Talkin' Broadway


Sting and The Last Ship Company
"Songs in the Quay of Life" at 54 Below

By Wayman Wong


Sting with the company of The Last Ship
Photo by Matthew Murphy
Sting's surprise appearance wowed the crowd as he joined his The Last Ship castmates Monday night (March 2) at 54 Below. Called Songs in the Quay of Life, the sold out reunion concert was "an evening of Seafaring Songs to Benefit the Wallsend Boys Club" in the pop star's English hometown.

Sting kicked off his set with "If You Ever See Me Talking to a Sailor" from The Last Ship. He quipped, "I had high hopes that this song would become an LGBT anthem, so in light of that ambition and, with apologies to Rachel [Tucker, who sang it in the show], I will sing this song." Sting even flirtatiously raised the front of his sweater and flashed the cheering audience.

Sting also sang Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing" and his own "Hadaway" and "Jock the Singing Welder," as well as "Practical Arrangement," a duet cut from The Last Ship, with Tucker.

Sting is currently doing a worldwide tour with Paul Simon, but he flew in especially for this reunion. Pointing to the shorter microphone onstage at 54 Below, he joked, "That's Paul Simon's mike."

With a book by Brian Yorkey and John Logan, The Last Ship is a pop musical about life and love in an English seafaring town. It ended its maiden voyage at the Neil Simon Theatre on January 24 after 29 previews and 105 performances. But the mood of its company was proud and celebratory at 54 Below. The 25-member cast belted a choral arrangement of Sting's "Fields of Gold." But they revised one lyric and sang: "You'll remember me when the west wind moves down the streets of Broadway."

The concert showcased numerous cut songs from Sting's first musical, including "And Yet" (sung by Michael Esper and Jimmy Nail), "I Love Her But She Loves Someone Else" (Aaron Lazar), and "Sky Hooks and Tartan Paint" (Collin Kelly-Sordelet, Matthew Stocke and Nail).

Other castmates chose marine-themed tunes such as Tom Waits' "Shiver Me Timbers" (Tucker), Frank Loesser's "Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat" (Todd Horman), Otis Redding's "(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay" (Eric Anderson, Cullen Titmas), and Lyle Lovett's "If I Had a Boat" (Fred Applegate).

The cast ended the evening by saying its bon voyage with Sting's title tune to The Last Ship.


(Wayman Wong has covered theater for the New York Daily News, Talkin' Broadway, Playbill.com and GoldDerby.com.)


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