David Bowie as John Merrick in "The Elephant Man."

(Photo: YouTube)

Today the world awoke to the sad news that music legend David Bowie had passed away two days after his 69th birthday, the same day he released his 25th studio album, "Blackstar."

We'll be celebrating the music of David Bowie all day today, but we'd also like to highlight the time when Bowie took the stage in Denver for something other than his music.

In 1980, Bowie made his live stage debut as John Merrick in the Bernard Pomerance play "The Elephant Man." The show debuted July 29 at the Denver Centre for the Performing Arts and ran until Aug. 3. It would go on to have successful runs in Chicago and on Broadway in New York City.

Bowie would receive praise from the New York Times, BBC and Rolling Stone for his portrayal of the Victorian era British man who suffered deformities from Neurofibromatosis. Bowie said at the time that the role was "undoubtedly the single biggest challenge of my career."

Watch a video of David Bowie describing the role along with excerpts from the play,

Check out the recent video for "Blackstar" below and read CPR Classical's take on Bowie's orchestral works.