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Music Muse: What Rhymes with ‘Layoff?’

Friday, September 6, 2013

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Shipyards facing closure have found an unlikely advocate in Sting, who is penning a Broadway musical showing the hardships the workers face. 

Yes, that Sting, the same guy who formed The Police in 1977.

The musical, The Last Ship, will tell the story of the downfall of the Swan Hunters shipyard in the 1980s. As a boy growing up in Wallsend, Newcastle, Sting used to watch as huge ships were built and set out to sea from the shipyard on the north bank of the River Tyne.

"There was the shipyard at one end of the town and the coal mine at the other," Sting said in a conversation with posted on his website.

Sting The Last Ship
Wikipedia /

Sting's new album, The Last Ship, comes out Sept. 24.  A musical under the same name will debut on Broadway in Fall 2014.

"There wasn't really much clue about how you would make a living if you didn't want to join those two industries. I didn't. Education and music became my escape. And then, in the Eighties, everything shut down. I've carried survivor's guilt ever since."

Musical Inspires Album

While the musical is set three decades ago, shipyard layoffs and closures are still all too familiar. Earlier this year, shipyards across the United States warned off mass layoffs as the government struggled with mandated federal spending cuts.

The musical focuses on a group of shipyard workers who decide to build their own ship when the government mandates their shipyard's closure. The workers then set sail around the world.

Sting has been working on the project for three years and co-wrote the musical's book with Brian Yorkey and John Logan.

Joe Mantello, from Wicked, will direct the musical, which is expected to hit Broadway in Fall 2014.

Sting will release a new album Sept. 24 with the same title as the musical that will include songs featured in The Last Ship. The album marks Sting's first original material in a decade.

"Once I came up with these characters, the songs began to pour out," Sting said. "It was such a relief not to write about myself. I had to get myself out of the way."


Tagged categories: Layoffs; Shipyards

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