Sting is to join the cast of his Broadway musical.
Ex Police singer will play the role of foreman Jackie White in the semi-autobiographical story about a prodigal son who returns home to Tyneside. He will appear for eight shows a week from 9 December until 10 January. It is thought Sting is appearing in the show – for which he wrote the music and lyrics – to help boost ticket sales which have flagged recently. The $15m (£9.3m) show opened on 26 October to mixed reviews.
Without any big stars to draw in crowds, the musical took $536,000 (£334,000) in ticket sales last week – less than half its $1.24m (£772,000) potential – and was about 60% full. Sting will replace British actor Jimmy Nail in the role of White. The former Auf Wiedersehen Pet star told the New York Times he was “happily” making way for the good for the show.
The musical also stars Rachel Tucker, a finalist on BBC One talent show I’d Do Anything. The Last Ship’s producer, Jeffrey Seller, said he had asked Sting to come aboard to help give the show a chance at running until the Tony Awards next June. “Our goal is to win the Tony [for best musical],” Seller told the newspaper. “We need a boost, we need to break through, we need some ammo.”
Sting said he had no concerns about joining the show: “I know all the lines and lyrics. “I’ve been working on this show for five years and been at every rehearsal, every performance, so it’s not like I’ve flown in from Planet Rock Star to save the day.” Set in Sting’s home town of Wallsend, The Last Ship tells of a group of unemployed shipbuilders who take over a closed factory to build one final vessel. Its main character is Gordon, a prodigal son who returns after 14 years to find the town and its community nearing economic collapse.