LONDON (Reuters) - Sting has turned back to his childhood in the shadow of a struggling shipyard in northern England for a musical that will debut on Broadway next year and his first album of original material in 10 years.
The musical, “The Last Ship”, is based on Sting’s experiences of living near the Swan Hunter Shipyard in Wallsend, Newcastle, and watching the demise of Britain’s shipbuilding industry in the 1980s.
A spokeswoman for Sting on Wednesday said the musical had also inspired the rock star to produce his first album of new material in nearly 10 years, also called “The Last Ship”, that will be released on September 23.
“Guest artists on “The Last Ship” with roots in the northeast (of England) include Brian Johnson, Jimmy Nail, The Unthanks, The Wilson Brothers and Kathryn Tickell,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.
“The Last Ship”, released on Universal Music Group’s Polydor Records, will feature 12 songs and be produced by Rob Mathes.
Sting, 61, has released 10 albums since going solo from the band the Police around 1984. This will be his first album of original material since “Sacred Love” in 2003.
As well as his music, Sting has acted in a list of films, including “Quadrophenia” and “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels”, and appeared as himself in TV shows like “The Simpsons” but this is the first time he has taken a major role in producing a musical.
He spent nearly three years working on the story that is focused on relationships, family, and community, collaborating with Joe Mantello, the director of the hit musical “Wicked” and John Logan, co-writer of the latest James Bond film “Skyfall”.
Sting, born Gordon Sumner, was raised in Wallsend.
The Swan Hunter Shipyard on the River Tyne was once one of the world’s leading shipbuilding operations that came under national ownership in 1977 with its construction operations wound back in the 1990s.
Editing by Belinda Goldsmith