As a sampler of his first album of new material in 10 years, and the forthcoming theater production of the same name, Sting will perform songs from "The Last Ship" in a series of 10 benefit concerts at the Public Theater in the fall.
The shows, titled An Evening With Sting, are being billed as the first and only time the artist will perform the songs live himself. They run Sept. 25 through Oct. 9 in the Public's intimate Anspacher Theater. Via storytelling and visual projections, the concerts will provide insight into the creative process behind the album and stage musical.
The new album draws inspiration from the shipbuilding community of Sting's hometown of Wallsend, Newcastle, in the northeast of England, and the demise of that industry during the 1980s. The song cycle creates a close-knit group of original characters exploring the central themes of homecoming, self-discovery and community. The Last Ship is scheduled for release Sept. 24 from Cherrytree, Interscope and A&M Records.
Previous announcements indicate that the stage play incorporating songs from the album is being developed in collaboration with the writers John Logan (Skyfall) and Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal). Preliminary plans are in place for a 2014 Broadway premiere.
"The Last Ship is shaping up to be a masterpiece, both an elegy for and a celebration of the working-class life of the Newcastle shipyards," said Oskar Eustis, artistic director of The Public Theater.
"The Public Theater, a New York institution committed to supporting all of the city's distinct communities, was a natural fit to perform this material that is, at its core, about the importance of community," added Sting.
In keeping with the Public's mandate of providing accessible theater, a limited number of free tickets will be distributed via a lottery system on the day of each performance. All proceeds from the shows will benefit the Public's ongoing revitalization campaign.
In addition to the 10 performances, Sting will host a special concert to celebrate his birthday on Oct. 2, also at the Public, with 100 free tickets going to Sting.com fan club members.