Sting met with the press on Monday (September 9th) at the Detroit Opera House, where he will perform next spring as part of the touring company of his The Last Ship musical. In addition to performing several songs on guitar along with keyboardist Rob Mathes, the Police frontman spoke in depth about the musical and its place in the musical universe.
The show's upcoming road jaunt will play residencies in Los Angeles; San Francisco; Washington, D.C.; St. Paul; and Detroit. Sting stars as shipyard foreman, “Jackie White,” and will perform the role at every performance.
We snagged some one-on-one time with Sting, and he told us that immersing himself into a theatre production always seems to bring the best out in him: “I mean, I've been in musical theatre before this; I was in The Threepenny Opera on Broadway in the '80s. It's a different discipline. I'm not playing myself — I mean, there are aspects of me in the songs, but I'm playing another character. That's challenging and also very freeing. Y'know, I don't have to be me. In fact, one of the great things about writing this musical is that I don't have to be in my own head. I'm getting into someone else's head. It's an act of empathy. You enter someone else's life and you see the world from their point of view.”
Sting went on to talk about the inclusive role theatre plays in a community: “It's a big empathy machine. I think that's what storytelling and theatre is. We see each other. We resonate with another human being in a situation that we recognize. That's useful, particularly when we're being so fragmented by political. . . y'know, dogmatism and separation of 'us' and 'them.'”
The Last Ship U.S. theatre runs (subject to change):
January 14 to February 16 – Los Angeles, CA – Ahmanson Theatre
February 20 to March 22 – San Francisco, CA – Golden Gate Theatre
March 27 to April 5 – Washington, D.C. – National Theatre
April 8 to 19 – St. Paul, MN – Ordway Center
April 22 to 26 – Detroit, MI – Detroit Opera House