: Promotional art inset