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Set Sail with Broadway’s ‘The Last Ship’

Nora Dominick ‘17/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Michael Esper in The Last Ship. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus/Broadway.com.
Michael Esper in The Last Ship. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus/Broadway.com.

The upcoming 2014-2015 Broadway season is flourishing with new musicals. As the season starts to take shape, the 2015 Tony Awards already looks like a tight race. One of the original musical contenders this season is The Last Ship.

The Last Ship tells the story of Wallsend, a seafaring town in England. The small, intimate town revolves around the shipyard and all of the work that comes with it. The musical follows Gideon Fletcher, an ambitious man who has worked and lived in Wallsend his entire life. One day, he decides his future lies beyond the confines of a ship, so he takes off on an adventure. Fifteen years later, Gideon returns home to find his once beloved shipyard in danger and the love of his life engaged to another man. The town refuses to sit idly by and watch the shipyard disappear so they take matters into their own hands. Gideon soon realizes he left behind much more than he realized. The town of Wallsend sets out on a mission to save the traditions they all hold dear.

With music and lyrics by sixteen-time Grammy Award winner Sting and a book by Tony Award winners John Logan (Red) and Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal and If/Then), The Last Ship combines incredible music and writing to create a new Broadway experience. Based on Sting’s own childhood working in a shipyard, the musical brings a realism to the stage that other musicals don’t.

The cast of The Last Ship. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus/Broadway.com.
The cast of The Last Ship. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus/Broadway.com.

The previous Broadway season was riding on the high hopes of new musicals like The Bridges of Madison County, Rocky and Big Fish which ended their respective runs much sooner than expected. With a previous season relying heavily on jukebox and adaptation musicals, Broadway is heading back to its original rhythm. This upcoming season Broadway is revamping it’s original musicals and The Last Ship seems to be leading the pack.

The Last Ship will also see the Broadway debuts of numerous cast members. Two of the main actors will take the Broadway stage for the first time: Rachel Tucker, who will play Gideon’s love interest Meg Dawson, and Jimmy Nail as Gideon’s friend, Jackie White. Both actors are known for their work in the West End in plays and musicals, and they will bring their exceptional talent to these new and fresh characters. The musical will also house someBroadway veterans: Gideon Fletcher will be played by Broadway-vet Michael Esper, who is known for his work in The Lyons and American Idiot. Also making his return to the Great White Way is Fred Applegate. Applegate is known for his roles in Sister Act, La Cage aux Folles, Young Frankenstein and The Sound of Music. With this blend of returning and fresh-faced actors, The Last Ship appears to have a steady and stellar cast.

Rachel Tucker and Michael Esper in The Last Ship. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus/Broadway.com.
Rachel Tucker and Michael Esper in The Last Ship. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus/Broadway.com.

Another piece of The Last Ship that has critics and Broadway fanatics abuzz is the return of numerous Tony Award winners on the creative side. Taking on the role of director is Tony Award winner and Emmy nominee Joe Mantello. Mantello is no stranger to the Broadway stage. He is the mind behind numerous Broadway successes such as Wicked, Casa Valentina, Assassins, Take Me Out, Glengarry Glen Ross and numerous others. His laundry list of accomplishments makes him a Broadway favorite. Creating the beautiful choreography for this show is none other than Tony Award nominee Steven Hoggett. His dance talents are behind some of the biggest hits on Broadway including Once, Peter and the Starcatcher, The Glass Menagerie and Rocky. His talents are sure to bring Sting’s incredible music and lyrics to soaring new heights when The Last Ship hits Broadway. Lastly, the talented David Zinn who is behind the costumes and/or set design of Rocky, Violet, Picnic and In the Next Room heads The Last Ship’s incredible set and costuming.  The creative team behind this production is one for the ages. All of their respective creative talents are expected to flourish on stage in The Last Ship.

With such high hopes riding on this creative masterpiece, will it be able to blossom on Broadway? Or will it flop like Rocky, Big Fish and The Bridges of Madison County? Only time will tell. The stakes are high and The Last Ship is ready to set sail this Broadway season.

The Last Ship begins preview performances at The Neil Simon Theatre in NYC on September 29, 2014 with opening night scheduled for October 26, 2014. For tickets and additional information visit http://www.thelastship.com/

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