Sting made an unexpected return to performance this week when he stepped in at the last moment to replace a sick cast member in his musical The Last Ship in his home city of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England.
The BBC report that the former Police frontman appeared onstage to sing the song ‘Underground River’ at Northern Stage, the same venue where he started his career as a bassist in the orchestra pit back in the 1970s. In The Last Ship, the song is normally delivered by Joe Caffrey, who plays lead character Billy Thompson. Caffrey is believed to have “lost his voice” ahead of the March 19 show. Actor Michael Blair played Billy for the rest of the performance.
“We spent all afternoon working hard to make sure the show went ahead”, said The Last Ship director Lorne Campbell, “and I’m pleased to say the brilliant Michael Blair stepped in to perform the role of Billy. Plus, audiences may have spotted a familiar face as Sting took to the stage to sing ‘Underground River.’”
“I didn’t wake up in the morning expecting I would be performing on the stage in the evening,” Sting said. “But when one of the cast goes down, it’s all hands on deck.”
The Last Ship was initially released as an album in 2013, but had always been planned for the theatre. It tells the story of shipyard closures in the industrial area of Wallsend, where Sting grew up. The show opened on Broadway in the US the following year. The Newcastle production, with a new and revised plot, opened on 12 March.
As uDiscover Music previously reported, Sting and Shaggy’s first album as a duo, 44/876, is set for release release on 20 April 2018. The following day, 21 April, the pair will perform at Queen Elizabeth II’s 92nd birthday concert.
Celebrating the Queen’s 66-year reign and another turn of the calendar, the show will take place on 21 April at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Other “stars from around the Commonwealth” set to perform include Kylie Minogue, Craig David, Shawn Mendes, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Anne Marie, and Sir Tom Jones. The concert will be broadcast live on BBC One, BBC Two Radio, and BBC World Service English.
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