Paul Simon is Sting‘s New York City neighbor. He is also the reason the former Police frontman will only be able to step into the lead role of the Broadway musical The Last Ship starting next week for a month, as the pair are back to touring together early in the new year.
Ahead of Sting’s Kennedy Center Honors broadcast taping (December 7) and Broadway debut (December 9), Washington Post theater critic Peter Marks hung out at the Neil Simon Theatre with the supremely talented sexagenarian. Mr. Sumner confessed that this holiday season, he has chosen to sail past some advice given to him by his current concert tour pal:
Simon had his own original musical on Broadway nearly 20 years ago, the tepidly received The Capeman; when Sting talked to him about The Last Ship – which Simon has seen twice – the older songwriter offered him some advice about maintaining distance from the show. “Don’t tie yourself to the front of the train,” Sting quotes Simon as warning.
That, apparently, wasn’t going to work for Sting. “I have no choice,” he says. “I have to be in the front of the train.”
Shades of Buster Keaton’s The General. There’s also a great paragraph in Marks’ piece, in the form of a quote from Sting, about the power of dreams and what is required to make youthful ambition come to adult fruition.