11.01.89 THE DAILY MAIL
The following article by Jack Tinkler appeared in a November 1989 issue of the The Daily Mail newspaper...
The Star who doesn't like the safe life.
The knives were out and sharpened before Sting had even opened his mouth for his Broadway debut.
This is a town where cynicism is a language as well as a way of life. How dare an English rock star - especially an English rock star from a defunct 80's band - trespass on their precious on their precious time, trying out a new, and possibly much-needed, career move?
"We knew what we were in for," said Sting ruefully. "However, I'm not the sort of person who likes pressing the same button and finding the same things coming out. I don't run my life on what critics say. I run my life on what I can learn. I had come here to learn this craft, the craft of acting as opposed to appearing on stage in big rock concerts. But I had to do it in full view of everybody. I've not been allowed to go into rep and I never went to drama school. So I had no alternative. I was famous before I decided to do it."
And why did he? After all, he is a multi-millionaire at 38. Why should such a man 'chance his arm' and his reputation when other rock stars are prepared to sit at home and issue another album when cash flow demands?
It is an innate distaste at the prospect of becoming just another mega-rich rock star posturing about on a stage at an age when others are preparing to sign on for a bus pass that drives him on. "There is something very undignified in that," he says, tactfully mentioning no names.
"I structure my life so that if I have two choices where one is sane and the right thing to do, I will invariably do the other. Call me a chancer it you like. One day I'm bound to come a cropper."
The second factor in his decision was the lady in his life, actress Trudie Styler.
"Trudie was very instrumental in it. She said: "'Before your 40 you should play 'Mack The Knife'. I normally take her word. She's very intuitive and in tune with what I need. So it was really down to Trudie. You only live once and if you're given an opportunity like this you take it and see if you can pull it off."
Actually I found his performance exactly my idea of what Frank Rich demanded. With his hair cut short, a seedily trimmed moustache sprouting across his top lip and an uncanny look of the young Olivier in the angular, scarred profile He is instantly recognisable as the sort of swaggering insinuating, upwardly mobile South London spiv who would sell his granny if he thought he could make a profit.
Exactly Brecht's vision of a Free Enterprise Society.
Not that he came to Broadway unprepared. He had already sung the role of Macheath in Hamburg - and in the original German - with the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra. As for acting experience, he points out that he has spent the last 12 years living with two actresses both former members of the RSC. "That's the equivalent of a drama school course I would say", he winks teasingly.
Sting refuses to allow any new challenge to pass him by. Close by the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, a gilded chocolate box of a place, a young homeless beggar had made his pitch. Typically, Sting got to know him and invited him to the show, its theme being that the poor cannot afford morals.
"I thought it would have something special to say to him," Sting explains. "So I offered him a ticket. He asked me to give him a week to find some clothes. Sure enough, he turned up looking quite good in a leather top and jeans. I gave him his ticket and afterwards he said he thought it was terrific but the trouble was that he couldn't earn living in his new clothes. No one would give him any money. Next time I saw him he was back in his old gear sleeping rough on his old pitch - very Brechtian."
Very Sting too.
© The Daily Mail
As the sexy, sinister Macheath in Broadway's 'The Threepenny Opera', Sting is taking the greatest gamble of his gaudy career. This is not his turf. We are strolling west on 46th Street on a midsummer day in midtown Manhattan, and even in tank top and cotton pants, even with a dashing moustache adorning his face, it is unmistakably Sting, a man who has spent the past decade as one of the most famous men in the world...
Sting makes his Broadway debut: The sound of classical music drifts from a large upstairs dressing room at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre one hour before an evening dress rehearsal. Gordon Matthew Sumner is playing Mozart. "I think it helps to concentrate on something else for a minute or two," says Sumner, better known as rock superstar Sting, as he gets up from the piano. "Otherwise, you end up worrying..."
The Star who doesn't like the safe life. The knives were out and sharpened before Sting had even opened his mouth for his Broadway debut. This is a town where cynicism is a language as well as a way of life. How dare an English rock star - especially an English rock star from a defunct 80's band - trespass on their precious on their precious time, trying out a new, and possibly much-needed, career move...?
A Macheath for the 90's? Seated in the first row of the orchestra at the National Theater in Washington, a few blocks from the White House, John Dexter, the Tony Award-winning director of 'M. Butterfly' and 'Equus', is rehearsing Sting, Maureen McGovern and other cast members in Act I, Scene 2 of '3 Penny Opera'. It is Thursday afternoon Sept. 28, two weeks since the show, in town for a pre-Broadway run, was blasted by the local critics, who belittled Sting's acting ability, said his singing voice was barely audible and described the production as murky, boring and poorly directed...
Sting not stung by poor '3 Penny' reviews. I feel like I'm going inside to view the body... you know, like in a wake," Janis Margolin said, giggling nervously as she stood in line outside the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on 46th Street. The Long Island receptionist had been looking forward for weeks to seeing rock singer Sting make his Broadway debut in a new production of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's biting musical '3 Penny Opera', but she and her three friends were now apprehensive...