First the good news. The New York Times review of “The Last Ship,” Sting’s original musical– the only new original musical this season not based on a book or movie or any previous idea: ” a seductive score that ranks among the best composed by a rock or pop figure for Broadway…” The other reviews were mixed to good, with everyone praising the songs and the actors. No one leaves “The Last Ship” without humming the songs. They are addictive, from the title track to “What Say You Meg?” to “What Have We Got?”
On opening night this included quite a battery of superstars: first of all Queen Noor of Jordan; Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa, Robert and Grace DeNiro, Paul Simon and Edie Brickell, Billy Joel and girlfriend Alexis Roderick. Also digging the show: Melanie Griffith, daughter Dakota Johnson (star of the upcoming “50 Shades of Grey”) with boyfriend Matt Hitt, plus Deborah Harry of Blondie, Alan Cumming, Liam Neeson, and TV couple Ken Olin and Patricia Wettig. Barbara Walters traded air-kisses with her lawyer Allen Grubman.
Sting’s two eldest kids, Joe and Kate Sumner, were there, as was the magnificent Trudie Styler. I also ran into Sarah Paulson, Joely Richardson, Edie Falco, and Bill Pullman, A&M Records founder Jerry Moss, Endemol chief Charlie Corwin, actor Fisher Stevens, as well as art collector and man about town Richard Sachs. (Someone said they thought they saw Perez Hilton lurking about as well.)
A stunning after party followed at Chelsea Piers’ Pier 60 for a nautical theme. Producers Jeffrey Seller and Kathy Schenker were hob bobbing with Jimmy Nederlander Jr and his bw Margo, and I saw Francine LeFrak and husband Rick Friedberg chatting them up too.
Going down to Chelsea Piers I shared a cab with Fred Applegate, who steals “The Last Ship” as the funny but foul mouthed local priest. He’s been working on the show on and off for 5 years. “Now I can have a drink!” he declared.
Stars Aaron Lazar, Michael Esper, Rachel Tucker, Jimmy Nail et al could barely get to their dinners for the kudos they received.
By the way, at the end of the opening night performance, Sting– dressed in a suit and tie– took the stage and thanked nearly every individual associated with the show. He also told the story of seeing the Queen Mother come to Newcastle, making him want a bigger life outside of the shipping port. He then sang the title song of the show with the cast. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Sting has been with this show every day for five years. His blood, sweat and tears are in it, and it shows.