EXCLUSIVE Sad to report that “The Last Ship” will close on January 24th, when Sting makes his last performance. Valiant efforts were made to keep the show alive, but it was not to be. Even with the box office increasing over the last two weeks, it just wasn’t enough. Hopefully, various voting groups like the Tonys, Outer Critics, and Drama Desk will consider “The Last Ship” for Best Score and Fred Applegate as Best Supporting Actor in a Musical. Sources say producer Jeffrey Seller made the announcement at the end of tonight’s show to cast and crew. If you can, get over to see “The Last Ship” before it sails away. It was a strong show with a beautiful score and a tremendously talented cast.
“The Last Ship” is one many casualties this Broadway season. The revival of “Sideshow” didn’t last, either. In short order, a lot of others, including the hit revival of “Pippin” and the Tony winner “Once” will be gone.
Broadway is not for the faint of heart, or shallow of pockets. Sting and “The Last Ship” were neither. Sting was completely committed to the show, and invested all of his time and energy. He even waived his songwriting royalty. He was at the show every single night from rehearsals to previews and through the opening. When the box office didn’t take off, Sting joined the show to promote ticket sales. This worked, to some extent. But not being able to hit the million dollar mark in any week was a death knell.
For example: “Motown: the Musical” is closing after almost 18 months. The show is doing very well, but not well enough. Producers will take it to London, scale it back so it costs much less to produce, then bring a cheaper version to Broadway. Maybe they’ll have 3 Tops instead of 4, the Jackson 4 instead of 5, and so on.