Collaboration reaches for Broadway
A long-awaited collaboration between Stephen King and John Mellencamp is moving closer to production.
In May, actors participated in an initial read-through of the "dramatic musical" that features a story by King and songs by Mellencamp.
Broadway is the hoped-for destination for "The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County," but Mellencamp advises patience.
"If we're lucky, a year from now we'll be in Chicago or Miami putting the thing together," he says, referring to a theatrical debut that customarily precedes a move to New York.
The singer clearly liked what he saw and heard during the read-through.
"It was the most exciting thing I've done professionally in probably 25 years," Mellencamp says. "It was so much fun to see those characters come to life and hear those songs being sung."
The story features two quarreling brothers from Mississippi, their father and the ghosts of two uncles who couldn't resolve their differences before meeting a tragic end.
Mellencamp has written 17 songs in the acoustic blues style heard on his 2003 album, "Trouble No More." When "Ghost Brothers" makes it to the stage, Mellencamp says, his band will play the music from the orchestra pit.
King and Mellencamp have been working on the project since 2000.
The rock star says he's enjoyed forging a give-and-take relationship with the author of "The Stand," "The Shawshank Redemption" and "Carrie."
He also admits to having little success when suggesting rewrites to King.
"He would say, 'I'm the writer, you're the songwriter. Shut up,' " Mellencamp says with a laugh.
Recalling doubts about a specific scene, Mellencamp says the read-through revealed King's accurate instincts.
"It was so sweet and so great," the Seymour native says. "Steve was sitting right in front of me, and he turned back to say, 'Not going to work, eh?' "
Thanks to Rocky Wood.