Sting came to Toronto to talk about his musical, The Last Ship

by Lynn on September 30, 2018

in The Passionate Playgoer

Sting, the iconic rock star, came to Toronto on Thursday to talk about The Last Ship, the musical for which he wrote the music and lyrics, which will play the Princess of Wales Theatre from Feb. 9 to March 24, 2019. (The Last Ship had a short run on Broadway from Oct. 2014 to January 2015 with Sting playing the part of the foreman of the shipyard for a short bit to bolster ticket sales.)

The Last Ship is about the men who build ships and the women who support them in Wallsend, Northumberland. The shipyard is closing down and that will devastate the town as it is its only industry. In an act of defiance, the men decide to build one last ship and sail away on one last trip. Sting will also play the foreman of the shipyard in the show for the Toronto stay.

Sting gave a news conference on the stage of the Princes of Wales Theatre and sang some songs from the show. He spoke eloquently of community, that when an industry such as ship building disappears, so does the identity of the community and despair sets in.

He said writing The Last Ship was his way of ‘giving back’, honouring the men and women who worked in the shipyard.

Sting said that when he was growing up in Wallsend (very close to Newcastle-on-Tyne) he could see the ship being built at the end of his street. He knew he didn’t want to work in the shipyard. He dreamed of being a singer-songwriter who toured the world singing his songs.

He told the story that one day royalty came to his city. The Queen Mother was set to tour the shipyard. Sting (known as Gordon then) wore his short pants and carried a small Union Jack. Her Rolls Royce drove down the hill of his street accompanied by a motorcycle policeman on either side of the car. When she was passing by Sting he waved his flag energetically and looked at her as the car passed. He felt the Queen Mother was looking straight at him and he made a connection. He knew then he didn’t belong on that street, in that town or in that world of shipbuilding. He said he belonged ‘in that ‘f—cking car!”

After singing a few of his his beautiful, eloquent songs from the show, Sting said he would answer any questions those assembled on the stage had for him. I asked that now that he had success, was riding in that Rolls Royce all that it was cracked up to be?  He said, “No. I’ve never actually ridden in a Rolls Royce. I don’t like limousines. I live very simply. Although I do own a castle. (great laughs) Doesn’t every rock star?”  Humble and irreverent.  A lovely combination.

The Last Ship comes to the Princess of Wales in February, 2019 with a new book of the show by Lorne Campbell who also directs. I’ll be very interested to see if the book matches Stings poetic, rich, complex lyrics. The score is gorgeous.

Leave a Comment

Respectful comments are accepted on this site as long as they are accompanied by a verifiable name and a verifiable e-mail address. Posts that are slanderous, libelous or personally derogatory will not be approved.