NEW YORK -- The first musical composed by Sting, The Last Ship, has locked in plans for a Chicago tryout before docking on Broadway in fall 2014.
The show is set in Sting's hometown of Wallsend, Northumberland, depicting a tight-knit community held together by the economic engine and professional pride of the local shipbuilding industry. But when the story's wandering protagonist returns home after 14 years abroad, he finds the shipyard's future in jeopardy and his youthful picture of the place irrevocably changed.
"The memories at the heart of The Last Ship have occupied my mind for most of my life," said Sting. "I was compelled to tell this story, and I've had the great fortune of collaborating with an enormously talented team"
That team includes director Joe Mantello, co-writers John Logan and Brian Yorkey, and choreographer Steven Hoggett, who have a handful of Tony Awards among them.
Director of the blockbuster hit Wicked, Mantello has won Tonys for his staging of both plays (Take Me Out) and musicals (Assassins). His most recent Broadway credit was the Bette Midler solo vehicle I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers, written by Logan.
In addition to a prolific screenplay output that includes Skyfall, Hugo, The Aviator and Gladiator, Logan won the 2010 best play Tony for Red, his biodrama about abstract artist Mark Rothko. Yorkey wrote the book and lyrics for Next to Normal, which won a Tony for best original score, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Hoggett's work has been seen in New York in Black Watch, American Idiot, Peter and the Starcatcher and Once, which earned him a Tony for best choreography. He is movement director on the current Broadway revival of The Glass Menagerie, starring Cherry Jones and Zachary Quinto, which opens Sept. 26; and next will choreograph boxing moves for the musical adaptation of Rocky.
Produced by Jeffrey Seller and Kathryn Schenker, The Last Ship will play a pre-Broadway engagement at Chicago's Bank of America Theatre, running June 10 to July 13, 2014. A fall Broadway premiere is expected to follow. Exact dates and venue, as well as cast, are to be announced.
On Sept. 24, Sting will release an album of original material also titled The Last Ship, inspired by the story of the musical. As previously announced, the multiple Grammy winner will play a series of ten intimate concerts at New York's Public Theater to showcase the new songs, running Sept. 25 to Oct. 9.