Actor relishes role in Bowie musical
Bermudian actor Nick Christopher has hit the stage in a new musical featuring the music of iconic rock star David Bowie.
Lazarus, written by Tony Award winner Enda Walsh, formally opened at the New York Theatre Workshop on Monday. The show has become the fastest selling production for the Workshop, selling out its initial run and a subsequent extension.
Asked about how it felt to be a part of such a production, Mr Christopher said: “It has been amazing. Luckily I already had been a part of Motown so I kind of already had the experience of meeting a bunch of my heroes and working for and with a musical genius, so it was amazing to see the differences and the similarities.”
The off-Broadway production was reportedly inspired by Walter Tevis’s bestselling 1963 novel The Man Who Fell to Earth about a human-looking alien who comes to Earth seeking a way to bring water back to his dying home planet. The book was later adapted into a 1976 film, which starred Bowie in the lead role of Thomas Newton.
While the show features the same main character — now played by Dexter star Michael C Hall — the story differs significantly from that of the original book and film.
Mr Christopher said that when he auditioned for the role, he was asked to sing the classic Bowie song All The Young Dudes — a song which he now sings as part of the show.
“It was just me, the casting director and a video camera,” he said. “I thought I would have to go for a callback, but a few weeks passed and I didn’t get a call so I thought I didn’t get the part. Then they called me up saying they wanted me to be involved with the show.”
Throughout the rehearsal process, he said that Bowie had urged him to make All The Young Dudes his own, saying that it wasn’t about the words or the notes he was singing, it was about the mood they were creating.
“I think the show really holds up to his reputation,” Mr Christopher said. “He has really had a huge part in it, and our director Ivo van Hove has really created something that is different, that really makes people think and feel.”
He also highlighted his fellow cast members, including Mr Hall, saying: “He sits next to me in the dressing room and what amazes me is that he is such a regular guy. You almost expect him to be different because he’s just so talented, but he’s just a regular guy and that almost makes me more impressed by him.
“I started watching Dexter while we were in rehearsal and every day in the dressing room I would talk to him about where I am in the series and he was so passionate about it. He just loves the journey and loves the work.”
Mr Christopher also praised co-stars Michael Esper and Cristin Milioti, saying: “They are young actors like me, but working with them is like a master class.”
He noted that Lazarus had sold out its initial run long before preview performances began in November, and that the run had already been extended twice — first by three weeks and more recently by another three days.
While he said the show sold out initially based on its pedigree, he added: “The fact that it has been extended twice means we have a good show on our hands.
“I think the real goal is to engage people and make people think about their own lives, and I think we achieved that goal.”
Asked about what he intended to do once the run comes to an end in January, he said he hopes to return to Bermuda to spend time and relax with his family and friends.
“Bermuda has always been my home,” he added.
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