Sting’s new musical “The Last Ship” will sail onto a Broadway stage after a stop in Chicago.
Producers said Thursday that the show – inspired by Sting’s memories of growing up in a shipbuilding community in northeast England – will appear on Broadway in the fall of 2014 once it makes its world premiere next summer at Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre.
The musical has a story by “Red” playwright John Logan and “Next to Normal” writer Brian Yorkey. It will be directed by Joe Mantello, who helmed “Wicked” and have choreography by Steven Hoggett, who did the same for “Once.”
Dates, venue and cast have not been released.
The move comes amid a surge in singer-songwriters from the world of pop and rock aiming for theater stages. Sting is joining a list that includes Cyndi Lauper, Sheryl Crow, John Mellencamp, Sarah McLachlan, Tori Amos, Edie Brickell, David Byrne, Fatboy Slim, Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello.
“The Last Ship” musical will come on the heels of Sting’s wife making her off-Broadway debut. Actress and producer Trudie Styler will star as the fading actress Irina Arkadina in an adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull” at the Culture Project.
Sting, a 16-time Grammy Award winner and former lead singer of The Police who was born in Newcastle, is releasing a new CD on Tuesday also called “The Last Ship,” inspired by the forthcoming musical.
The story centers on a man from the seafaring town of Wallsend who travels the world for 14 years only to return to find the shipyard’s future in grave danger and his sweetheart engaged to someone else.
For the album, he enticed singer-actor Jimmy Nail out of retirement, brought in frequent collaborator Kathryn Tickell and was even able to teach the always-harmonizing Wilson Brothers to sing in unison for a change, to capture the sound of chanting workers. There’s a surprise collaboration on the record, with AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson, who Sting knew back when he was in the band Yellow. Johnson “came on board and sang a couple of songs,” Sting recently told Billboard.