David Bowie is helping to bring The Man Who Fell to Earth to the stage, in an off-Broadway production at the New York Theatre Workshop. The play, titled Lazarus, will center on Thomas Jerome Newton, Bowie’s iconic character from the 1976 cult movie.

David BowieDavid Bowie is working on a new off-Broadway production

In the film, which was based on the 1963 novel by Walter Tevis, Newton is a humanoid alien who crash lands on earth looking to take water back home to his planet which is experiencing a severe drought.

Bowie is working with Irish playwright Enda Walsh on the project, contributing new songs for the production as well as new arrangements of previously recorded material.  Belgian director Ivo van Hove will be at the helm and the production is expected to open at the end of the year, though exact dates, cast and other details are not yet known.

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Despite previously appearing on Broadway for three months in an 1980 production of The Elephant Man, Bowie is not expected to have an acting role in Lazarus.

Speaking to The New York Times, James C. Nicola, the artistic director of the New York Theatre Workshop, said he was not sure how to describe the project, or if he could even call it a musical. He also revealed that it has been secretly in development for some years now.

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“It’s going to be a play with characters and songs — I’m calling it music theatre, but I don’t really know what it’s going to be like, I just have incredible trust in their creative vision,” Nicola said. “I’m really excited about it. These are three very different sensibilities to be colliding.”

Bowie of course loves to keep his fans guessing about his next move. In January 2013 he surprised fans by releasing single ‘We Are We Now’, which he followed up in March with album, The New Day, his first collection of new material in a decade.