Just days after David Bowie’s death, Manuela Goren, a Center Theatre Group donor, and Diana Buckhantz, a member of the Board of Directors, traveled to downtown Manhattan to attend the New York Theater Workshop production of Lazarus. Written by Bowie with Enda Walsh and directed by Ivo van Hove, Lazarus is the sequel to The Man Who Fell to the Earth, the 1976 movie starring Bowie as the title character.
Lazarus was sold out for months before its opening, well before the public knew that Bowie was ill. But Goren and Buckhantz were able to secure tickets through Center Theatre Group’s VIP Ticket Desk, which provides donors with assistance in purchasing house seats at our theatres and in New York and London.
Both Goren and Buckhantz admire Bowie’s music, but that was just one reason each (separately) decided to see Lazarus.
“I love the director,” said Buckhantz of van Hove, adding that A View From the Bridge, which he is currently directing on Broadway, “was breathtaking and one of my most memorable theatre experiences. I wanted to see more of his work.”
Goren described herself as “a huge Bowie fan” who was intrigued by the prospect of a Bowie-Walsh-van Hove collaboration as well as seeing Michael C. Hall in the lead role.
“Seeing the show after Bowie's passing has taken on a completely new meaning,” said Goren. “I think that this is the best epitaph Bowie could have written for himself. One really understands what kind of legacy he wanted to leave.”
The show, added Buckhantz, “does reflect on how one approaches one’s death and the feeling of being caught between life and death—a view that is more poignant coming from someone who is still alive but knows that death is imminent.”
According to The New York Times, the artists and creative team behind Lazarus decided not to add anything to the production after Bowie’s death, and to let the art speak for itself. But fans had placed flowers outside the theatre to pay tribute, noted Buckhantz. Goren said that many audience members cried during the show. “Everyone was kind of stunned and silent at the end, filing out of the theatre after a standing ovation,” she said. “I feel very privileged to have been able to experience Lazarus right after Bowie's passing. To me it made for the perfect tribute to his art.”