Troubled Broadway show to close at the end of January
By Mindy Rochwerg
January 9, 2015
An announcement was made on Monday that Sting’s Broadway show The Last Ship, about the troubled lives of shipbuilders and young people struggling in a British town, will close on January 24 after a run of only four months.
Although box office sales temporarily increased after Sting’s last-ditch effort to save the show by joining the cast through January 24, ticket sales for after that date were low.
According to the New York Times, producers of the show are going to lose all of their $15 million investment and are somewhat at a loss to explain why the show failed. One of the producers, Jeffrey Seller, did say in an interview he gave on Tuesday that he thought that their marketing strategy should have been to focus more on the young love story that American audiences could relate to, rather than placing too much emphasis on the shipbuilders themselves.
The show opened in October to mixed reviews, with praise for Sting’s musical score, but criticism of the characters and story.
Seller, however, is looking to the future. Since Sting joined the cast, there has apparently been fresh attention given to the show in London and Europe, with possible licensing deals there and perhaps even again in the U.S. in the future.
Seller pointed out that that, in 1935, when Porgy and Bess opened on Broadway, it happened to be during the same month and in the same theater as The Last Ship, but floundered and closed on Jan. 25, 1936. “Porgy and Bess was not a hit the first time out, but it’s 80 years later and we have Porgy and Bess as an American classic,” Mr. Seller said. “I don’t know what the future portends, but I believe The Last Ship will go on to have a long life elsewhere.”
Sting trying to save The Last Ship from sinking