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!