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  The Last Ship at CIBC Theatre

The Last Ship

CIBC Theatre
18 W. Monroe Chicago

With an original score by 16-time Grammy Award winner Sting, THE LAST SHIP will have its pre-Broadway World Premiere at Chicago's Bank of America Theatre. THE LAST SHIP will open on Broadway in the fall of 2014. An epic yet intimate tale 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 and Tony Award winner Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal) and choreography by Olivier Award winner and Tony Award Nominee Steven Hoggett (Once). "The memories at the heart of THE LAST SHIP have occupied my mind for most of my life," said Sting. "I was compelled to tell this story, and I've had the great fortune of collaborating with an enormously talented team."

Thru - Jul 13, 2014

Price: $30-$100

Show Type: Musical

Running Time: 2hrs, 30mins; one intermission

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  The Last Ship Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...With "The Last Ship," a heartfelt and clearly sincere tribute to the men and women of the lost shipbuilding industry of North East England, the shadows of a restless rock star's youth, Sting has proven that his formidable narrative songwriting skills can translate to the Broadway stage. His oft-anthemic musical work here - songs that sometimes evoke the complexity of composer Kurt Weill, occasionally the hearty populism of Lionel Bart, and, frequently and effectively, the blend of cool elusiveness and emotional honesty that justly made Sting world famous - is hoisted quite beautifully and accessibly in celebration of Wallsend. That's the tough but close-knit community near Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, where streets of terraced houses were dwarfed by the hulking hulls of ships in progress and whose decline through the '70s, '80s and '90s clearly has haunted Sting's seemingly enviable life thereafter."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...A true masterwork, it not only keens a ravishing dirge for a lost way of life, and the indomitable spirit of the working class as it continues to stagger through this post-industrial age. But as it spins an eternal tale of the tensions between fathers and sons (and yes, a "holy ghost" of sorts, too), as well as the ardor and disappointments of love, the opposing pull of home and "away," and the need for some form of faith along with ennobling work, it magnifies the human heartbeat, and captures a genuine sense of the yearning that keeps people going."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Recommended

"...With particularly creative help from from lighting designer Christopher Akerlind and choreographer Steven Hoggett, Mantello's staging manages to be fluid while also evoking the iron-and-rivets, actetylene-torch-lit world of the yards. Cunningly, he evokes Sting, too, through the remarkably Sting-like vocal stylings of his Gideon, Michael Esper."
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Tony Adler

Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Yet the vast majority of the score as it exists now makes for exciting, forceful musical theater, and performances by the likes of Esper, Applegate, Tucker and Kelly-Sordelet are already in a strong place. With plenty of time to tweak the story's weak points before the show's Broadway opening four months from now, The Last Ship's creators are well on their way to launching a seaworthy vessel."
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Kris Vire

ShowBizChicago - Highly Recommended

"...Brilliant, and sure to thrill, this is not the spectacle Broadway, we have come to know since the Feline's hit the stage. This is something new, spectacle, but with a story that truly turns you on your ear. By the end of it I was bouncing in my chair like a five year old girl who was just told Santa had replaced all his reindeer with my little Pony Pegasus, and Rainbow Dash had the lead. I was thrilled, I was amazed, and faith in the art of story was restored."
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Dave McGuire

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...One's heart lies with the townsfolk and their wise-cracking spiritual leader, who affectionately reminds his flock that he has "blessed the odd infant - some exceedingly odd." Father O'Brien knows there is no "Kinky Boots" solution to Wallsend's doomed yards. Funny as Applegate is in his role as the priest who snags a cig in confessional and regards the time he gave up drink as the "worst three hours" of his life, it's a strength that Father O'Brien gets the serious stuff right, from standing in solidarity with his flock to acknowledging the sacramental nature of work itself."
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Nancy Malitz

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...Director Joe Mantello works his usual wonders: The perfectly-cast leads and impeccable ensemble honor the driven dreams that few but Sting capture so completely. His "act of artistic rejuvenation," as author Logan puts it, accomplishes itself; and judging from the opening night ovations it inspires the audience too."
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Lawrence Bommer

Splash Magazine - Recommended

"...if opening night is any indicator as to how this show might do on Broadway, it is off to an encouraging start, even if it's a bit rocky in its current form. The Last Ship is the most exciting original new musical I've seen yet, but it's still in the rough draft stage and it has much work to be done before it lands there. As it is now there are some major plot holes, length issues, questionable character motives, a few unnecessary songs, and some awkward scenes that need to get cleaned up as soon as possible by the creators."
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Justin LeClaire

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...I believe this show is almost ready to be a major hit. The character of Gideon could be perceived as a tad more likable and the town's reaction of Gideon's return could be lass hostile since I think they would want to hear about Gideon's adventures at sea. But those as small adjustments, the core of The Last Ship is in place and it is quite impressive. Catch it now before it goes to Broadway."
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard - Highly Recommended

"...A show with a pedigree like this one is destined for great things: book writers John Logan and Brian Yorkey have shelves of Tony's already, and producers Kevin McCollum, James L. Nederlander, Roy Furman, Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss are like a dream team for nurturing a winner. There are a few rough patches in the road to Broadway: I am sure there will be a bit of tinkering with the shipyard scene in Act 2 where the three songs lack the flow of the rest of the show, and the transition into the graveyard scene is a touch awkward. But these are tiny quibbles: get your tickets now before you have to pay scalper prices. Not every sure-to-win team takes the trophy, but in this case, I was privileged to see a hit at its birth. If you want your chance to see it, hurry: this pre-Broadway try out is here only until July 13."

Angela Allyn

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Another pre-Broadway World Premiere in Chicago- another hit!. I am not sure if we are the "lucky city" or that our theater audiences are more sophisticated and therefore set the bar at just the right height for the creators of new musicals, but it seems that of late, the shows that start here do well on "The Great White Way". The newest, "The last Ship" with a book by John Logan and Brian Yorkey and music/lyrics by Sting is a marvelous tale about a small town where the main work for the men is the shipyard and the building of the vessels that travel the seas and oceans. Our hero, Gideon (a solid performance by Michael Esper) decides to leave as a teen, not wanting to follow the path of his father, grandfather and those that preceded, leaving behind his teen-age girlfriend."
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Alan Bresloff

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...One would never know from the heart and earnestness found in this new musical that this marks Stingís debut at writing for the stage. After its Chicago world premier the musical will head to New York for a Fall opening, where itís likely to take Broadway by storm. From its Prologue to the final reprise of its title song, this production is both melodic and dramatically moving. Blessed with an ensemble of gifted singer/actor/dancers and guided by the talented Joe Mantello, this show, here only for a limited time, is a must-see for area audiences."

Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Recommended

"..."The Last Ship" may score on Broadway, propelled by Sting's fame. The show can be respected, but expectations were high and they haven't yet been met. "Kinky Boots" had its difficulties, but even early on it was a fun show with some richly theatrical leading characters and a handful of first-rate production numbers. "The Last Ship" aspires to storytelling of a different nature but it still needs an injection of theatricality. The eager opening night audience wanted to cheer but the biggest ovation came at the curtain call when Sting stepped forward to belt out a rousing rendition of the title song. It was a great moment for first nighters but subsequent audiences will have to rely on just the show as written and right now it's not enough."

Dan Zeff

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