Neil Simon Theatre, (10/26/2014 - 1/24/2015)

First Preview: Sep 29, 2014
Opening Date: Oct 26, 2014
Closing Date: Jan 24, 2015
Total Previews: 29
Total Performances: 105

Category: Musical, Original, Broadway

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Nederlander Organization (James M. Nederlander: Chairman; James L. Nederlander: President)

Produced by Jeffrey Seller, Kathryn Schenker, Kevin McCollum, Sander Jacobs, James L. Nederlander, Roy Furman, Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss

Book by John Logan and Brian Yorkey; Music by Sting; Lyrics by Sting; Musical Director: Rob Mathes; Music orchestrated by Rob Mathes; Music arranged by Rob Mathes; Associate Musical Dir.: Dan Lipton

Directed by Joe Mantello; Choreographed by Steven Hoggett; Associate Director: Tom Ridgely; Associate Choreographer: Patrick McCollum

Scenic Design by David Zinn; Costume Design by David Zinn; Lighting Design by Christopher Akerlind; Sound Design by Brian Ronan; Hair and Wig Design by Luc Verschueren; Makeup Design by Luc Verschueren; Moving Light Programmer: Justin Freeman; Associate Scenic Design: Brett Banakis; Associate Costume Design: Sarah Laux; Associate Lighting Design: Vivien Leone

General Manager: Baseline Theatrical and Andy Jones; Company Manager: Nick Lugo

Production Supervisor: Brian Lynch; Production Stage Manager: J. Philip Bassett; Stage Manager: Amber White

Musical Coordinator: Dean Sharenow; Piano: Rob Mathes; Keyboard 2: Dan Lipton; Drums: Joe Bonadio; Guitar 1: Matt Beck; Guitar 2: Ben Butler; Bass: Peter Donovan; Pipes/Flutes/Whistles: Christopher Layer; Melodeon: Mick McAuley; Fiddle 1: Paul Woodiel; Fiddle 2: Lisa Gutkin; Cello: Emily Hope Price; Percussion: Trey Files; Synthesizer Programmer: Karl Mansfield

Special Effects by Gregory Meeh

Fight direction by Ron Piretti; Fight Captain: Colby Foytik; Dance Captain: Jeremy Davis; Dialect Coach: Ben Furey; Casting: Telsey + Company and Craig Burns, CSA; UK Casting: Pippa Ailion, CDG; Press Representative: Sam Rudy Media Relations; Advertising: SPOTCo, Inc.; Photographer: Matthew Murphy and Joan Marcus

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Opening Night Cast

Fred ApplegateFather O'Brien
Michael EsperGideon Fletcher
Collin Kelly-Sordelet
Broadway debut
Young Gideon
Tom Dawson
Aaron LazarArthur Millburn
Jimmy NailJackie White
(Sep 29, 2014 - Dec 07, 2014)
Sally Ann TriplettPeggy White
Rachel Tucker
Broadway debut
Meg Dawson
Eric AndersonFreddy Newlands
Craig BennettBilly Thompson
Dawn CantwellYoung Meg
Jeremy DavisEnsemble
Bradley DeanEnsemble
Colby FoytikEnsemble
David Michael GarryEnsemble
Timothy GulanEnsemble
Shawna M. HamicBeatrice Dees
Rich HebertAdrian Sanders
Leah HockingJessie Flynn
Todd A. HormanEnsemble
Jamie JacksonJoe Fletcher
Drew McVetySailor
Matthew StockeDavy Harrison
Jeremy WoodardEnsemble

Swings: Ethan Applegate, Alyssa DiPalma, Sarah Hunt, Sean Jenness, Johnny Newcomb and Cullen R. Titmas

Understudies: Eric Anderson (Father O'Brien), Ethan Applegate (Tom Dawson, Young Gideon), Dawn Cantwell (Jessie Flynn, Meg Dawson), Bradley Dean (Arthur Millburn), Alyssa DiPalma (Jessie Flynn, Young Meg), Colby Foytik (Gideon Fletcher), David Michael Garry (Joe Fletcher), Shawna M. Hamic (Peggy White), Rich Hebert (Father O'Brien, Jackie White), Leah Hocking (Beatrice Dees, Peggy White), Sarah Hunt (Beatrice Dees, Meg Dawson, Young Meg), Jamie Jackson (Jackie White), Johnny Newcomb (Tom Dawson, Young Gideon) and Jeremy Woodard (Arthur Millburn, Gideon Fletcher)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 2015 Best Original Score Written for the Theatre [nominee] 

Music by Sting; Lyrics by Sting

 2015 Best Orchestrations [nominee] 

Rob Mathes

Drama Desk Award

 2015 Outstanding Choreography [nominee] 

Steven Hoggett

 2015 Outstanding Orchestrations [nominee] 

Rob Mathes

 2015 Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical [nominee] 

Sound Design by Brian Ronan

 2015 Outstanding Music [nominee] 

Music by Sting

Theatre World

winner 2015 Award [recipient] 

Collin Kelly-Sordelet


music by Sting; lyrics by Sting

ACT 1 Sung By
Island of SoulsJackie White, Young Gideon, Peggy White, Father O'Brien, Young Meg and Company
All This TimeGideon Fletcher and Company
August WindsMeg Dawson and Young Meg
ShipyardJackie White, Billy Thompson, Peggy White, Father O'Brien, Tom Dawson and Company
If You Ever See Me Talking to a SailorMeg Dawson and Women
Dead Man's BootsGideon Fletcher, Joe Fletcher and Young Gideon
The Last Ship (Part One)Father O'Brien
Sail AwayPeggy White
The Last Ship (Part Two)Jackie White, Father O'Brien and Company
What Say You, Meg?Arthur Millburn
We've Got Now't ElseJackie White, Tom Dawson and Shipyard Men
When We DanceGideon Fletcher, Meg Dawson and Arthur Millburn
The Last Ship (Reprise) Gideon Fletcher, Jackie White, Father O'Brien and Company
ACT 2 Sung By
Mrs. Dees' RantMrs. Dees and Women
The Night the Pugilist Learned How to DanceGideon Fletcher and Tom Dawson
We've Got Now't Else (Reprise) Jackie White, Gideon Fletcher and Company
So to SpeakFather O'Brien and Gideon Fletcher
Show Some RespectPeggy White, Gideon Fletcher, Jackie White, Meg Dawson and Company
Island of Souls (Reprise) Meg Dawson, Young Gideon, Young Meg and Gideon Fletcher
It's Not the Same MoonGideon Fletcher and Meg Dawson
Underground RiverJackie White, Tom Dawson and Company
Ghost StoryGideon Fletcher and Tom Dawson
August Winds (Reprise) Gideon Fletcher and Tom Dawson
The Last Ship (Finale)Company


AP: "Sting's 'The Last Ship' is thrilling stuff"

You may be tempted upon leaving Sting's Broadway musical "The Last Ship" to head straight to a pub to drain a pint and sing some sea shanties. Or maybe go weld something. Or do both.

Such are the foot-stomping, testosterone-filled feelings that emerge from the Neil Simon Theatre, where a blast of British working class camaraderie among steel workers has docked during these times when we only construct things from Ikea.

"The Last Ship" has some powerful performances, some outstanding songs, real heart and a creative team that uses every inch of the stage in thrilling ways. Perhaps there's a bit of bloat and far too many sea references, but when it works, it does so brilliantly.

The show is Sting's semi-autobiographical story about a prodigal son who returns to his northern England shipbuilding town to reclaim the girl — and a son — he abandoned when he fled 15 years before. The shipyard, meanwhile, is closing and the workers are divided over the future. The show is about loss and letting go.

Michael Esper ("American Idiot") plays the hero, somehow making a man potentially unlikable into someone melancholy and sick at heart. Rachel Tucker is fiery and strong and superb as his love interest, both protective and vibrant. Jimmy Nail is a great as the softhearted foreman with a gruff exterior, and Fred Applegate is irrepressibly good as a profane priest.

Steven Hoggett's special brand of choreography — unexpected dancers swaying in unison, slo-mo kicks — is particularly effective here. As he's done in "Once," and "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," he turns the un-lithe and the downright rotund into lighter-than-air expressions of dreamlike movement.

The project began as a CD and PBS concert special before it was turned into a stage version. Sting drew on his childhood, growing up in Newcastle's Wallsend neighborhood, near the Swan Hunter shipyards. David Zinn's sets are not surprisingly all about steel — girders and ladders and gates and rust-stained hulls. There's even rain and acetylene torches.

Pulitzer Prize- and Tony-winning lyricist Brian Yorkey ("Next to Normal") and Tony-winner John Logan ("Red") wrote the book, plugging into the noble honor and passion of men and women who build things without romanticizing everyone. A love triangle at the story's heart is deftly navigated, with no one cartoonishly evil. They've even salted the script with references to domestic violence.

Tony-winner Joe Mantello ("Wicked") directs with the skill of a master craftsman: Adrenalin-fueled scenes of men at each others' throats are flawlessly followed by candlelit, tender ones. He manages to steer away from simple, sticky-sweetness and stabs at an aching wistfulness, aided by gloomy, evocative lighting by Christopher Akerlind.

Sting's stage composing is nicely complex, mixing sassy ballads with brooding duets and big, violin-led crowd pleasers. Outstanding are "Dead Man's Boots" and "The Night the Pugilist Learned How to Dance," which here is wonderfully staged between a father and son behind bars, and the simply beautiful title track, which the creators clearly know is good: It's leaned on no less than four times.

Some songs on the CD never made it to the stage and Sting opened his rich catalog for some repurposing. You'll hear "Ghost Story" from the album "Brand New Day," ''Island of Souls" and "All This Time" from "The Soul Cages" and "When We Dance" from "Fields of Gold."

What's remarkable is the old tunes fit flawlessly, proof Sting's songs have always been built of strong stuff and often reached back to his hometown. The writers also have plundered imagery from Sting's old lyrics to build their story, particularly "Island of Souls."

Broadway has something of a crush with the Irish and English right now. There's "Once" and "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" and "Matilda" and "Kinky Boots." Hopefully there's room for another, an unlikely moving musical about shipbuilders. We'll raise a pint to that.


New York Daily News: "The Last Ship"

Sting brings it.

The pop god delivers his A-game in “The Last Ship,” a new musical about coming home and letting go that overflows with heart. Not bad for a Broadway debut as a composer.

Chalk it up to beginner’s luck. Or to decades of experience writing songs that tell stories. Either way, the rich and lively score, which includes two songs from earlier solo work, courses with meaning and emotion.

The outstanding Michael Esper plays Gideon Fletcher, a character loosely based on the youthful Sting. He’s joined by an impressive cast, which breathes full-blooded life into broadly drawn characters.

Director Joe Mantello (“Wicked”) packs his production with stirring stage pictures and keeps the action flowing at a brisk clip. Choreographer Steven Hoggett (“Once”) uses rousing and rustic stomps and romantic little gestures between lovers to add more textures.

Too bad the two-pronged story by Brian Yorkey (“Next to Normal”) and John Logan (“Red”) sometimes sinks this enterprise. The main story follows Gideon, a restless young man in a shipbuilding town where the industry is dying. He flees his ailing and abusive father and, regrettably, his girlfriend.

Fifteen years later, Gideon comes home. That lass, Meg (Rachel Tucker, fiery and magnetic), has a new love, Arthur (Aaron Lazar, who adds virility and sweetness), who’s gotten ahead by getting out of shipbuilding. Meg is torn between them.

Meanwhile, shipbuilders vow to build one last vessel for solidarity’s sake. Foreman Jackie White (Jimmy Nail, mournful and majestic), his wife, Peggy (Sally Ann Triplett), and a local priest (Fred Applegate) lead the charge.

The romantic triangle is sincere and deft. The shipbuilding plot, as presented here, is implausible and daft.

Fortunately, when the story threatens to capsize, there’s another good song by Sting to shore up the show.

New York Daily News

Replacement/Transfer Info

The following people are credited as replacements or additions if they were not credited on opening night.

Neil Simon Theatre

(10/26/2014 - 1/24/2015)


Jackie White (Dec 9, 2014 - Jan 24, 2015)

Standbys: Jimmy Nail (Jackie White).

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