Many people have pondered the question: What would you do if you knew you would die in 24 hours?
Dearly departed David Bowie knew for 18 months, as he battled with cancer, that he would be meeting his fate soon. Incredibly, he spent those last precious months fearlessly creating art as a parting gift to his loved ones and millions of fans around the world.
“Lazarus,” Bowie's single that was released just two days before his death, turns out to be a carefully orchestrated farewell from the music and movie superstar. Only those closest to him knew he had cancer. Many say that looking back at his latest released work, the themes of facing death and introspection on how to live are clearly present.
The name of his single is also the title of an off-Broadway production that Bowie had been working on. Currently starring Michael C. Hall of the “Dexter" HBO series, it features new music as well as classic Bowie songs.
The musical is described as a “two-hour meditation on grief and lost hope” and follows the journey of Thomas Newton, played by Hall.
Bowie fans will, of course, remember the name Thomas Newton as the character he portrayed in the 1976 film "The Man Who Fell To Earth,” about an alien who crashed on earth looking for water to bring back to his home planet. “Lazarus” is a sequel to the 1963 novel by Walter Tevis, which the film was based upon.
Newton has not aged a single day in the four decades since we last saw him and although he is incredibly wealthy, he spends most of his days drinking gin in his bare New York penthouse, remembering his family on his planet as well as the woman who loved and left him, Mary-Lou.
The script for “Lazarus” was penned by Bowie himself with Enda Walsh. Bowie made a surprise come-back in 2013 from a 10-year hiatus with the album "The Next Day." Much like the secrecy behind the album, and not giving many interviews about his work which followed, not much about the play was revealed until the first preview in November 2015. The play officially opened on Dec. 7 and will have a limited engagement at the New York Theatre Workshop.
The company of “Lazarus” will also be bidding goodbye to Bowie, and will be giving a gift to his fans as well. Reports say they are currently recording a cast album of the musical that includes songs which Bowie himself reworked and lifted out of his own repertoire such as “Heroes,” “Life On Mars,” “The Man Who Sold The World” and of course, his parting gift to fans, “Lazarus.”