Sting's new musical is sailing into the Great White Way. "The Last Ship," inspired by the shipyard culture of the former Police man's home in Newcastle, England, will begin previews September 30 at the Neil Simon Theatre on Broadway, with an official opening night of October 26. This comes after the show runs in Chicago from June 10-July 13
Sting released an album of the show's songs in September and staged performances in New York and Chicago.
He's also gotten some advice about venturing into the theater world for current tourmate Paul Simon, who bombed on Broadway with "The Capeman" in 1998: Simon: I saw Sting's performance, kind of a minimal performance, at the Public Theater (in New York) of 'The Last Ship.' It really makes you feel like something important is coming, really good. And All I said -- and it wasn't a big conversation -- all I said is, 'This is, like, my experience of where I was, what I didn't pay attention to that I missed...' I said, 'You really have to have a very strong book and know where that's going,' 'cause I know that he knows how to put a band together and I know that the sound is going to be great and the songs are good. It's must a matter of the storytelling and how well you do the storytelling. But his collaborators are very gifted."
"The Last Ship" is being produced by Jeffery Seller, who's won Tony Awards with "Rent," "Avenue Q" and "In the Heights." The story was written by John Logan ("Red") and Brian Yorkey ("Next To Normal"), with Joe Mantello ("Wicked") directing and Steve Hoggett ("Once") as choreographer. Michael Esper ("American Idiot," "The Lyons") and Rachel Tucker ("Wicked") will star, while veteran British thespian Jimmy Nail, who appears on the album, will also be in the cast.
Sting, meanwhile, tells us that he's still getting his footing in the theater world: "It's new to me. It's brand new to me, but I have a very good team around me of producers, directors, book writers, and I'm trusting them to a great extent. But I'm very enthusiastic and everyone's on board and loving it."
Simon and Sting are touring together until March 16.