Michael Esper, Rachel Tucker, Aaron Lazar & More Will Star in Sting's THE LAST SHIP; Previews to Begin 9/30 at Broadway's Neil Simon Theatre

THE LAST SHIP - the new musical with music and lyrics by 16-time Grammy winner Sting, and book by Tony winner John Logan and Puliter Prize-winner Brian Yorkey - will begin previews on Broadway at the Neil Simon on September 30 prior to opening night on October 26, according to producers Jeffrey Seller and Kathryn Schenker. The Last Ship is directed by Tony winner Joe Mantello and has choreography by Olivier Award winner and Tony nominee Steven Hoggett.

THE LAST SHIP will travel to New York following a pre-Broadway tryout June 10 to July 13 in Chicago at Bank of America Theatre. Tickets to the Chicago engagement go on sale February 14.

On Friday, February 21, PBS "Great Performances" will broadcast "STING: The Last Ship at 9 pm, ET (check local listings). Filmed on Sting's birthday last fall during a run of benefit concerts for The Public Theater in New York City, "STING: The Last Ship" features Sting joined by 14 musicians, including Jimmy Nail, performing songs from the album and musical. The telecast offers unique insight into the creative process behind The Last Ship, with Sting providing a glimpse into the narrative of the play through the songs on his new album and his experience emerging from a songwriting hiatus to pen his first album of original material in nearly a decade.

Inspired by Sting's own childhood experiences, The Last Ship marks the renowned musician's Broadway debut as a composer.

Principal roles in the cast of The Last Ship will be played by Michael Esper, Rachel Tucker, Jimmy Nail, Aaron Lazar, Sally Ann Triplett, Collin Kelly-Sordelet and Fred Applegate. Additional casting for the ensemble will be announced at a later date.

As well, the producers have announced The Last Ship's design team: set and costume design by Tony nominee David Zinn; lighting design by Tony winner Christopher Akerlind and sound design by Tony winner Brian Ronan.

THE LAST SHIP is set in the English seafaring town of Wallsend, a close-knit community where life has always revolved around the local shipyard and the hardworking men construct magnificent vessels with tremendous pride. But Gideon Fletcher dreams of a different future. He sets out to travel the world, leaving his life and his love behind. When Gideon returns home 14 years later, he finds the shipyard's future in grave danger and his childhood sweetheart engaged to someone else. As the men of Wallsend take their future into their own hands and build a towering representation of the shared dream that defines their existence, Gideon realizes that he left behind more than he could have ever imagined.

THE LAST SHIP is a portrait of a community so bound together by passion, faith and tradition, they'll stop at nothing to preserve the only life they've ever known.

Michael Esper has appeared on Broadway in Green Day's musical AMERICAN IDIOT, THE LYONS and A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS. Off-Broadway credits include Tony Kushner's THE INTELLIGENT HOMOSEXUAL'S GUIDE TO CAPITALISM AND SOCIALISM WITH A KEY TO THE SCRIPTURES and Edward Albee's ME, MYSELF AND I.

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