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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

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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.

Rachel Tucker - an Irish singer and actress who appeared the West End production of WICKED, and was a finalist on the BBC's televised talent series "I'd Do Anything" - will make her Broadway debut in The Last Ship.

Jimmy Nail is an accomplished singer-songwriter and actor, a native of Wallsend, where The Last Ship is set. Mr. Nail first earned acclaim on the television series "Auf Wiedersehen, Pet" and "Spender," which he co-wrote. He appeared in the films EVITA and STILL CRAZY. He has released several albums of his own music, including "Growing Up in Public" and "Big River." His collective body-of-work has received five BAFTA nominations and a Golden Globe nomination. The Last Ship marks his Broadway debut, as well.

Aaron Lazar has appeared on Broadway in MAMMA MIA, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, IMPRESSIONISM, LES MISERABLES and THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA.

Sally Ann Triplett's credits on London stages in the West End include leading roles in THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS, FOLLIES, CHESS, GREASE, CATS, ANYTHING GOES, GUYS AND DOLLS and many more. She made her Broadway debut in the musical CARRIE.

Fred Applegate's numerous Broadway roles include in THE PRODUCERS, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, SISTER ACT and THE SOUND OF MUSIC.

Colin Kelly-Sordelet makes his Broadway debut in The Last Ship.

Rachel Tucker and Jimmy Nail are appearing with the support of Actors' Equity Association.

David Zinn was nominated for a Tony Award for his costume designs of IN THE NEXT ROOM. He has done both costume and scenic design for SEMINAR, costume design for XANADU, GOOD PEOPLE, BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO, OTHER DESERT CITIES, PICNIC, THE OTHER PLACE and ROCKY on Broadway, and scenic design for the upcoming VIOLET. He has done scenic and costume design for opera companies across the U.S. including New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Chris Akerlind is a five-time Tony Award nominee who won the Tony Award for THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA and was nominated for SEVEN GUITARS, AWAKE AND SING, THE GERSHWINS' PORGY AND BESS and 110 IN THE SHADE. His other Broadway productions include END OF THE RAINBOW, THE TALE OF THE ALLERGIST'S WIFE, WELL and THE PIANO LESSON.

Brian Ronan is a four-time Tony nominee, having won for his design for THE BOOK OF MORMON. His many other Broadway credits include BEAUTIFUL, ANNIE, BRING IT ON, NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT, ANYTHING GOES, EVERYDAY RAPTURE, PROMISES, PROMISES, AMERICAN IDIOT, NEXT TO NORMAL, GREASE, CURTAINS, SPRING AWAKENING, GREY GARDENS, THE PAJAMA GAME, ALL SHOOK UP, 12 ANGRY MEN and others.

STING (Score) Composer, singer, author, actor and activist, Sting is one of the world's most renowned and distinctive artists. Throughout his enduring career, he has earned 16 Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe, an Emmy, three Oscar nominations, and has sold close to 100 million albums from his combined work with the Police and as a solo artist. He is a member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, has appeared in more than 15 films and authored two books, including the New York Times best-selling memoir, "Broken Music." His fourteenth solo album, entitled The Last Ship, is inspired by the story of his forthcoming play of the same name and draws upon his memories of the shipbuilding community of Wallsend in the North East of England where he was born and raised. PBS' "Great Performances" will premiere STING: The Last Ship on February 21, featuring Sting performing songs from both the album and play captured live at The Public Theater in New York City. Sting and Paul Simon recently embarked on a North American tour, blending their voices for many years of their best-known songs and performing individual sets with their respective bands. For further information, please visit: sting.com

JOHN LOGAN (Book) John Logan received the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Drama League awards for his play Red, directed by Michael Grandage. This play premiered at the Donmar Warehouse in London and at the Golden Theatre on Broadway. Since then Red has had more than 200 productions across the US and has been presented in over 30 countries. He is also the author of more than a dozen other plays including Never The Sinner and Hauptmann. In 2013, his new play Peter and Alice premiered in London and I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers opened on Broadway. As a screenwriter, Logan has been three times nominated for the Oscar and has received a Golden Globe, BAFTA and WGA award. His film work includes Skyfall, Hugo, The Aviator, Gladiator, Rango, Coriolanus, Sweeney Todd, The Last Samurai, Any Given Sunday, and RKO 281. He is currently writing the next James Bond film and is in production for "Penny Dreadful," a drama series he created and is producing for Showtime.

BRIAN YORKEY (Book) received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, as well as the 2009 Tony Award for Best Score, for Next to Normal. Brian was also nominated for the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for Next to Normal, and his work on the show earned him the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Score. Brian is currently at work on If/Then, a new musical with Next to Normal composer Tom Kitt, director Michael Greif, and producer David Stone, which will open at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway in March 2014. He is also working with Tom Kitt on a stage musical adaptation of Tom McCarthy's acclaimed film The Visitor. Brian and Tom are also writing songs for the stage adaptation of the much-loved movie Magic Mike and for Diablo Cody's feature film adaptation of the Sweet Valley High books. Brian's musical film Time After Time is in pre-production at Lionsgate/Summit. Film projects in active development include Score! for Team Downey and Warner Bros., Love Undercover for Pandemonium Films, and Chase for Anonymous Content and Rosenzweig Films. Brian's other theatre credits include Making Tracks, which has played off-Broadway and regionally, the musical adaptation of Ang Lee's The Wedding Banquet and the country musical Play It By Heart. Brian has directed off-Broadway and regionally and for seven years was associate artistic director at Village Theatre in Washington state, one of the nation's leading producers of new musicals. He's a graduate of Columbia University, where he was artistic director of the Varsity Show, an alum of the BMI/Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and the WGA.

JOE MANTELLO (Direction). Directing credits include I'll Eat You Last, The Other Place, Dogfight, Other Desert Cities, The Pride, Pal Joey, 9 to 5, November, The Receptionist, The Ritz, Blackbird, Three Days of Rain, The Odd Couple, Glengarry Glen Ross (Tony nomination), Laugh Whore, Assassins (Tony Award), Wicked, Take Me Out (Tony Award), Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, A Man of No Importance, Design for Living, Terrence McNally and Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking for San Francisco Opera, The Vagina Monologues, Bash, Another American: Asking and Telling, Love! Valour! Compassion! (Tony nomination), Proposals, The Mineola Twins and Corpus Christi. As an actor: The Normal Heart (Tony nomination), Angels in America (Tony nomination) and The Baltimore Waltz. He is the recipient of Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Helen Hayes, Clarence Derwent, Obie and Joe A. Callaway Awards. He is a member of Naked Angels and an associate artist at Roundabout Theatre Company.

STEVEN HOGGETT (Choreography). Broadway: Once (also West End. Obie Award, Lortel Award, Calloway Award), The Glass Menagerie (also A.R.T.), Green Day's American Idiot, Peter and the Starcatcher (Lortel Award). West End: The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-Time (also National Theatre). Rocky The Musical (Stage Entertainment, Hamburg), Rigoletto (Metropolitan Opera), The Full Monty (Sheffield Theatres), Dr Dee (Manchester International Festival / ENO), The Light Princess, Dido Queen Of Carthage, The Hothouse and Market Boy (National Theatre), Let The Right One In, Black Watch (Olivier Award, Best Choreographer), The Bacchae, 365, The Wolves in the Walls (National Theatre of Scotland). As founding Artistic Director of Frantic Assembly, his director/choreographer credits include Little Dogs (with National Theatre Wales), Lovesong, Beautiful Burnout, Othello, Stockholm, Pool (No Water) and Dirty Wonderland. With Scott Graham, Steven co-wrote The Frantic Assembly Book of Devising Theatre (Routledge).

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