Love London Love Culture talks to Sven Ratzke about bringing his David Bowie inspired show Starman: The Music of David Bowie to the Underbelly Festival in June.
Could you tell me a little bit more about what Starman: The Music of David Bowie is about?
The show is like a rollercoaster through the beautiful universe of the legend David Bowie, mixed with my universe. So its not a tribute show, but we recreate Bowie’s music, make it our own and in between the songs there is this amazing story line that takes the audience from London via NYC to Berlin on a trip. Like acid only with out the hangover, it all comes together: Rock’n’Roll, intimate and touching moments and hilarious entertainment.
How did the show originally come about?
I always thought that I should sing Bowie’s music. But after starring as Hedwig in ‘Hedwig And The Angry Inch’, I realized that the time was ripe. I also began to create myself using all these alter ego’s that Bowie had created in the seventies. It’s like an opera, all the characters, Ziggy, Thin White Duke and so on. It intrigued me enormously.
What do you hope that audiences will take away from your show?
A woman said yesterday to me after the show, “I came for Bowie but I left with you.” I think that is because I was not known in this place. People don’t know my universe yet. But Bowie probably saw also that I’m influenced by him, or that there are references between us, he personally gave me permission 3 years ago to create this show. His music will live forever and it touches people all over the world. So the audience leaves with that as well.
Because Bowie was so popular – did you feel any pressure about creating a show involving his music?
No. I worked on this for a long time, and I put my heart and soul into it. I love him, and when he gave me his personal permission I felt blessed and I knew I could do it.
Why do you think David Bowie was so iconic?
Because he had enormous courage to continuously change. To create something completely new; a new style; a new image. And he didn’t rest on an easy success. He wanted to know more and more, he was always learning and looking for challenges
How do you feel about bringing the show to London?
OMG, so excited! A dream comes true! I still can’t believe it.
What’s next for you and the show?
After London we continue to New Zealand and Australia again. We are already working on a new show, with all original material, written by Rufus Wainwright, Lisa Hanningan and many others. More pop, but still entertaining and wild, the title is ‘Homme Fatale’, oh’ and did I mention that Viktor and Rolf are creating my outfits!
Starman: The Music of David Bowie will be performed as part of the Underbelly Festival from the 7th to the 9th June.