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From 39 critic and 93 member reviews
Members say: Confusing, Great acting, Edgy, Ambitious, Absorbing

About the show

New York Theatre Workshop presents this sci-fi production, with songs by David Bowie and directed by Ivo van Hove, about a human-looking alien who comes to Earth seeking a way to bring water back to his home planet. More…

Internationally acclaimed director Ivo van Hove returns to New York Theatre Workshop with 'Lazarus,' by David Bowie and Enda Walsh. 'Lazarus' features songs specially composed for this production by Mr. Bowie as well as new arrangements of previously recorded songs. 'Lazarus,' inspired by the 1963 classic sci-fi novel 'The Man Who Fell to Earth' by Walter Tevis, centers on the character of Thomas Newton, an extraterrestrial who lands on Earth while looking for ways to send water to his drought-plagued planet.

The Wrap

"It’s the best jukebox musical ever. That may not sound like much of a compliment, but when you put David Bowie‘s musical catalogue at the service of book writers Bowie and Enda Walsh and director Ivo van Hove, the result is more than unique. It’s terrific must-see theater." Full Review


"The stage production has been imaginatively reconceived as a mind-bending theatrical experience. It is a stunning achievement for all involved...a credible and striking union between the purely fantastical, the deeper divisions of the mind as well as the many darker dimensions of human behavior...Allows us to see into the heart of Bowie's music as an entry into a frightening but also unforgettable world." Full Review

Act Three - The Reviews

"A bizarre, fantastical, and imaginative look in to the mind of a man. Make no bones about it - this production, by its very nature, is bizarre. Very bizarre...The play itself has always been discordant, imaginative, and vague. It's the nature of dreams, insanity, and mental illness. Helmed by hot Belgian experimental 'it' director, Ivo van Hove, this particular production adds potent, strong, and lavish music to the equation. The combination is magical." Full Review

Rolling Stone

"'Lazarus,' a beautifully nuanced production, continually emphasizes the surreal over the explicit at nearly every turn...'Lazarus' may bear all the earmarks of a bad idea — a continuation of another story, a single-artist soundtrack, a television serial killer singing — but the plot is coherent, the songs are great and the performances are kinetic. Newton's unflappable loneliness is depressing, but it's also compelling. Maybe all the drinking was worth it after all." Full Review


"A work of blistering nihilism, no small sum of inscrutable foolishness and a fistful of the most brilliant contemporary rock you will hear anywhere...I can also say with some certainty that director Ivo van Hove has a rich imagination ideal for this wild ride...Van Hove and choreographer Annie-B Parson — have conspired brilliantly to bring this world — of missed connections, of inner and outer space, of longing and brutal rejection — electrifyingly to life." Full Review


"It would be ridiculous to describe it as another jukebox musical...a riveting multimedia meditation — a visceral, disturbing, hallucinatory experience that’s as nonlinear and chameleonic as the rock star himself...Some songs and avant-garde techniques may seem like throwbacks. But this is urgent, stirring, genuine rock art — musical theater like nothing that has fallen to Earth before." Full Review


"We’re never sure if a character is real or in Newton’s mind. We just know he’d rather be anywhere than here. You’re strongly advised to be familiar with the bare outlines of Tevis’ story beforehand. 'Lazarus' is eye-catching and mystifying - I wish it explained itself more - but certainly never boring." Full Review

The Associated Press

"Darkly imaginative production...a colorful, avant-garde deconstruction...The plot may be murky, but van Hove's direction is precise, and it's crystal clear that the production is packed with talent...While many of the musical numbers feel relevant to the action, Bowie's often-enigmatic lyrics don't enlighten us much about what's going on...Although this is definitely not a feel-good musical, it's a pleasure to hear some of Bowie's memorable classics so well performed." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"Admittedly, the show’s new book by Tony winner Enda Walsh doesn’t always hold one’s attention or easily meld with Bowie’s music...Yet, what grounds the show is the central performance of Michael C. Hall as Newton...This powerful actor not only captures Newton’s desperation, but he has practically transformed his voice into Bowie’s, giving added resonance to such songs as 'Heroes' and 'Absolute Beginners.' It’s one of the year’s most memorable star turns." Full Review

Reflections in the Light

"I found the show edgy, interesting and thought-provoking, if a little hard to follow...There is a lot of metaphor in there and thoughts and lyrics about death and dying, which makes the show so haunting in the face of its composer's death." Full Review


"Does 'Lazarus' succeed as theater? Those unfamiliar with Bowie’s music might be left bewildered (those who hate Bowie’s music should just stay clear), and the attempts to provide character backstories and plot are the play at its most fumbling. In truth 'Lazarus' works best as a brilliantly staged collection of motifs and ideas that have obsessed David Bowie, and therefore David Bowie fans, for decades." Full Review

Shock Till You Drop

"It’s pretty obvious from this get-go that 'Lazarus' isn’t your regular ‘musical,’ but more of an experience...And that’s where 'Lazarus' fully succeeds. This is a Bowie show...'Lazarus' is a choice extension in the grand oeuvre for the perpetually enigmatic and highly individual artistry of David Bowie." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

"Unlike your typical jukebox musical, there also doesn’t seem to be an extensive effort to connect the lyrics of the songs to what is going on in the scene beforehand...the story is not 'Lazarus’ strongest suit...Given the right frame of mind – it helps to be a Bowie fan, and to have seen the movie or read the book – the story is a tantalizing mystery." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"It will be many years before we see a jukebox musical as unapologetically weird as 'Lazarus,' an almost incomprehensible and intriguing new play...This should be a terrible show. It seems unlikely that it is what its collaborators imagined, and what they have created makes little sense. But they are so extravagantly talented and the performers undertake what’s asked of them with such verve that it’s nearly impossible not to be persuaded and at least a little thrilled." Full Review

The Clyde Fitch Report

"'Lazarus' is captivating, but not necessarily to everyone’s immediate taste and not without occasionally dry and/or confounding patches...This is also to say that the logic of 'Lazarus' often crosses into the illogical — it helps to liken this show not to standard stage musicals but music videos. Yet if music videos are often the driver of the show’s charm, it is also the source of some befuddlement." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"The show is an alienation alt-musical that channels the trippy dream state of an alcoholic extraterrestrial insomniac. So the two hours of 'Lazarus' are predictably strange, often impenetrable and a tad pretentious, but always fascinating, even when distancing...Whether or not the outre folly of 'Lazarus' pays off is wide open to debate, but this may well be the nearest thing to a Bowie musical that any of us could have hoped for." Full Review

Broadway & Me

"'Lazarus' is far from being the most lucid show around…Luckily, van Hove has created captivating stage images that kept us leaning in even when we didn't know what they meant. And the music rocks…Of course, fitting the songs into the book is less of a problem when the book isn't all that coherent to begin with…Michael C. Hall, Cristin Milloti, and Michael Esper are all in great voice and throw themselves into their performances with passionate abandon." Full Review

Daily Beast

"If 'Lazarus’' story isn’t always clear, its recurring themes are reasserted in the text and music. The spoken word feels harder to hear than the sung one—and both are blown utterly out of the water by the brilliant video projections and lighting of the show...In some sense, this is Bowie’s 'Mamma Mia!'; the artiest form of the jukebox musical—far from cheesy, but any true Bowie-phile will be tapping their feet as much as scratching their head." Full Review


"The reason for the enthusiasm can be explained in two words: David Bowie. The iconic rock star, and sometime actor, is not in the musical, but he's written the score, a mix of old and new songs...Visually striking. Musically compelling. And a bit of a muddle. If you aren't familiar with the novel or film, the story's progression will be very hard to follow...'Lazarus' pulses with the energy of Bowie's songs, which range from edgy to romantic, but the evening's stylization tends to deflect em... Full Review

The New York Times

"The great-sounding, great-looking and mind-numbing new musical built around songs by David Bowie...The script, by Mr. Bowie and Mr. Walsh, switches between passages of flat-footed, literal-minded exposition and cryptic collegiate dialogue...The rest of the cast members don’t always sound convinced by what they are required to say. You become impatient for the characters to stop talking and start singing again." Full Review


"Featuring a powerfully melodic score and an enigmatic storyline, 'Lazarus' expands the mythology while maintaining many of the bizarre qualities that made the film a cult classic...The show suffers from the same problems of every musical that attempts to shoehorn a preexisting song catalogue into a contrived plot...'Lazarus' doesn't look or feel like any other musical currently playing New York. Even when it is not entirely lucid, it is still thrilling to behold." Full Review

New York Post

“'Lazarus' is a jukebox musical by and for people who think they’re too good for jukebox musicals...The source material’s sci-fi plot is largely gone, replaced with chic modernist alienation...Your guess is as good as mine as to what’s going on, though a handful of scenes will stick with you...Equally impressive is how much Hall sounds like Bowie when he sings. The effect is downright eerie — a lot more so than the show as a whole." Full Review


"An engrossing sound and light show with a psychedelic rock concert, not all of it making realistic sense…While the story may seem vague and mystical, the actors all have a handle on their characters...At times it does seem as though there are too many stories being told...'Lazarus' offers the viewer the experience of an organized happening. Not for everyone, 'Lazarus' is for David Bowie fans as well as those looking for something unusual in music theater." Full Review

AM New York

"Belgian director Ivo van Hove creates an experimental production that depends heavily on wall-to-wall video projections of offstage locations and characters...It's baffling as hell and unapologetically avant-garde. But if you're up for something like this, its arresting visuals, dreamlike atmosphere and introspective Bowie songs have the potential to keep you entranced for two straight hours without intermission." Full Review

American Theater Web

"Strands of plot and motivation whirl together in what could be described as an electro-kaleidoscope of text, song, and imagery...The cumulative effect of this the show becomes one of both frustration and rapt fascination. It’s pretty difficult to not get sucked in by the remarkably intense and thoughtful performances...The problem is that even as 'Lazarus' draws theatergoers in, it delivers confusing roadblocks." Full Review

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Profound, Dizzying, Edgy

See it if You don't mind existential theater

Don't see it if You can't hold your bladder for 2 hours

Absorbing, Edgy, Great singing, Profound, Riveting

See it if David Bowie!!!

Don't see it if Expecting Oklahoma!

Absorbing, Ambitious, Edgy, Must see, Resonant

See it if You love Bowie

Don't see it if Nothing bad to say

Absorbing, Epic, Intense, Quirky, Exquisite

See it if You're a fan of David Bowie. You like experimental theatre. You like stories that are open to interpretation. You want great singing.

Don't see it if You're not a fan of David Bowie. You prefer more traditional theatre. You prefer stories that have only 1 interpretation.

Entertaining, Confusing, Edgy, Absorbing, Great writing

See it if You love David Bowie and his music, you love edgy theater that makes you think, you are familiar with The Man Who Fell to Earth.

Don't see it if You do not like David Bowie music. You need theater to give you a linear story with complete information and tap your feet music.

Thought-provoking, Quirky, Intelligent, Riveting, Edgy

See it if If you like a new kind of story telling and like to think while watching a show. If you're into new sounds through rock music & great actors

Don't see it if If you're easily confused or dislike edgy, unique musicals;

Great acting, Intense, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Original

See it if you love David Bowie. Michael C Hall does not try to sing like Bowie, it is just his voice and that is why he is perfect. Go for the music

Don't see it if You are looking for a show that makes complete sense.

Absorbing, Great acting, Epic, Masterful

See it if If you are a Bowie fan, enjoy fabulous acting , singing, and staging

Don't see it if If you don't care for Bowie's music.

Great acting, Great staging, Intense

See it if While a bit confusing the cast and their performances were outstanding.

Don't see it if I didn't read the Man Who Fell From Earth or see the movie and am not sure if it would have helped my confusion.

Ambitious, Great acting, Original, Thought-provoking

See it if you're into plays that heroically attempt to say something significant about the human experience. See it if you're into David Bowie, too.

Don't see it if you want plays to have a clear structure and characters that are pretty much straightforward in their dealings with each other on stage.

Ambitious, Mesmerizing, Wild, Dizzying, Gorgeously sung

See it if love David Bowie's music and are a fan of more avant-garde fare, as this is among the best: intense, exquisite, weird and trippy!

Don't see it if you prefer linear narratives and typical book musicals. It can be equal parts incomprehensible/confusing and brilliant.

Ambitious, Absorbing, Intense, Great acting, Original

See it if you're a fan of Bowie, great performances (Michael C. Hall is stunning), or shows that take you on a journey through a struggling mind.

Don't see it if You prefer a traditional plot, straightforward characters, and a predictable story arc.

Great staging, Original, Confusing, Great acting

See it if You love Bowie music. Includes classics and new songs. Great acting, production and music

Don't see it if You want a story you can follow. No clue what it was about but great music and performances make it worth seeing.

Absorbing, Great acting, Original, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if you like great acting, music and something entirely different.

Don't see it if you like conventional theatre

Ambitious, Enchanting, Great acting, Great staging, Original

See it if You enjoy new and different work

Don't see it if You need a break in a two hour show without an intermission... or if you don't enjoy Bowie.

Great staging, Intense, Original, Thought-provoking, Dizzying

See it if You're a David Bowie fan.

Don't see it if You're easily confused.

Great staging, Edgy, Confusing

See it if you love Bowie more than you love a strong narrative.

Don't see it if you are sensitive to the sounds of balloons popping.

Absorbing, Confusing, Great acting, Rip david bowie, Great singing

See it if you're a David Bowie fan, like the film The Man Who Fell to Earth, want to see creative staging with a lot of projections and balloons

Don't see it if you want a very clear storyline, you're not really interested in anything about Lazarus and only want to go because it's a hot ticket

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Great staging, Thought-provoking

See it if enjoy Bowie's music and enjoy unconventional, artsy theatre with a very impressive cast who know how to bring it on stage.

Don't see it if you do not like stories that are out there with great imagination & if you do not like to be left wondering.

Absorbing, Clever, Thought-provoking, Profound, Slow

See it if You have a great deal of patience and don't need everything to make sense right away. You like seeing people taking risks

Don't see it if You need something surface-level, ready to digest.

Confusing, Great staging, Great music, Indulgent

See it if you love Bowie's music and avant-garde aesthetic.

Don't see it if you dislike experimental theater.

Absorbing, Confusing, Edgy, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy a thought provoking theater experience with amazing projections and video component, and a remake of Bowie classics.

Don't see it if You are ok leaving the theater not knowing exactly what it was you just saw, or the connections among all the characters and stories.

Confusing, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Bowie

See it if you love David Bowie music, can appreciate his weird/wonderful aesthetic and want insight into his final days on earth,

Don't see it if you are looking for a straight forward story or everything to make perfect sense, or if you aren't a fan of Bowie's music.

Also I'm not sure I understood it all entirely, but having seen it before B... Read more Read less

Confusing, Edgy, Great staging, Great songs, Bizarre

See it if you love david bowie's music and are a fan of the man who fell to earth. It is a follow up to the movie and it helps if you remember the mov

Don't see it if you like your shows to be clear and linear. the plot is fantastical and hard to follow. but it is never boring

Edgy, Great acting, Great staging, Profound

See it if You are a fan of Bowie and Ivo van Hove's avant garde directing.

Don't see it if You can't handle strobe lights and are looking for a show with a clear plot.

Cast & Creatives (16)