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Rock star Sting's Broadway musical 'The Last Ship' to close

/ Source: Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Broadway musical "The Last Ship," written by Grammy-winning rock star Sting based on his childhood growing up in a shipbuilding town in northeast England, will close later this month, its producers said on Tuesday.

Sting, 63, has been performing in the musical since Dec. 9 to boost flagging tickets sales but it was not enough to keep the musical afloat.

“'The Last Ship' will play its final performance on Broadway on Saturday, Jan. 24," its producers said in a statement, adding Sting will continue in the musical until it closes.

In the first full week of Sting's performances, the musical that cost $15 million to stage took in more than $817,000, up from $491,000 the previous week.

Last week "The Last Ship" grossed $953,165 with 83 percent of capacity, compared with "Wicked," which pulled in $2.7 million and the "Lion King" with $2.5 million.

"The Last Ship" opened on Oct. 26 to mixed reviews with Sting winning praise for his foot-stomping, melodic score. But critics found the story about a shipbuilder's son who returns home after 15 years to a town hit by recession and a former girlfriend who has moved on, tangled.

He joins the unemployed shipyard workers to build one last ship. Sting replaced British actor Jimmy Nail as Jackie White, the foreman of the closed shipyard in the town of Wallsend.

"Brave captain takes the helm," said the New York Post in a headline about Sting's performance, while USA Today added: "Sting steers 'Last Ship' with pride, charisma."

The closing of the musical follows the release of figures on Monday showing Broadway had its best-attended and highest grossing calendar year in 2014 with 13.1 million people seeing shows that brought in $1.36 billion.

Attendance at shows rose 13 percent over the 2013 calendar year and grosses were up 14 percent. Broadway also enjoyed its highest grossing Christmas and New Year's weeks.

(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Marguerita Choy)