Friday, April 12, 2024

Sting’s Broadway Musical Gets Raves in Revamped UK Open, Singer Chosen for Queen’s 92nd Birthday Performance


Sting’s Broadway show of 2016 is back, and it’s a hit. “The Last Ship” sailed two nights ago in Newcastle, UK and was found to be a sturdy vessel. The show opened this week in the city where it is set– Newcastle– and drew raves from all the papers there. It’s a re-thought version of the show, with a new slimmed down book, some characters excised, and a couple of new songs. Overall, the reception was rapturous, which goes to show that “The Last Ship” has a lot of life left in it.

I’m pleased to hear it. Such was the case for shows like “The Color Purple” and “Chicago,” which returned to Broadway in new versions and wowed audiences that hadn’t been so positive in the first place. I hear that the new “Last Ship” jettisoned the second male lead (it was confusing) and the very popular priest played by Fred Applegate. (We loved him, we’ll miss him, and it must have been painful to cut that character.)

What is left is a streamlined show with a dozen or more terrific songs that anyone who knows them is still humming. Richard Fleeshman, who starred here in the musical adaptation of “Ghost,” is now playing Gideon, the lead. Meantime, the original Gideon– Michael Esper– is starring in the new mini-series about the Getty family called “Trust” on F/X.

Meanwhile, Sting has been chosen to headline the annual birthday concert for Queen Elizabeth II next month in London. He’ll be bringing Shaggy (featured on Sting’s great new reggae album coming April 20th), as well as Sir Tom Jones, Kylie Minogue, Craig David, Anne-Marie, Shawn Mendes, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. What a way to celebrate turning 92– rocking out to “Message in a Bottle” and “Every Breath You Take”! That’s a hot ticket!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News