The UK premiere of Sting’s personal, political and passionate musical is an epic tale of community, hope and a great act of collective defiance. The Last Ship features an original score with music and lyrics by Sting.
Gideon Fletcher, a sailor, returns home from sea to discover the ship-building life he left behind in chaos. The yard is closing and no one knows what will come next. With the engine fired and pistons in motion, picket lines are drawn as foreman Jackie and his wife Peggy fight to hold their community together in the face of the gathering storm.
Joe McGann, perhaps best known for his lead role as Charlie Burrows in the comedy series The Upper Hand, will play Jackie, with Charlie Hardwick (Emmerdale) as Peggy. Richard Fleeshman (Coronation Street) takes the role of Gideon, with Frances McNamee (Big Fish at The Other Palace) playing Meg.
In September 2011, it was confirmed that Sting was working on a musical. A first reading took place in Manhattan in October that year, with a further reading in Newcastle in February 2012 and ultimately a full staged reading for the musical was held in 2013. In September 2013, the show was officially confirmed. Previews for the Chicago run of the show began on 10 June 2014 at the Bank of America Theatre, the show opened on 25 June 2014, and played for 33 days total until 13 July 2014.
Following completion of the tryout in Chicago, The Last Ship transferred to the Neil Simon Theater on Broadway in New York. Previews started playing at the Neil Simon Theater on 29 September 2014, and the official opening night was 26 October 2014. Sting joined the cast on stage during the curtain call on opening night. Celebrities including Billy Joel, Robert De Niro and Liam Neeson were in attendance. Sting then joined the cast for a limited run from 9 December 2014 to 24 January 2015, replacing Jimmy Nail.
In October an incredible workshop week took place at The Sage in Newcastle. This brought Sting together with Karl Sydow, Katherine Schenker and the team at Northern Stage. We gave a sneak preview of some of the material to a handpicked group of journalists and venues, on Thursday 26th October, who were even more enthusiastic about its future life than we could have hoped for. The workshops took place just a few miles from where Sting grew up and the very ship yards which inspired The Last Ship. On Sunday 30th October Northern Stage launched their new season, at the end of this launch Sting, Jimmy Nail and Lorne Campbell all announced The Last Ship.
The Last Ship was announced via media the following morning and all tour venues announced to their own customers that the show was going on sale.