Sting, looking and sounding great, introduced his musical “The Last Ship” to San Francisco today at a terrific sneak preview of the show coming to SHN Golden Gate Theatre next year.
With Richard John on keyboard, the pop musician and Broadway composer accompanied himself on acoustic guitar on the stage of the Golden Gate before select theater subscribers and the media in a few numbers from the show inspired by his youth in a shipbuilding town in Northern England and the economic crisis it faced.
“As a child, I thought this was what my future might be. But I had a vague dream I’d be a musician, and the engine of that ambition was the town I was from,” he said, before inviting fellow cast members Frances McNamee and Olvier Savile (who play troubled lovers) to perform a few more of the show’s equally captivating tunes.
“It’s about what happens when a community is under duress. When the industry you identify with is taken from you for abstract reasons, it’s terrifying. My story is set in the ‘80s, the same things are going on all over the world,” added Sting, who plays a foreman conflicted between his loyalty to the company and to his workers. (Critics of the 2019 Toronto production called him “unassumingly honest,” about which he says, “I think that’s praise.”)
He also mentioned that the musical is about tensions between fathers and sons and the strength of women, who save the community. And that a giant ship “that freaks people out” is launched during the show.
The event accompanied the announcement of theater presenter SHN’s upcoming season at the Golden Gate.
In addition to “The Last Ship,” opening in February, the lineup of musicals includes “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical,” in December, and, in 2020, “The Spongebob Musical” in February; “The Book of Mormon” in April; “The Band’s Visit” in May; “Mean Girls” in June; and “My Fair Lady” in August. Subscriptions (which don’t include “Spongebob” or “Book of Mormon”) range from $269 to $912 and are on sale at (888) 746-1799 and shnsf.com.