(Patrick Healy’s article appeared in The New York Times, 1/6; via Pam Green.)

Why do some serious-minded Broadway shows flourish and others flop? Monday night’s announcement that the new musical “The Last Ship” will close on Jan. 24 after a meager four-month run, despite unusual efforts by Sting, its composer, to increase ticket sales, raises that question more than most other foundering musicals in recent years.

On Tuesday the show’s producers, who will lose their entire $15 million investment, had no easy answers. What’s clear is that Sting’s gambit last month — to join the cast in hopes of drawing bigger audiences — provided a short-term lift at the box office but failed to generate enough excitement for the show to last. Sting was set to stay only until Jan. 24; ticket sales for performances after that were poor, one of the show’s producers, Jeffrey Seller, said in an interview on Tuesday.


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