Entertainment & Arts

David Bowie's new songs for Lazarus 'sound like classics'

David Bowie
Image caption The show will also feature reworked versions of old Bowie songs

David Bowie has written a number of new "classics" about love and violence for his forthcoming musical stage show, its director has revealed.

Ivo van Hove confirmed Bowie would not be appearing on stage in Lazarus, which is based on The Man Who Fell to Earth.

The singer is co-writing the show with Irish playwright Enda Walsh, the award-winning writer of the musical Once.

It is set to premiere at the New York Theatre Workshop in December.

"Some of the songs sound as if you have heard them for ever - like classics," van Hove told the BBC in an exclusive interview at Sunday's Olivier Awards.

The Belgian was named best director for his acclaimed version of Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge, with its star Mark Strong winning best actor.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ivo van Hove (right) with the Young Vic's artistic director David Lan (left) at Sunday's Olivier Awards

Van Hove said preparations for Lazarus were already "far advanced" and described the new Bowie material as "really great stuff".

"I started with [1975 album] Young Americans as a young man and went onto Station to Station, Low, Lodger, and Heroes, but I really loved his last album The Next Day - it's a mixture of all these things.

"There are romantic songs - because his songs are deeply romantic - and there are songs about violence and the ugly world surrounding us. That's what these new songs are about."

The show is inspired by the 1963 novel, The Man Who Fell to Earth, by Walter Tevis, and centres on the character of Thomas Newton, played by Bowie in the 1976 screen adaptation directed by Nic Roeg.

Lazarus will also feature re-arrangements of Bowie's old songs. "He told me he is going to give his songs a new skin," van Hove said.

"He will not be on stage - I don't think that is the thing he likes most in his life. But as far as I can judge, it is a very important project in his life."

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