Something that not everyone knows about me is that I’m an avid theater fan. I’ve been attending shows ever since I was a young child and have such an appreciation for live theater. Some of my passion comes from growing up as a performer; I danced all the way through college and have a love of the stage. This translates to a huge fascination with Broadway; I just can’t get enough! I frequently attend shows (I’ve been a Broadway in Chicago subscriber the last two seasons) and anytime I am in New York or London I heavily factor into my schedule theater performances. I usually don’t delve too far into my love of theater on “Sage & Serendipity” but I wanted to try something a little new. I thought it would be fun to provide a bit of a review/general commentary on the most recent show I saw. This includes overall production information, personal opinions on the performance, and fun tidbits relating to the show. I hope you enjoy!
Over the weekend, I saw a new musical, “The Last Ship” at the Bank of America Theatre.
Synopsis (via Broadway in Chicago):
THE LAST SHIP is a new musical with an original score by 16-time Grammy Award winner Sting. Inspired by Sting’s own childhood experiences, this World Premiere production features direction by two-time Tony Award winner Joe Mantello (Wicked), a book by Tony Award winner John Logan (Red) and Pulitzer Prize winner Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal) and choreography by Olivier Award winner Steven Hoggett (Once).
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 15 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.
Cast Notes-Spotlight On:
Rachel Tucker (Meg Dawson) played Elphaba in the West End production of ‘Wicked’; she held the role longer than any other actress in the show’s history (March 2010-October 2012). She was one of the finalists on the 2008 BBC talent show ‘I’d Do Anything’. The show’s prize was the role of Nancy in the revival of ‘Oliver’ in the West End. Rachel finished in fourth place, just behind Samantha Barks (Eponine in the film version of ‘Les Miserables’). ‘The Last Ship’ will be her Broadway debut!
Wow. I went into this performance without any expectations and I was completely blown away. The cast is extremely talented, which pairs well with the exquisite music and storyline. My favorite scenes were those in the pub; these to me really embodied the Britishness of the story. I would recommend this show to anyone who appreciates theater, as well as an older audience. The questions that the plot evokes about family and the passing of time are able to resonate with everyone, regardless of whether they have experienced a similar situation. And the character of the priest, played by Fred Applegate, steals every scene he is in with hilarious dialogue and perfect comedic timing.
‘The Last Ship’ will head to Broadway in Fall 2014. So why is it premiering in Chicago? Illinois offers producers a state theater tax credit! Shows often choose to premiere outside of New York (popular locations are Toronto, Seattle and San Francisco) which allows producers to re-work the show based on initial audience reactions. We’ve seen pre-Broadway premieres in this in the past with ‘Kinky Boots’ and ‘Big Fish’, and you can expect more shows in the future to take advantage of this deal.
The show will move to the Neil Simon Theatre on 52nd Street in New York City, where ‘Big Fish’ played in 2013. Previously known as the Alvin Theatre, this was the theater where ‘Anything Goes’ debuted back in 1934.
“The Last Ship” is playing at the Bank of America Theatre through July 13th, 2014. Find more information, including ticket details, here.