“Enter the Dragan, oh, oh, ooh…”
Stage Entertainment Netherlands has announced that Dragan Bakema is going to play the lead role of Newton in David Bowie’s Lazarus. Gijs Naber has made the difficult decision to give up the role after he came to the conclusion that he has had too much on his plate recently.
Keep reading for the full press release.
Press release: Dragan Bakema replaces Gijs Naber in David Bowie’s Lazarus
Gijs Naber is forced to take necessary rest and therefore give up the lead role in Lazarus
Dragan Bakema is going to play the lead role of Newton in David Bowie’s Lazarus. Gijs Naber has made the difficult decision to give up the role after he came to the conclusion that he has had too much on his plate recently.
“In the run-up to the rehearsal period, I came to the realisation that I have had too much on my plate in recent years. A role like this deserves 100% commitment. I have had to be completely honest about the fact that I have found myself unable to deliver on this due to my respect for my audiences and colleagues. I am relieved that the show producers were so understanding and I think it is fantastic that Dragan will take the role over from me. I am convinced that the fantastic cast led by Ivo van Hove will put on a beautiful performance.”
Albert Verlinde, CEO and Producer at Stage Entertainment Netherlands:
“I deeply regret that Gijs has had to give up his role in Lazarus. We have really done everything to try to make it possible. But if it eventualizes that an actor does not feel they are able to take on this heavy role, I have the utmost respect for the actor who is brave enough to make this difficult decision. The role of Newton requires an exceptional actor and singer. Despite the pressure to fill his place, we took the time to find a strong replacement for Gijs. Henry Hey, musical supervisor on behalf of David Bowie's estate, and director Ivo van Hove unanimously chose Dragan for this role. He has all the capabilities to shape the character of Newton. We are very proud to announce that he will lead the cast of Lazarus."
“The question whether I wanted to audition for the role of Newton in Lazarus was unexpected but I was immediately enthusiastic. Lazarus is a unique show; totally different from anything I have ever seen before. It’s wonderful to be a part of a show like this. As an actor, it is an extraordinary challenge to be able to interpret the fascinating character of Newton. I feel assured with the confidence that has been placed in me and I am very excited to start with the rehearsals on the 2nd September!”.
Lazarus, David Bowie’s final work, premières on Sunday, October 13th at the DeLaMar Theatre in Amsterdam. In addition to Bakema, Noortje Herlaar, Pieter Embrechts and Holly Mae Brood can be seen in the show directed by Ivo van Hove. For more information: www.bowielazarus.nl
Dragan Bakema graduated from the Arnhem Theatre Academy in 2005 and attended classes at the famous Lee Strasberg Academy in New York. He has played in a large number of theatre productions, including ‘Naar Damascus’ under the direction of Pierre Audi with ‘Toneelgroep Amsterdam’, ‘Platonov’ and Richard III with the RO Theatre. In 2012 he played the role of Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema in the musical ‘Soldaat van Oranje’ and last summer he played in the theatre sensation ‘Het Pauperparadijs’ at the Carré Theatre Amsterdam. Dragan has also acted in many short and feature films; including the Drama ‘Joy’ and ‘Brownian Movement’ which won two Golden Calf Awards. In 2003, he was awarded the Best Talent Award for his role in the film ‘Loverboy’. In addition to being an actor, Dragan is also a talented scriptwriter and producer. He co-wrote the screenplay for ‘Oliver etc.’ and ‘Hunting en Zn’, whilst also playing the lead roles in both films. He received his second Golden Calf nomination for ‘Hunting en Zn’. He has also played roles in countless television series; including ‘In Therapie’, ‘De Troon’, ‘Medea’ by Theo van Gogh and ‘Rembrandt en ik’. He can also be seen in the feature film ‘April, May and June’ which is due to be released at the end of 2019.
Pop phenomenon David Bowie died on January 10th 2016. One of his very last projects was the musical Lazarus. He developed the musical with Enda Walsh and director Ivo van Hove. Lazarus is a sequel to the book The Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis. Bowie himself played the role of Thomas Newton in the film adaptation from 1976, directed by Nicolas Roeg. In Lazarus we meet Thomas Newton again. The show is an adventurous trip through Bowie's genius mind. A journey that is of course framed with legendary Bowie hits, including 'Heroes', 'Absolute Beginners', 'Changes', 'All the Young Dudes', 'This is not America' and of course 'Lazarus', written for the musical and later released on Bowie's latest album Blackstar.
The Dutch production of Lazarus is produced by Stage Entertainment The Netherlands by arrangement with Robert Fox and Jones/Tintoretto Entertainment and The New York Theatre Workshop.