Sting's 'The Last Ship' to Close on Broadway
The musical will end its run on Jan. 24 despite the rock legend composer's attempts to boost ticket sales by joining the cast
The news of the closure comes despite Sting joining the cast last month in a late effort to boost flagging ticket sales and drum up much needed publicity. The show cost $15 million to produce, with weekly running costs of $625,000 or more, and producers in the end couldn't make the numbers work.
The Last Ship's lead producers, Jeffrey Seller and Kathryn Schenker, shared the news of the closing in an email seen by the Times on Monday night to members of the production and other supporters. “We have been bewildered and saddened by our inability to sustain an audience for this musical that we deeply love," they said in the email, adding: “There are no easy explanations.”
The demise of The Last Ship is all the more remarkable given that it was one of the most buzzworthy and hotly anticipated new musicals of the 2014-15 season. The creative team behind it has a track record of success, including director Joe Mantello (Wicked) as well as Seller, who has won Tony awards for Rent, Avenue Q and In the Heights.
The musical was Sting's first to hit Broadway, and the early reviews were mixed at best, with the rock icon's score garnering critical praise and the book receiving less positive notices upon the show opening in October.
Sting's decision to join the cast in early December led to a doubling of box office, but the numbers still fell short: Only 83 percent of seats were full last week, one of the busiest weeks on Broadway. The Times report also said that before Sting joined the production as a player, The Last Ship was losing $75,000 a week. That scenario would likely have continued or worsened after the English singer's final scheduled performance, now the show's final performance, on Jan. 24.
On its closing date, the show will have played 29 previews and 105 regular performances at the Neil Simon Theatre.