NEW YORK (AP) – Grammy Award-winner Sting jumped aboard his Broadway musical The Last Ship as its newest star last night, hoping to help right a show that’s been listing dangerously at the box office.
A bearded Sting got a standing ovation – and a bouquet of white roses – at the Neil Simon Theatre after playing the role of a foreman in the musical. He took no special bow, choosing to stay in line with the ensemble as the clapping grew deafening.
“It’s a play. It’s supposed to be fun and it’s great fun,” Sting said afterward. “The audience were so with us. They were so buoyant. The cast, too. It was a wonderful experience.”
The Last Ship is a semi-autobiographical story about a prodigal son who returns to his northern England shipbuilding town to reclaim the girl he abandoned when he fled years before. He finds the workers are now unemployed and entertaining the idea of building one last boat to show off their skill and pride.
The show, with no bankable stars until now, has struggled at the box office, attributable in part to its challenging topic. Sting hopes he can help raise both awareness and the weekly take to $625 000 a week, which would put it in the black. Last week it made only $492 000.
“I had no intention of going in when I was writing it, but I wanted to help the show out. It’s hard to put on a new musical on Broadway, as many shows will tell you,” Sting said. “We had a secret weapon and we used it.”