Sting‘s musical The Last Ship has set January 24th as its farewell voyage. After 105 performances and 29 previews, the Broadway show – based on the musician’s autobiographical album of the same name – will end its run at New York’s Neil Simon Theatre. The Last Ship had opened on Broadway on October 26th, 2014, and while the musical earned glowing reviews during its Chicago tryout last summer, the show struggled to pack houses on the Great White Way.
“We have been bewildered and saddened by our inability to sustain an audience for this musical that we deeply love. There are no easy explanations,” producers Jeffrey Seller and Kathryn Schenker wrote in an email to its cast and crew Monday, the New York Times reports. The production cost $15 million just to bring to Broadway, plus another $625,000 a week in running fees. The Times notes that producers and investors were losing about $75,000 a week keeping the musical afloat.
The show’s box office grosses had nearly doubled last month as Sting himself was enlisted to perform in The Last Ship, taking the supporting role of a shipyard foreman in the musical. Sting based the show on his childhood growing up in the shipbuilding stronghold of Wallsend, England. Producers called the Kennedy Center honoree‘s efforts to keep The Last Ship at sea “herculean,” but the show still wasn’t selling out on a nightly basis. It eventually became apparent that the musical could not survive the notoriously slow post-holiday months of February and March.
While The Last Ship‘s run on Broadway is ending, producers are optimistic that, as they said in an e-mail, “our ability to persevere has helped ensure a viable future for the show in licensing.”