Sting is a Renaissance man of talents from stage to screen, but until "The Last Ship," he'd never written tunes for a Broadway musical. Fortunately, it turns out he's just as talented there as he was with the Police, as a movie actor or as a solo artist.
"Last Ship" opened on Broadway two weeks ago, and is a "three-way love story," as Sting noted on TODAY Friday. He added that in some ways the musical is autobiographical, starting with the fact that it takes place in his hometown of Newcastle, England.
"There's more of me in the play than I actually meant to be," he allowed, before stepping aside to let some of the cast members sing "When We Dance," a song that was a hit for him in 1994 and has now been worked into the musical.
In addition to that terrific performance, Al Roker got a backstage tour of the show's set at the Neil Simon Theater, where he learned how the show turns a New York stage into a gritty shipyard full of atmosphere, rain and coverall-wearing, gruff builders.
"We are holding some auditions this afternoon," noted Sting as Roker slipped into a pair of the coveralls.
"I can't sing, and I can't dance," said Roker.
"That hasn't stopped people before," Sting parried (and later on, Roker actually did a little soft-shoe).
"I want to pay a debt to the people I was brought up with," said Sting about the origins of the musical. "I did everything in my power not to end up working in the shipyard. ... I escaped through music."
Sounds like he made the right choice.
"The Last Ship" cast album will be released in December; the show is currently running on Broadway.