Sting takes bold gamble to save his 'Last Ship' musical

Mon Nov 24, 2014 5:26pm EST
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By Jill Serjeant

NEW YORK (Reuters) - British rock star Sting is joining the cast of his deeply personal Broadway musical "The Last Ship," calling it a bold gamble to save the show from sinking.

Sting, 63, will appear from Dec. 9-Jan. 10 as the cynical foreman of a struggling shipyard in his northeast England hometown of Wallsend, producers said on Monday.

The move follows tepid sales and mixed reviews for Sting's first Broadway musical, which opened on Sept. 29 after five years in the making. The semi-autobiographical tale revolves around a young man who leaves behind a working class English town where ship building is dying in order to make a better life for himself.

"We are doing pretty well but not enough to be self-sustaining, so the producers said there is one solution - you have to go in the play," Sting told Reuters.

"It is a bold gamble and it is not devoid of risk. But this is theater, this is drama. You have to do whatever it takes. I never assumed this would be easy," the Grammy winner added.

Producer Jeffrey Seller said "The Last Ship" cost $15 million to stage. According to recent figures, it is taking in only about $550,000 a week at the box office, compared with a potential $1.2 million if every seat was sold at full price.

Seller said he hoped Sting's presence would "generate the next 50,000, theatergoers to get this fire going."

Sting appeared on Broadway in a 1989 production of "The Threepenny Opera," and has several movie credits to his name. He will take the part currently being played by his close friend, British actor Jimmy Nail.   Continued...

British singer Sting performs during the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Centennial Awards in New York November 17, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson