Rock and roll's undeniable elder statesman David Bowie is in the midst of co-writing an off-Broadway adaptation of The Man Who Fell to Earth.

Bowie, of course, famously played the lead role of Thomas Newton in the 1976 film version of Walter Tevis' 1963 sci-fi novel. Now, almost 40 years later, Bowie is working to bring Newton's character back to life on the New York Theater Workshop's stage in Manhattan's East Village. The new play, titled Lazarus, is being written by Bowie in collaboration with Tony-Award winner Enda Walsh (Once).

According to NYTW artistic director James C. Nicola, the project has actually been "in secret development for years." Lazarus is set to open this year with Obie-winning director Ivo van Hove (Scenes From a Marriage) at the helm. Nicola says he doesn't know quite how to categorize the upcoming production, stopping shy of referring to Lazarus as a "musical." Nevertheless, the play will feature new arrangements of Bowie classics.

The new play will hit close to Bowie's longstanding passions for acting, drama, sci fi and, of course, music. No stranger to the theater, Bowie played the lead role in a 1980-81 run of playwright Bernard Pomerance's Elephant Man without any prosthetic makeup. He also transferred his affinity for sci-fi to his son, filmmaker Duncan Jones (Moon). According to Jones, Bowie required him to read sci-fi every night as a youngster.

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