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Sting's Broadway show 'The Last Ship' will close

Ticket sales improved once the musician joined the cast of the Broadway musical, but not by a huge amount. 'The Last Ship' has received mixed reviews.

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    'The Last Ship' stars Sting (center).
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Sting is going down with his ship.

Producers said early Tuesday that the Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter's Broadway musical "The Last Ship" will close when he leaves the show Jan. 24.

Sting, who wrote the songs, jumped into the show in December, playing a shipyard foreman. While that improved sales, they didn't skyrocket.

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"The Last Ship" is a semiautobiographical story about a prodigal son who returns to his northern England shipbuilding town to reclaim the girl he abandoned when he fled years before. He finds the workers are now unemployed and entertaining the idea of building one last boat to show off their skill and pride.

The show has struggled at the box office, attributable in part to its challenging topic and mixed reviews. It earned well during the Christmas and New Year holidays, but all shows enjoyed bumps. A long February loomed without tourists to swell the ranks in the audience or Sting to draw New Yorkers.

Sting, born Gordon Sumner, drew on his childhood  growing up in Newcastle. He was last onstage on Broadway in 1989's revival of "The Threepenny Opera."

On the eve of joining the cast onstage, the singer acknowledged his show faced tough odds: "This was never going to be easy. I didn't anticipate a shoo-in at all. I expected a battle because I want to succeed against the odds."

For "The Last Ship," Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning lyricist Brian Yorkey ("Next to Normal") and Tony-winner John Logan ("Red") wrote the book, and Tony-winner Joe Mantello ("Wicked") directed.

Other rock stars have joined shows they helped create, including Green Day's frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, who made several onstage visits to his show "American Idiot." But others – including Bono and The Edge from U2 and Trey Anastasio from Phish – chose to stay offstage even after their shows sprung a leak.

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