David Bowie and the Theatrical Presentation of Music

David Bowie understood theater as an important part of presenting music.  You can say that he was the ultimate marketing genius except that his aim was not as commercial as it was artistic.

Bowie saw how costume and presentation created persona and he used that awareness to create his character Ziggy Stardust at a time where many music artists where just being themselves.  By incorporating an alter ego as part of the performance, and telling a story to go along with it, Bowie in essence was re-inventing musical theater.  In traditional opera or broadway performance, music is accompanying the play, but in Bowie's case theater was accompanying the music.  

Aside from being a pioneer in this respect, his androgynous character blurred the gender lines and opened up new identities not just in pop culture, but society in general.

"David-Bowie Chicago 2002-08-08 photoby Adam-Bielawski" 
by Photobra|Adam Bielawski-Own work. 
Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 
via Wikimedia Commons

It takes a lot of courage to experiment with your image and identity to the degree that David Bowie did even after what many would call early "failed attempts" at a music career.  It's these so called "failed attempts" that are being revered today even after he went mainstream and had commercial success.  His originality is celebrated as an artistic and creative acheivement in an industry that has a habit of becoming too formulaic.

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