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Sting Wrestles to Keep His Broadway Musical 'The Last Ship' Afloat

By Jon Sobel j.sobel@classicalite.com on Nov 10, 2014 10:34 AM EST

Sting is working hard to keep his Broadway musical The Last Ship in business in the face of weak ticket sales. The show took in only $495,069 last week, down from $546,914 the week before and less than a third of what some of the biggest established hits like The Book of Mormon are grossing. More ominous than the raw dollar numbers are the empty seats. The Last Ship played to only 58.7% of its capacity last week.

The New York Daily News reported this morning that the composer and lyricist has waived the weekly royalties he is due from the show, foregoing perhaps some $10,000 a week, and that the former lead singer of The Police may join the cast himself in January. Such a move would call to mind Billy Joe Armstrong's taking the stage in American Idiot back in 2010. But that was halfway through a respectable yearlong run of the rock-opera musical, which won two Tony Awards.

American Idiot was based on the Grammy-winning album of the same name by Armstrong's band Green Day. The Broadway cast album of the musical American Idiot also won a Grammy. The cast album for The Last Ship, recorded a week ago, is set for a quick December 16 release on Universal Music Classics, in time for the holidays and including an extra track sung by Sting.

Sting has been putting his person on the line too, attending five shows last week, going backstage to perk up morale, turning up to schmooze at Victor's Cafe next door to the theater, and taking the stage at Broadway's IRC Freedom Award Dinner last week.

The biggest goal right now for Sting and the producers will be to keep the show running until the Tony Awards in June. Tony wins almost always boost ticket sales. But June must seem a pretty far-off horizon just now.

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TagsThe Last Ship, sting, broadway, Broadway Musical, Musical, musical theater, American Idiot, Green Day, Billy Joe Armstrong, Grammys, Tony Awards