Sting Sets Plans to Join His Struggling Broadway Musical The Last Ship

News   Sting Sets Plans to Join His Struggling Broadway Musical The Last Ship Grammy Award-winning songwriter Sting will join the cast of his Broadway musical The Last Ship, which has been struggling at the box office since it opened to mixed reviews Oct. 26.

Sting
Sting

Sting will play an eight-performance-a-week schedule Dec. 9-Jan. 10, 2015, in the role of foreman Jackie White, replacing original cast member Jimmy Nail, who has been with the production since it played a pre-Broadway Chicago world premiere.

The New York Times first reported the news Nov. 23. Producers made an official announcememnt Nov. 24 on "The Today Show."

"We have spent five years working on The Last Ship and I have relished every moment of that process," Sting said in a statement. "Taking to the stage is a continuation of that and I now accept the baton from my good friend and fellow Geordie, Jimmy Nail, who provided so much inspiration for the character of Jackie White. It is my distinct honor to join this remarkable cast and play the part of Jackie until I pass the baton back to Jimmy."

The Broadway company was officially informed of Sting's plans to step into the production Nov. 23, though rumors had been swirling within the theatre community for weeks.

The Last Ship marks Sting's return to the theatrical stage after making his Broadway acting debut in the 1989 revival of Threepenny Opera. The Daily News previously reported that in an effort to keep the production afloat, Sting also waived his royalties for the production.

The Times reported that The Last Ship needs to pull in at least $625,000 to cover its overhead costs. The production grossed only $536,449 for the week ending Nov. 16, playing to only a 61.6 percent capacity house.

Read the reviews for The Last Ship here.

Producers also announced that Sting and Nail would appear with The Last Ship cast during the show's performance on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Directed by Tony winner Joe Mantello (Casa Valentina, Wicked), The Last Ship began previews Sept. 29. The musical arrived on Broadway following a Chicago world-premiere engagement earlier this summer.

"It's an out-of-body experience," Sting previously said of his Broadway debut as a composer-lyricist. "You relinquish a lot of control, but all of these people bring something to the process I can't." 

Read the full feature: As The Last Ship Sails to Broadway, Sting Sets His Past Free.

The new musical has a book by Tony winner John Logan (Red) and Pulitzer Prize winner Brian Yorkey (If/Then, Next to Normal). Choreography is by Olivier Award winner and Tony nominee Steven Hoggett (Rocky, Once).

A cast album will be released Dec. 16 from Universal Music Classics.

The principal cast features Michael Esper, Rachel Tucker, Fred Applegate, Aaron Lazar, Sally Ann Triplett and Collin Kelly-Sordelet.

The Last Ship ensemble includes Eric Anderson, Ethan Applegate, Craig Bennett, Dawn Cantwell, Jeremy Davis, Bradley Dean, Alyssa DiPalma, Colby Foytik, David Michael Garry, Timothy Gulan, Shawna M. Hamic, Rich Hebert, Leah Hocking, Todd A. Horman, Sarah Hunt, Jamie Jackson, Sean Jenness, Drew McVety, Johnny Newcomb, Matthew Stocke, Cullen R. Titmas and Jeremy Woodard.

The Last Ship, according to producers, "is set in the English seaside town of Wallsend, a close-knit community where life has always revolved around the local shipyard and the hardworking men construct magnificent vessels with tremendous pride. But Gideon Fletcher dreams of a different future. He sets out to travel the world, leaving his life and his love behind. When Gideon returns home many years later, he finds the shipyard's future in grave danger and his childhood sweetheart engaged to someone else. This love triangle ignites just as the men and women of Wallsend take their future into their own hands and build a towering representation of the shared dream that defines their existence. And in the end Gideon comes to understand that he had indeed left behind more than he could have ever imagined."

The production has set and costume design by Tony nominee David Zinn, lighting design by Tony winner Christopher Akerlind and sound design by Tony winner Brian Ronan. Musical direction, orchestrations and arrangements are by Rob Mathes. Casting is by Telsey + Company/Craig Burns, CSA.

Producers are Jeffrey Seller, Kathryn Schenker, Kevin McCollum, Sander Jacobs, James L. Nederlander, Roy Furman, Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss.

Read critics reviews of the musical's pre-Broadway tryout in Chicago here. 

Visit Ticketmaster.com. Visit TheLastShipBroadway.com. The Neil Simon Theatre is located at 250 West 52 Street.