NEW YORK — Sting is hoping his star power can plug up a leaky ship.

The singer-songwriter will play the role of an inspirational foreman onstage in “The Last Ship” starting Dec. 9 at the Neil Simon Theatre. The musical, for which Sting supplied songs and lyrics, has been struggling at the box office.

“I’m so excited. I think it will give us a little light. Frankly, we need a blip in sales to be viable,” Sting said Monday. “You have to do whatever it takes.”

The show, with no big stars and a challenging story to sell, brought in only $497,000 last week, less than 40 percent of its $1,243,000 potential and the theater was only 66 percent full. Mixed reviews haven’t helped. “This was never going to be easy. I expected a battle because I want to succeed against the odds,” Sting said.

The move isn’t unprecedented. Green Day’s frontman Billie Joe Armstrong made several onstage visits to his show “American Idiot.” But others from the pop world – including Bono and The Edge from U2 and Trey Anastasio from Phish – chose to stay offstage even after their shows fared poorly at the box office.

“The Last Ship” is a semi-autobiographical 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.

–From news service reports