Directed by Tony winner Joe Mantello (Casa Valentina, Wicked), The Last Ship opened Oct. 26, 2014, to mixed reviews. Read the critics' reviews here. It arrived at Broadway's Neil Simon Theatre Sept. 29 following a Chicago world-premiere engagement last summer.
Despite struggling to stay afloat at the box office, the $15 million musical — featuring music and lyrics by Sting — remained open and welcomed its Grammy-winning songwriter to the cast Dec. 9 for a limited engagement. Sting took over one of the show's central roles (Jackie White, replacing original cast member Jimmy Nail, who has been with the production since Chicago) to boost ticket sales through Jan. 24, which ultimately became the closing date for the musical.
Although the production saw some of its highest-grossing week's during Sting's run, producers found that advance sales for the serious-minded production dwindled following the Grammy winner's scheduled exit.
The Last Ship played 29 preview performances on Broadway and 105 regular performances.
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). 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.