In the wake of David Bowie's death, Jan. 10, the music icon's producer has confirmed that his final album, "Blackstar" – featuring music from the Off-Broadway musical Lazarus – was intended as a "parting gift" in his planned finale. Hauntingly, the title song from Lazarus opens with the lyrics "Look up here, I'm in heaven."
Tony Visconti, Bowie's producer, published the below comment on Facebook following the news that he had lost his 18-month battle with cancer: "He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way. His death was no different from his life - a work of Art. He made "Blackstar" for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn't, however, prepared for it. He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us. For now, it is appropriate to cry."
His message brings an all-new light to much of the content on "Blackstar," which was released just two days before his death, Jan. 8. The video clip to the track "Lazarus" shows a bandaged Bowie trapped in a hospital bed and retreating into a dark closet. Watch it below:
The song is performed by "Dexter" and Hedwig actor Michael C. Hall in the acclaimed Off-Broadway stage musical, a collaboration with Tony-winning playwright Enda Walsh. Lazarus continues to play at New York Theatre Workshop through Jan. 20; the show features new songs specially composed by Bowie as well as new arrangements of previously recorded songs.
The final performances of the musical will be especially moving in the wake of the composer's death. Krista Pioppi, who performs in the show, took to Twitter to reveal that Bowie had told the cast that watching it "made him feel alive again."
— krista pioppi (@kpioppi) January 11, 2016
Inspired by Walter Tevis' best-selling 1963 novel "The Man Who Fell to Earth," the story follows Thomas Newton – played by Hall – a human-looking and lovelorn alien who has been abandoned on the planet. The production officially opened Dec. 7 and is helmed by Obie winner Ivo van Hove.
The cast of Lazarus also includes Cristin Milioti (Once), Michael Esper, Krystina Alabado (American Idiot), Sophia Anne Caruso (The Nether), Nicholas Christopher (Whorl Inside A Loop), Lynn Craig (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson), Bobby Moreno (Year of the Rooster), Charlie Pollock (The Wild Party) and Brynn Williams (Bye Bye Birdie). For more information visit NYTW.org.
A tribute concert for Bowie is planned for March 31 at Carnegie Hall. Read the full obituary here.