Will the physical presence of Sting on stage be enough to keep his musical "The Last Ship" from sinking?
Starting next month, Sting is to join the cast of the new Broadway show, which has seen tepid box-office sales and unenthusiastic reviews since opening in October. The English rock star, who composed the songs for the show but who previously has not acted in it, will play a supporting role and is scheduled to start performances on Dec. 9.
"The Last Ship" is loosely inspired by Sting's own youth (the singer was born Gordon Sumner) in a coastal English town. The musical, which had a tryout run in Chicago before transferring to Broadway, tells the story of a young man who returns home to find the town's shipyard workers in the midst of a labor dispute.
Sting is to be taking on the role of Jackie White, a foreman in the shipyard, for what is expected to be a five-week period at the Neil Simon Theatre. The character is currently being played by actor Jimmy Nail.
The rock star has been actively promoting the musical and is scheduled to appear on Thursday during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. But ticket sales for the Broadway production have remained lackluster, with the show bringing in less than $600,000 weekly since opening.
"The Last Ship" has a reported $14-million price tag plus weekly costs. Those costs typically run hundreds of thousands of dollars per week for a Broadway musical.
The show features songs from Sting's 2013 album of the same name, and the rock musician has received mostly strong reviews for his compositions, which represent his first venture as a Broadway composer.
Sting acted on Broadway in a 1989 production of "The Threepenny Opera."