Sting is making his Broadway songwriting debut with the new musical that has struggled at the box office since it opened Oct. 26 to mixed reviews. The Grammy Award winner stepped into 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 last summer.
The Last Ship marks Sting's return to the theatrical stage after making his Broadway acting debut in the 1989 revival of Threepenny Opera.
"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 Daily News previously reported that in an effort to keep the production afloat, Sting also waived his royalties for the production. The New York Times reported that The Last Ship needs to pull in at least $625,000 weekly to cover its overhead costs. The production grossed $491,910 for the week ending Dec. 7, playing to only a 58.7 percent capacity house.
Directed by Tony winner Joe Mantello (Casa Valentina, Wicked), The Last Ship began previews Sept. 29.
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 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.