EXCLUSIVE: Michael Esper, Stephanie J. Block, Colin Donnell and Laura Michelle Kelly Test Brian Yorkey-Sting Musical The Last Ship

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25 Oct 2011

Michael Esper
Michael Esper
Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Michael Esper, Stephanie J. Block, Colin Donnell and Laura Michelle Kelly were among the cast of an Oct. 18 reading of The Last Ship, the new musical by Grammy Award-winning musician Sting and Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner Brian Yorkey, Playbill.com has learned.

Yorkey, who authored the book and lyrics to the acclaimed rock musical Next to Normal, directed the recent Manhattan reading of The Last Ship. Sting has penned some 20 new songs for the musical that also features a handful of pre-existing tunes from his catalogue presented in a new dramatic context. Yorkey authored the script.

The 1980's-set musical incorporates biographical elements from Sting's life and uses his boyhood home, Newcastle, England, for its locale. The reading was a first chance for the creators to get the material on its feet with a cast.

American Idiot and Intelligent Homosexual's Guide actor Esper took on the central role of Gideon, with Kelly (Mary Poppins) as his former girlfriend Meg, Donnell (Anything Goes) as his brother Michael, and Block (Wicked, 9 to 5) as Betty Price.

Also involved in the workshop were Fred Applegate (Sister Act) as Father O’Brien, Bradley Dean (A Little Night Music) as Arthur Cook, Meg's husband, as well as Jack Falahee, Lyle Mackston (Spelling Bee) and Phoebe Strole (Spring Awakening) as Young Gideon, Young Michael and Young Meg, respectively.



The cast was completed by English actor-musician Jimmy Nail, Marylouise Burke (Kimberly Akimbo, The Savannah Disputation), singer-songwriter Declan Bennett (American Idiot), Michel Berry (Next to Normal), Jenn Colella (High Fidelity), Betsy Wolfe (Tales of the City), James Stephens, Clarke Thorell (Hairspray), John Jellison (Memphis) and Matt Caplan (Rent).