80s David Bowie The Elephant Man Broadway t-shirt Small

$1,799.99 USD

Chest 16 in.

Length 22.5 in.

Content: Feels like 100% Cotton

Tag Brand: Unreadable

This incredible vintage tee commemorates David Bowie's only major theatrical role in a live stage production. David Bowie was a legendary performer best known for his musical prowess. His career as a singer-songwriter began in the early 60s and he is remembered for hit songs like "Let Dance", "Ziggy Stardust", and "Under Pressure", which was a collaboration with the band Queen. Although music was his forte, Bowie was no stranger to acting, and he appeared in a number of film and television roles over the years. This shirt pays tribute to the artist's Broadway debut, as Joseph Merrick in a 1980 production of The Elephant Man.

The Elephant Man was a play written by Bernard Pomerance which was based on the true story of freak show performer Joseph Merrick. Merrick began developing severe deformities at a young age and he spent a significant portion of his life on display as a sideshow act dubbed "the Elephant Man". Over the years, Merrick has been portrayed by a number of notable actors including Mark Hamill, Bruce Davison, Bradley Cooper, and David Shofield, who originated the role, but much like all of David Bowie's work, the singer brought his own unique twist to the role.

Bowie performed the role devoid of any stage make-up, and instead contorting his body and voice to portray Merrick's unconventional condition. He played the role to critical acclaim for several months at the Booth Theatre. The show ran at the same time that his album Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), was released. With the production taking up most of Bowie's time, it was impressive to see the album still climb the charts despite its limited promotion from the singer.

The production ran from July of 1980 into the following year, meaning that Bowie was still performing on Broadway the day that his close personal friend, John Lennon was killed. Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono actually had front row tickets to see the Elephant Man the evening of December 9th, but their seats were empty, as Lennon had been fatally shot just the night before. The story goes that there was another empty seat in the theater that night. Mark Chapman, Lennon's killer, also had a ticket to the show, and police later informed Bowie that they suspected Chapman might have attacked Bowie that evening had he not already been arrested for the murder of John Lennon.

It's a harrowing thought to imagine that, that December performance of the Elephant Man could have been the legendary artist's final time in front of an audience, and the death of Lennon certainly shook Bowie. Regardless David Bowie was proud to appear on the Broadway stage, and he continued his run of the play for another three weeks before taking time to grieve his lost friend.

Fits like a modern unisex adult small. There are small spots and holes on the front, see pics.