The Ghost Brothers Will Rise Again

Posted: October 24, 2018, 15:55

A revised version of Stephen King and John Mellencamp’s Ghost Brothers of Darkland County will be available for stock and amateur licensing in 2019.

Broadway Licensing is working with Stephen King and John Mellencamp to develop a new version of their musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County for worldwide licensing, which will be made available in 2019.

The Gothic southern musical, which premiered in 2012 at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre, explores a decades-old tragedy that haunts the population of a small town. Grammy winner Mellencamp (“Pink Houses,” “Jack and Diane,” “Small Town”) penned the score, while Carrie, Misery, and The Shining novelist King wrote the book.

A studio album of Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, recorded in 2010, was released from Hear Records/Concord Records Group. The musical also played a limited concert tour.

“This is terrific news. I loved working with John Mellencamp, and the ghostly result is one of my most proud accomplishments,” King said in a statement.

Mellencamp added, “When Steve and I decided to mount a musical… neither of us knew what we were doing. We learned on the job. I have never had so much fun or laughed so hard in my life.”

2014 Ghost Brothers Tour Announced

Posted: June 13, 2014, 08:49
From King's site

2014 Ghost Brothers Tour Announced
June 12th, 2014 6:53:35 pm

If you haven't had a chance to see the Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, it's not too late! A new tour has been announced and tickets will go on sale beginning June 19th. For full details with the dates and cities for the tour, read the Press Release here.

Ghost tour

Posted: June 14, 2013, 13:13
Looks like Ghost Brothers of Darkland County will be in a different format when it tours...

It's being done as a radio play format, i.e. instead of a play with sets as it was done in Atlanta, the actors will read their lines and sing the songs as though it was being broadcast to a radio audience and will be backed up by a live band. That is necessary because the tour is being done very quickly from one city to the next and this will save production time and costs to not have to do the stage set ups.

Ghost Brothers Team on Outlaw Country

Posted: June 11, 2013, 15:35
Stephen, John and T-Bone appeared on SiriusXM's Outlaw Country for an interview with Mojo Nixon. You can listen to reruns of their discussion including details about the upcoming stage production on channel 60 at these times:

Saturday 6/15, 9am & 5pm ET
Sunday 6/16, 12pm & 9pm ET

Meet the Creators

Posted: June 4, 2013, 22:25
The "Meet the Creators" (live event at Apple's NY Soho ) was taped and will be released FREE for download by Apple.

It was a fun event with great conversation and interesting insights about how the touring show in fall will differ from the performance in Atlanta. Wonderful interaction between King, Mellencamp & Burnett.

Ghost Brothers out today!

Posted: June 4, 2013, 12:25
What edition of Ghost Brothers of Darkland County (if any) are you getting?

Standard – 1 enhanced CD with the dialogue excerpts included. The libretto will be included as part of the enhanced CD. Download card with music only inside order here

Hardcover version – 2 CD 1 DVD set – Printed Libretto. The package will contain 2 audio CDs, one with the dialogue excerpts and one without. The DVD will contain the making of program and “Truth” video. order here

Deluxe – 2 disc CD/DVD set – Standard CD with the dialogue excerpts. The DVD will be the making of program, “Truth” video, and the digital libretto. Download card with music only inside. order here

Digital Book for iTunes – Will contain all of the deluxe content interacting with the libretto in an iTunes exclusive digital book. order here

Digital version – Two versions will be available, with and without the dialog excerpts. order here

Ghost Brothers iBook

Posted: May 31, 2013, 21:51
Concord Music group has announced that Ghost Brothers of Darkland County will be released as an illustrated digital book for iBooks on June 3rd. The comprehensive multimedia edition fuses the production's story, soundtrack, artwork and video extras into a complete interactive experience. This marks Stephen’s first digital book conceived and designed especially for Apple's iBooks.

For more info, see King's official site.

Ghost Brothers Road Trip

Posted: May 10, 2013, 23:34
Ghost Brothers of Darkland County will be going on the road. Here are the places they will stop.

10 – Bloomington, IN – Indiana University Auditorium
11 – Louisville, KY – Whitney Hall *
12 – Knoxville, TN – Knoxville Civic Auditorium
13 – Asheville, NC – Thomas Wolfe Auditorium **
16 – Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium
17 – Evansville, IN – Aiken Theatre at The Centre
18 – Indianapolis, IN – Clowes Memorial Hall
19 – Akron, OH – Akron Civic Theatre
22 – Columbus, OH – Palace Theatre
24 – Ft. Wayne, IN – Embassy Theatre
25 – Madison, WI – Overture Hall
26 – Rockford, IL – Coronado Performing Arts Center
27 – Appleton, WI – Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
29 – Milwaukee, WI – Riverside Theatre ***
31 – Minneapolis, MN – State Theatre

1 – Sioux City, IA – Orpheum Theatre
2 – Ames, IA – Stephens Auditorium
3 – Davenport, IA – Adler Theatre
5 – South Bend, IN – Morris Performing Arts Center
6 – Grand Rapids, MI – DeVos Performance Hall

For more info, head over to King's official site.

Thanks to Lou Sytsma

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County in Jan?

Posted: January 4, 2013, 09:26
Simon & Schuster announced on their website that Ghost Brothers of Darkland County will be released in hardback (110 pages) on January 24, 2013. Earlier it has been March 19 so I’m not sure if this is an error or if the date has changed but what’s interesting is that we now know that the book will be in hardback and 110 pages long. I’ll keep you updated as I learn more but in the meantime, check out the official site here.

Ghost Brothers out on CD/DVD in March

Posted: November 14, 2012, 21:26

It's taken 13 years, thousands of hours and countless rewrites, but Stephen King and John Mellencamp's musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County is beginning to take its final shape. A version of the show ran in Atlanta earlier this year, and a CD/DVD deluxe edition, featuring the soundtrack, handwritten lyrics and a mini-documentary about the making of the musical, is hitting shelves on March 19th. The soundtrack features guest singers Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Taj Mahal, Kris Kristofferson and Mellencamp himself.

Read more here.

Thanks to Troy Tradup and Lou Sytsma

Brothers in New York

Posted: July 12, 2012, 21:45
Ghost Brothers of Darkland County might premier in New York.

The new Stephen King-John Mellencamp musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County may not have faded into the mist since its Atlanta premiere last spring. Showbiz411 reports that the creative team is aiming for a September presentation in New York.

Read more here.

Thanks to Lou Sytsma

Expanded Ghost Story synopsis

Posted: April 13, 2012, 23:45
Here is an expanded story synopsis for Ghost Brothers of Darkland County:

A malevolent shape circles around the Café, singing about his effect on the living and his role as a provocateur of bad behavior. In 1967, two lovers appear on a high cliff above Lake Belle Reve, and jump to their deaths. Joe McCandless (stepping out of time) appears to argue with himself as a ten year old (Young Joe) about whether or not to tell a terrible secret. Old Joe pushes the ghost of his own younger self down. We then see Joe lingering in the Dreamland Café, agonizing about whether or not to go “back”. Joe is urged to action by the friendly bartender.

It’s now 2007. He goes to his family cabin on Lake Belle Reve outside the town of Delight in Darkland County, MS where his brothers’ died in 1967, to tell his own sons Frank and Drake his tale of brotherly love gone sour. Frank and Drake’s relationship is under a strain as well. Drake stayed home after high school to play with a local band (that will probably always be a local band) while working as a mechanic. Frank, a college boy, will be rich after selling the paperback rights to his novel. Plus Anna, Frank’s girlfriend, used to be with Drake. And Drake’s band just bombed at the Delight Old Home Days in front of a journalist for Rolling Stone. Monique, the boys’ mother, tries to find a way for them all to get along.

The ghosts of Dan, the caretaker, who died in the cabin, Jack and Andy (Joe’s brothers), and Jenna, beloved of both Jack and Andy, haunt the cabin waiting to see if Joe will tell their terrible secret THIS time. With his sons at each other’s throats, Joe’s story will save or destroy the McCandless family.

The cast, creators and director of Ghost Brothers of Darkland County following the world premiere at the Alliance Theatre. April 11, 2012. Photo by Raymond McCrea Jones.

Enter for a chance to meet King

Posted: March 26, 2012, 23:44
Buy your tickets to Ghost Brothers of Darkland County using the KING10 prior to April 1st (11:59 pm, March 31, 2012) and your entered in a sweepstakes to win a VIP experience consisting of:

• Two opening night (April 11) orchestra tickets

• Two tickets to the VIP opening night party at the Four Seasons in Atlanta following the April 11 performance (transportation and lodging not included)

• Photo op with Stephen King

• A Stephen King autographed copy of 11/22/63

Get your tickets here.

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County CD due on May 22

Posted: January 31, 2012, 14:14
John Mellencamp & Stephen King’s Ghost Brothers of Darkland County CD Due On May 22, 2012 Featuring: Elvis Costello, Rosanne Cash, Kris Kristofferson & Sheryl Crow

John Mellencamp and Stephen King’s dramatic musical, Ghost Brothers of Darkland County will debut as a theatrical presentation beginning April 4 in Atlanta; a guest star-packed studio concept album will follow on May 22, via Hear Music, in both a single disc and 3-CD deluxe edition.

Elvis Costello, Rosanne Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Sheryl Crow, Taj Mahal and Neko Case are set to sing on the project, with Matthew McConaughey, Meg Ryan, former boxer Joe Frazier and Costello doing readings, as well. Both projects are produced with the input of producer T-Bone Burnett — who described the sound as “dark, foggy … and scary.”

The novelist King authored the narrative, while veteran singer-songwriter Mellencamp added music and lyrics. “It sounds like the Sgt. Pepper of Americana to me,” Mellencamp said in pre-release materials, adding that the goal was to make the recording sound something like “an old radio play” complete with dialogue and sound effects.


Ghost Brothers in town...

Posted: December 10, 2011, 23:59
This heads up was published on Alliance Theatre's facebook wall:

Keep an eye out for amazingly talented "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County" cast. They're all here for a workshop and they've been spotted around town at local clubs performing during their down time - Shuler Hensley, Justin Guarini, Kate Ferber, and Dale Watson, just to name a few...

Ghost Brothers cast

Posted: November 9, 2011, 21:42
Some of the roles in The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County has been casted.

Billy Elliot star Emily Skinner, Tony winner Shuler Hensley, American Idol vet Justin Guarini and musician Jake La Botz will lead the the world premiere cast of Stephen King and John Mellencamp's musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre. Directed by Susan V. Booth and featuring musical direction by T Bone Burnett, the show will begin a 10-day developmental workshop on December 5. Performances for the full production in Atlanta begin April 4, 2012.

Read more here

Ghost Brothers banner

Posted: August 10, 2011, 10:25
Just noticed this cool banner on King's official site.

Click for a larger image

Tickets for Ghost Brothers

Posted: July 8, 2011, 07:52
The Alliance Theatre has announced that Ghost Brothers of Darkland County tickets will go on sale Monday 7/11.

Don't miss this if you want to make sure you get tickets. Order here.

King on Ghost Brothers

Posted: June 21, 2011, 22:59
Here is an interview with King from when The Alliance Theatre had their "Taste of the Season" that took place on May 24th.

For more info, head over to The Alliance Theatre.

Photos from Alliance Theater

Posted: May 27, 2011, 08:38
Here are some photos from King's press conference at the Alliance Theater earlier this week. They are taken by Ken Marszalkowski who won the tickets in the contest that was held here at Lilja's Library. King answered questions and was interviewed.

Click for a larger image Click for a larger image

Click for a larger image Click for a larger image

Click for a larger image Click for a larger image

Mellencamp about Ghost Brothers CD

Posted: May 25, 2011, 23:34
Here is a short interview with John Mellencamp from May 3 where he talks about the CD version of Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.

Q&A with King

Posted: May 25, 2011, 23:34
Here is a Q&A with King about The Ghost Brothers from Darkland County.

Ghost Brothers ready for the stage

Posted: May 25, 2011, 15:11
Here is a first repport about King's apperance at The Alliance Theatre's "Taste of the Season". More to come...

Horror writer Stephen King says his first play, "The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County," featuring haunting melodies by rocker John Mellencamp, is finally ready for the stage.

The musical, based on a legend about the deaths of two brothers and a girl at a rural cabin, was originally scheduled to debut at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre two years ago, but was postponed.

King says Mellencamp and the play's director weren't getting along. The new director is Susan Booth.

King says Mellencamp wanted it set in the South because he admires Tennessee Williams. King says that worked for him because he'd been reading William Faulkner novels.

He says the play, which opens next April, was designed for a small stage, small cast and small technical requirements, "sort of the anti-Spiderman."

Wanna visit Darkland County?

Posted: May 25, 2011, 11:15
Alliance Theatre is holding auditions for the upcoming Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. The list of what they are looking for also gives us a look at the different characters in the play:

Music and Lyrics by John Mellencamp; Book by Stephen King
First Rehearsal: 2/28/12. Runs: 4/11/12 - 5/13/12

Joe McCandless:
50ish. Broad-shouldered. Strong. Father to Frank and Drake

Monique McCandless:
Joe’s wife, Frank and Drake’s mom. Former beauty queen. Looks good for age.

Frank McCandless:
22, a writer. Intelligent.

Drake McCandless:
24, guitar player. Handsome.

Anna Wicklow:
22, Southern with a wild, mean streak

The Shape:
A Ghost. Cynical and devious

Dan Coker:
60. Black Man. A Ghost

Young Joe:
Joe as a boy. A Ghost

21. A Ghost. Young Joe’s uncle

18. A Ghost. Andy’s brother (Young Joe’s brother)

19. A Ghost. Beautiful. Resembles Anna

For more info, visit

Those of you who are going to Darkland County is...

Posted: May 23, 2011, 14:01
The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County contest is over and here are the correct answers:

Question 1: Who has King collaborated with on Ghost Brothers of Darkland County?
Answer 1: John Mellencamp

Question 2: When is the world premier of Ghost Brothers of Darkland County?
Answer 2: April 4, 2012

Question 3: Who has directed Ghost Brothers of Darkland County?
Answer 3: Susan V. Booth

The winner of two tickets to the "Taste of the Season" show are: Ken Marszalkowski.

And the lucky winner of two tickets to the "Taste of the Season" show and the VIP tickets that also allows them to be at the press conference that will follow are: Bill Smith.

Great news about the Ghost Brothers

Posted: May 19, 2011, 20:58
Here is some great news about Ghost Brothers of Darkland County and its world premiere that will take place at the Alliance Theatre on April 4, 2012. The show will run from April 4 - May 13, 2012.

On Tuesday, May 24 and Wednesday, May 25 the Alliance Theatre will have a "Taste of the Season". This is a free, by-invitation-only opportunity for season ticket holders and select VIPs to get a glimpse of the upcoming season's shows. King is scheduled to appear during the first evening and the press junket with other writers, directors and actors that will take place after the show.

Living in Sweden I won't be able to attend but be sure to check back as I will tell you all about it... You can also check out the Alliance Theatre site for more about this.

Thanks to Nigel Williams for the heads up

More about the Ghost Brothers

Posted: March 31, 2011, 00:27
Here are some info about The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County from Alliance Theatre's webpage:

Music and Lyrics by John Mellencamp
Book by Stephen King
Directed by Susan V. Booth
Music Direction by T Bone Burnett

In keeping with the Alliance’s tradition of producing new American musicals, the company will produce the world premiere of Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, a chilling new musical with music and lyrics by John Mellencamp and book by Stephen King, as the closing show of the Alliance Stage Series season set for spring, 2012. Based on a true story, one of the world's most popular authors and one of America’s most honored musicians have created a riveting Southern gothic musical fraught with mystery, tragedy, and ghosts of the past, along with a roots and blues-tinged score that is sure to leave audiences asking for more. Alliance Artistic Director Susan V. Booth directs, with musical direction provided by legendary producer T Bone Burnett.

In the tiny town of Lake Belle Reve, Mississippi in 1957, a terrible tragedy took the lives of two brothers and a beautiful young girl. During the next forty years, the events of that night became the stuff of local legend. But legend is often just another word for lie. Joe McCandless knows what really happened; he saw it all. The question is whether or not he can bring himself to tell the truth in time to save his own troubled sons, and whether the ghosts left behind by an act of violence will help him – or tear the McCandless family apart forever.

April 4 – May 13

Ghost Brothers next year

Posted: March 30, 2011, 15:32
According to access Atlanta Alliance Theatre has announced Ghost Brothers of Darkland County for spring 2012:

Atlanta's biggest theater, which announced only the first part of its 2011-12 season earlier this month, saved a big surprise for Wednesday's announcement of the second half, carried exclusively in the AJC, including "Ghost Brothers" among its final four plays.

They even quoted my site in the article...

That, too, is a surprise if you believe Web sites such as Liljas Library: The World of Stephen King (, which has quoted Mellencamp as saying that Swedish actress Liv Ullmann would helm it.

Mellencamp about Ghost Brothers

Posted: November 14, 2010, 20:40
In a new interview John Mellecamp had this to say about his collaboration with King:

Q: What's the status of this multimedia collaboration between you and author Stephen King, "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County?"

A: We've made a recording of all the songs, including ones sung by Kris Kristofferson, who plays the father; Elvis Costello, who plays the Devil; Rosanne Cash, who's the mother, and Sheryl Crow, who plays a ghost. They sang all the songs and T Bone produced the music.

It's the "Sgt. Pepper's" of Americana music. We did the dialogue and that includes Meg Ryan and Matthew McConaughey. We're putting it all together and are trying to get this staged in Atlanta during the spring or fall of next year. Liv Ullman, who was Ingmar Bergman's muse, will be directing. ...

This is a hell of an undertaking; just getting everybody together to read and sing is like putting kitties in a bag. Steve and I started working on it 10 years ago.

Latest on Ghost Brothers of Darkland County

Posted: July 9, 2010, 21:21
Here are the latest news about Ghost Brothers of Darkland County:

Mellencamp and Stephen King continue to work on their stage musical, "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County." The two recently hired a new director, award-winning actress Liv Ullman, who plans to start revising the script with King in January and work through 2011 on the production. Meanwhile, Burnett has been recording an album of Mellencamp's songs for the project with Kris Kristofferson, Rosanne Cash, Elvis Costello, Ryan Bingham and the Blasters' Phil and Dave Alvin voicing the characters — but not Mellencamp.

"I got fired," he said with a laugh. "Whenever I talk to T-Bone, I go, 'Remember the time you fired me?' He goes, 'I didn't fire you — you quit.' I say, 'No, you fired me, man. I remember.' I'm spotty at best, I guess."

Thanks to Bev Vincent

King and Mellencamp want Liv Ullman

Posted: June 24, 2010, 19:13
Swedish press reports today that Liv Ullmann may soon be employed by King and Mellencamp. In January the final decision about whether she will be directing Ghost Brothers of Darkland County will be taken.

Ullman said it’s not really her world but that King and Mellencamp said she was supposed to be directing it.

They wanted us to work on it during the summer, but I can’t, so I said maybe they should get another director. And they said "absolutely not", and suggested that we should meet in January to make the final decision instead, "said Liv Ullmann, who seems flattered by the request:

- I feel very honored that they chose me. It's incredibly fun.

King comments Ullmann

Posted: March 17, 2010, 22:13
King left this comment on his board today:

Message from Steve re Ghost Brothers of Darkland County
Liv Ullmann? Probably but don't believe it until you see it here. Remember, is the horse's mouth, the rest is just rumor.

Thanks to herbertwest

Liv Ullmann to direct Ghost Brothers

Posted: March 15, 2010, 22:37
The Norwegian actress and director Liv Ullmann is set to direct Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. NRK reports that that Ullmann more or less has agreed to do it and that she feels that both King and Mellencamp represent a new world for her, a world that is a bit frightening. More news to come…

Thanks to Anders Jakobson

Costello interview

Posted: January 22, 2010, 12:40
Here's a part of an interview with Elvis costello from SEE Magazine

SEE: What is “The Shape”?

Elvis: “The Shape” is the name of a character that I’m portraying in a piece which is being constructed. It’s an unusual form. It’s a sort of a radio play, as it were, except it’ll be on record. It’s a collaboration between John Mellencamp and Stephen King, produced by my friend T-Bone Burnett, and a number of singers, some of whom are friends like Roseanne Cash and people that I’ve recently met through Spectacle like Neko Case, Cheryl Crow, likewise, and Kris Kristofferson. There are actually a number of people that have been on Spectacle but that’s purely, completely coincidental. But we happen to be all characters in this story, and “The Shape” is this sort of demonic, satanic I suppose, demonic rather than satanic, the provocateur character that nobody sees but whispers in everybody’s ear. Typecast again. But it’s interesting to do. I think some people got hold of the wrong end of the stick and imagined it was going to be a Broadway musical, but I think it would be pretty tough to imagine all those people showing up for Broadway.

SEE: A little, yeah.

Elvis: But this is another way to do it, I think it’s an interesting way to do it, get people into the studio and record. It’s kind of like a collage almost of dramatic performances, and a lot of the songs are written in character voices. I’ve written a number of songs where I’m not that person that’s singing, there’s even reprehensible characters in songs where I wouldn’t want to be that person. But here I’ve got a little more licence to go a bit further with that, because it’s somebody else’s character that’s been created and I have to sort of try and bring it to life in some way that made sense to me and I hoped that they liked it. People are trying different things. The record company relationship with artists is less dominant than it used to be. People are able to sort of try some different forms without being worried about losing radio play in Idaho. Nobody cares about that anymore. If there’s a good station in Idaho, then they can have a direct conversation with you. If there isn’t, then you’re not losing anything by doing something that’s interesting to you. It’s probably a good idea to give it a try, see what happens.

Thanks to Bev Vincent

Big update on Ghost Brothers...

Posted: December 15, 2009, 21:42
This update was published on King's official site today:

John Mellencamp has virtually completed recording and “assembling” the “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County” musical theater collaboration with Stephen King.

John and King have edited the initial three-hour program down to two hours and 10 minutes—with a bit more editing still to come before producer T-Bone Burnett completes the tracks. When finished, the recording will be available in a novel book package containing the full text, two discs featuring the entire production of the spoken word script and songs performed by the cast, and a third CD of the songs only.

The story involves domestic turmoil, and is played by a stellar cast led by Kris Kristofferson, in the role of Joe, the father, and Elvis Costello, as the satanic character The Shape. Rosanne Cash plays Monique, the mother, with the sons enacted by Will Daily (Frank), Dave Alvin (Jack), Alvin’s real-life brother Phil Alvin (Andy) and John (Drake).

Sheryl Crow stars as Jenna and Neko Case is Anna, with boxing legend Joe Frazier playing caretaker Dan Coker and Stephen King himself in the role of Uncle Steve. The narrator is “24” star Glenn Morshower.

John stressed that the three-disc package is not a traditional audio book, but offers an experience more akin to listening to an old radio show with music; he further emphasized the challenge inherent in making such a project work.

And this was added (together with the text abow) on John's official site.

“It’s hard enough to make a play with music work—even when you can see the actors singing,” he said. “But here we have something that’s become way out of fashion: An audio program that allows the listener the opportunity to use his or her imagination! We live in the video world now, where everything is spoonfed for us and shown to us—so that it’s become quite an effort to fully involve the listener. So we’ve tried to make the listeners part of the process: Their imagination comes into play in the same way they read a book—or the way they listened to records before music videos came along. That’s what makes this so different—holding the listener’s attention while the songs are being sung, while engaging them with the story and dialog. It’s very complicated.”

John characterized the music as “down-home,” with the earthiness and feeling of the acoustic folk-country blues of the 1930s. He hopes to have the book/CD set out before the musical opens next September at Atlanta’s Alliance Theater.

King on Ghost Brothers

Posted: November 15, 2009, 23:33
Here's King's update on the musical:

"It's there ... it's in the editing studio right now. We've got a lot of people from the music world who agreed to do parts – Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Roseanne Cash ... it should be like an old-time radio show and then it's scheduled to go on stage in Atlanta next fall."

Thanks to Bev Vincent

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County alive

Posted: October 27, 2009, 15:02
Ghost Brothers of Darkland County seems to be alive and kicking. This was posted on King's official board today:

It hasn't been dropped, although it won't come out as a stage production--at least not at first. In fact, I think it may be in the post-production stage at the moment. A web site is being developed for the project and as soon as I have any information about it going live, I will pass that along.

No Ghost Brothers?

Posted: September 21, 2009, 22:05
The play/musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County is now on the back burner. It does look like that there will be a CD release next year though that’s supposed to contain "the book," which is simply the text of the proposed musical. Everything but the lyrics. It won't really read like a novel though.

According to Rolling Stone, two of the artists performing on the CD will be Elvis Costello and Neko Case.

Thanks to Bev Vincent

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County CD/book

Posted: June 3, 2009, 01:06
Here is more info about Ghost Brothers of Darkland County:

June 1st, 2009 - The production of the "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County" CD/book package is slated to commence on June 15, when producer T Bone Burnett begins laying down the tracks in Los Angeles for the 18 new songs John [Mellencamp] has written for his musical theater collaboration with Stephen King. King's dialog will later be assembled in John's Belmont Studio.

The cast for the production is still not finalized but will definitely be star-studded. Projected release of the completed project is next January and will be in more than one configuration, with a "deluxe" version to include a book containing the show's full text and song lyrics, a CD featuring the show's dialog and songs, and a second CD with only the songs.

Thanks to Bev Vincent

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County update

Posted: May 14, 2009, 00:40
Good news about Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. As it looks today it will be released in a package containing a book and a CD. This is from John Mellencamps official site:

5) "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County" CD/Book Package: This will involve a recording of the songs and the dialog of John's musical collaboration with Stephen King, with T-Bone Burnett producing and acting as musical director. It won't be a "cast album," but will contain performances by major artists. The book will include the text of the musical-also called the "book" in theater lingo.

If things go as planned, the set will be available prior to the "Ghost Brothers" opening next April at Atlanta's Alliance Theater. In the works for 10 years, the production remains a priority for both John and King, who have become close friends during the intense collaboration.

Remember: None of this is written in stone! Everything is subject to change!

Thanks to Bev Vincent

Ghost Brothers postponed

Posted: May 6, 2008, 10:45
King-Mellencamp musical postponed in Atlanta

ATLANTA (AP) — A musical by John Mellencamp and Stephen King, scheduled to be produced next season in Atlanta, has been postponed, the Alliance Theatre announced Monday.
The Alliance announced in February that "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County," with music by Mellencamp and a book by horror master King, would open in April 2009, with the object of preparing it for a Broadway run.

The Alliance notified subscribers on Monday that the project has been delayed because of "unanticipated scheduling problems which could not be resolved in time for the production."

Members of the creative team "realized the script would not be ready by spring 2009," the statement said.

In the February announcement, the Alliance described the play as "a sultry Southern gothic mystery with a blues-tinged, guitar-driven score." Peter Askin was announced as the director.
The story is set in the fictional town of Lake Belle Reve, Miss., and centers on the deaths in 1957 of two brothers and a young girl and the legend that grows out of the tragedy.

The Alliance said it now hopes to produce the show during its 2009-2010 season.

On the Net: Alliance Theatre.

Thanks to Rocky Wood

Ghost Brothers premier

Posted: March 1, 2008, 00:43

Alliance Theatre has released the following info about Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. It will run April 15 - May 10, 2009:

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County
A haunted cabin. A late night jump off lover’s leap. A chilling new musical.

In 1957, in the tiny town of Lake Belle Reve, Mississippi, a terrible tragedy took the lives of two brothers and a beautiful young girl. During the next forty years, the events of that night became a local legend. But legend is often just another word for lie. Joe McCandless knows what really happened; he saw it all. The question is whether or not he can bring himself to tell the truth in order to save his own troubled sons, and whether the ghosts left behind by an act of violence will help him...or tear the McCandless family apart forever. Stephen King’s script brings the power of suspense and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp brings a gritty rock and zydeco score to this World Premiere musical that’s certain to send chills up your spine.

Why We Love This Play
Ghost Brothers of Darkland County is a sultry Southern gothic mystery, with a blues-tinged guitar-driven score. It’s a great story of family tension and secrets, a gripping mystery and a traditional ghost story. Since Aida, our Alliance has participated in the development of some of the most exciting and heartfelt new American musicals. Our audience has a reputation for an adventurous spirit and support for new work, embracing the excitement of developing theatre, a reputation that drew the remarkable creative team of this new musical to Atlanta.

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County in 2009

Posted: February 27, 2008, 08:02
will premier in April/May 2009:

Mellencamp, Stephen King will debut scary musical at Alliance

The king of goosebumps and a soon-to-be Rock and Roll Hall of Famer are creating a new musical that will debut at the Alliance Theatre.

Mystery writer Stephen King and Grammy Award-winning pop-music legend John Mellencamp, both newcomers to theater, will unveil the world premiere of "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County" in April and May of next year, the Alliance has announced.

"It is John Mellencamp's musical style and it's Stephen King's gothic style, and I just thought it was too cool to pass up," Alliance artistic director Susan V. Booth says.

Set in 1957, "Ghost Brothers" centers on a simmering 40-year-old legend about the strange deaths of two brothers and a beautiful young girl in the fictional town of Lake Belle Reve, Miss.

Booth says it's too soon to say if the show will transfer to Broadway but that commercial producers will be charting the musical's progress. In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Mellencamp said, "If it goes well in Atlanta, then we'll come to Broadway. If it don't go well in Atlanta, we're done."

Mellencamp, who has been working on the piece for eight years, is to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 10.

Booth said the idea for "Ghost Brothers" came from a story Mellencamp heard as a youth in his hometown of Seymour, Ind. When the writer of hits "Jack and Diane" and "Hurts So Good" decided to turn the material into a musical, he realized he needed a book writer.

At that point, Booth says, Mellencamp thought: "Wait, it's a ghost story. Who's the best ghost story writer there is? So his people talked to Stephen King's people, and now they are buddies and they have written this musical together."

Booth describes the show as "a theatrical piece with music." There will be a live band onstage, and New York director Peter Askin will direct. Askin's credits include Eve Ensler's "The Good Body" and John Leguizamo's "Sexaholix" on Broadway and John Cameron Mitchell's "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" off-Broadway.

"John and Stephen have the kinds of names and reputations that are going to attract people's curiosity," Askin says, "and the fact that they have not worked in theater before is an interesting thing."

He describes the musical style as zydeco. "It's Southern and it's kind of country."

"Ghost Brothers" will join an impressive list of new musicals to play the Alliance since Booth arrived in 2001. "The Color Purple," "Sister Act: The Musical" and "The Women of Brewster Place" have all helped put the Alliance on the national map. Last year, the Alliance won the regional Tony Award for sustained excellence.

The Alliance is expected to announce the rest of its 2008-2009 season this week.

Thanks to Bev Vincent

Mellencamp talks Ghosts

Posted: February 1, 2008, 21:06
Here is an interview with John Mellencamp from Rolling Stone:

RS: Can we have an update on the Stephen King project [the "play with music" The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County]?

JM: We have another workshop in New York coming up, and from there it goes into production in Atlanta, Georgia next spring. And then if it goes well in Atlanta, then we'll come to Broadway. If it don't go well in Atlanta, we're done.

RS: What can you tell me about working with Stephen?

JM: Oh, I love Steve. Steve is nothing like everybody thinks he is. Steve and I really have a lot in common. He lives in the middle of nowhere. I live in the middle of nowhere. He's not comfortable being around a lot of people. I'm not comfortable. We just have a — you know, we're kinda antisocial guys, and, of course, we're bigmouths.

RS: How did working in this new medium, the play, challenge you both?

JM: Steve is not used to a live performance. I am. So whenever the stage goes dark, he's pumped up, man. He's excited. Somebody came and watched the last reading that we had in New York and reviewed it. The review said this is a musical that men will enjoy. Unheard of, the guy said.

Thanks to Bev Vincent

The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County

Posted: January 25, 2007, 00:32
Mellencamp talks about The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County:

Mellencamp will also spend time with author Stephen King polishing "The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County," the "play with music" that they've been working on for the past several years. The two got together in November to continue putting it together, and Mellencamp says "that's really another reason why I'm not gonna be on tour this summer, 'cause I'm pretty sure I'm gonna be ... working on this musical," including meeting with potential producers and investors.

"Steve is the sweetest guy you could ever meet; there's nothing weird about him or demonic or anything like that," Mellencamp says. "I remember once we were playing in Green Bay, Wisc., and he came out and played acoustic guitar on a song. I went back to get him, and his hands were shaking. I said, 'You gotta be sh*tting me -- the man who scared the world is scared to walk out in front of 10,000 people?!' He said, 'Yeah, I'm f*cking afraid!' I said, 'Get your ass out there!' He's just the sweetest guy, and he's great to work with."

Thanks to Bev Vincent

John Mellencamp comments on The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County

Posted: March 29, 2006, 08:41
Here is what the article says:

As for his long-in-the-works collaboration with author Stephen King on the musical "The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County," Mellencamp says a director is still being sought for the project.

"What we will do is take it to Chicago or the equivalent and workshop it -- get the kinks out before we try to take it to Broadway," Mellencamp told the Herald-Times. "Elton John opened his musical in San Francisco, and it lasted all of seven days before they closed it down and decided to rework it. When we hit Broadway, we want it ready from day one."

Thanks to Bev Vincent

Latest on Ghost Brothers

Posted: January 5, 2006, 00:27
Here is the latest news about The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. It's not much but it's nice to see that they are making progress.

Thanks to Rocky Wood and Ed Yarb.

Mellencamp talks Ghost Brothers

Posted: October 17, 2005, 12:54
John Mellencamp talks The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.

Most pressing, however, are plans to finish his collaboration with King for the musical drama, "The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County."

"You can't believe the s-- we're going through, dealing with everything," Mellencamp said. "The same guys who did (the Monty Python-influenced) 'Spamalot' are involved now and hopefully it's going to become less hectic. This is not like painting. Now there's like 40,000 people involved."

Death and reconciliation are major themes in the King-Mellencamp collaboration. As he explained to Billboard recently, King's story involves two young men, brothers, who dislike each other immensely. Their father takes them to their family vacation cabin, where, a generation before them, the father's two older brothers killed each other in a similar sibling rivalry.

"There's a confederacy of ghosts who also live in this house," Mellencamp told Billboard. "The older (dead) brothers are there, and they speak to the audience, and they sing to the audience. That's all I want to say, except through this family vacation, many things are learned about the family, and many interesting songs are sung."

Several months ago during an interview at his Brown County recording studio, Mellencamp excitedly played a couple of the songs from the show.

"Some of the songs were written four or five years ago. I was shooting in the dark then. Now I know exactly where we're going and I've got a lot of work in front of me."

Thanks to Rocky Wood.

Mellencamp, King Going Back To Work On Play

Posted: October 1, 2005, 13:17
Mellencamp, King Going Back To Work On Play
By Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

John Mellencamp will spend the bulk of November working in New York with Stephen King on their long-gestating play with music, "The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County." Details of the project was first revealed by Billboard in the fall of 2000.

Mellencamp previously said the play is about "two brothers; they're 19 years old or 20, maybe 18 or 21, who are very competitive and dislike each other immensely. The father takes them to the family vacation place, a cabin that the boys hadn't been to since they were kids."

"What has happened is that the father had two older brothers who hated each other and killed each other in that cabin," he continued. "There's a confederacy of ghosts who also live in this house. The older [dead] brothers are there, and they speak to the audience, and they sing to the audience. That's all I want to say, except through this family vacation, many things are learned about the family, and many interesting songs are sung."

Having just concluded a summer tour with John Fogerty and the 20th annual Farm Aid benefit, Mellencamp will perform Oct. 29 at Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit in Mountain View, Calif. Two additional benefit shows in New York are in the works for November, but details have yet to be announced.

Meanwhile, Mellencamp's paintings will on display from Nov. 18-Jan. 7 at Indiana University's Herron School of Art in Indianapolis.

Update on The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County

Posted: September 7, 2005, 20:10
Here is an update on The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.

His two current concerns, however, are a showing of his paintings coming up in November and a Broadway production he's been working on for years with horror writer Stephen King.

"We're trying to get to the stage in the next year. That's really what my focus had been," he says. "We had our first read-through about three months ago in New York. We're going to have another read-through before the first of the year. And then hopefully make some final changes, put it out and see if we can get it made."

As the pairing might suggest, fans shouldn't expect the typical Broadway production.

"The musical takes place in the present day but also in 1948, '49 and 1950. It takes place in Mississippi," he says. "I'm able to write a lot of blues songs, a lot of zydeco-type material. The songs aren't traditional Broadway songs. Steve and I hope we're making something for Broadway that they've never seen before. It's a dramatic show with music."

Both have long had an affinity for the era of music from the '30s to the '60s.

"The best music ever made, as far as rock and blues and folk, came from that era. Songs that Robert Johnson had written, songs that Bob Dylan was just starting to write," Mellencamp says. "There was so much a wealth of material in that society and culture and time period.

"As time went on and people got involved with record companies and radio stations and yakkity yak - the further we got away from the originals, the worse it got."

Thanks to Rocky Wood.

Live run-through of The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County

Posted: June 25, 2005, 08:30
Here is an interesting article about a live run-through done last month for the King-Mellencamp collaboration The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County:

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.

Update on The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County

Posted: June 7, 2005, 11:16
Here is an update about The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County:

After a busy summer apart, rocker John Mellencamp and author Stephen King plan to plow forward with their stage musical later this year.

The two have been working on The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County for several years. They recently held a read-through in New York City, which Mellencamp called the most exciting thing that I have done in my career since somebody called me up in the early '80s and said I had a No. 1 album.

But changes will have to wait until fall.

I've got to do these shows this summer (and) Steve is finishing a book, says Mellencamp, who's written more than 20 songs for the musical. We're going to reconvene in the fall, make some changes and make it our job until we see it on the stage.

Thanks to Bev Vincent.

The Ghosts of Darkland County

Posted: April 11, 2005, 14:45
Here is more info about King and Mellencamp's collaboration, The Ghosts of Darkland County.

Once his mostly-Midwestern tour is done in mid-April, Mellencamp will be making a trip to a different center stage. For the past several years, he’s been collaborating with horror author Stephen King on a stage musical, “The Ghosts of Darkland County.”

Mellencamp has 17 songs

written for the show. King has a 110-page script penned.

Combine, he said, it should come out to be about a 5 1/2-hour show.

“No matter how damn entertaining you think Steve is or I am, that’s long,” he said with a laugh, realizing second and third drafts and edits are in order. “Steve and I are making this up as we go along. Neither of us have done anything like this before.”

Mellencamp’s written songs styles for the musical in styles ranging from jazz to blues to bluegrass to country to zydeco, many of which he thinks are out of character for him.

“I’m able to write songs that wouldn’t be expected of me if I put it on one of my records,” he said. “In a musical, it’s a whole different base, different situation. They aren’t rock songs, they aren’t pop songs.”

Thanks to Rocky Wood.

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County is the latest title

Posted: April 5, 2005, 17:01
Some info about King and Mellencamp's collaboration has been released. The projects last title is Ghost Brothers of Darkland County but it seams to change quite a lot...

The rocker's next project is a theater piece, "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County," with novelist and screenwriter King.

"It's our dramatic play with music; I don't want to call it a musical," he said of the vehicle that has been four years in the making. "He's got a hundred pages of dialogue, and I've got 15 songs. Add all that up and, 'So far, Steve, we've got about five hours worth of play.' We have to figure how to cut it all down. We're having our first run-through in New York with actors and actresses to see what the hell it looks like."

Much of the play takes place in the 1940s in Louisiana and Mississippi, so Mellencamp has been writing blues, Cajun, zydeco and jazz tunes -- but no rock.

"If anyone's got the crazy idea that this is 'Jack and Diane' meets 'Cujo,' they're nuts," the Indiana rocker said.

Thanks to Bev Vincent.

Article about Ghost Brothers

Posted: February 21, 2005, 09:12

Mellencamp, author King collaborate on musical

Even though John Mellencamp is prepping for his first tour in three years, he's managed to carve out a little time for Stephen King.

Not a Stephen King novel, mind you, but the man himself.

What started out as a conversation between old friends has morphed into plans for a full-blown musical theater production.

Mellencamp has known King since both men were first forging their respective careers. He pitched his story idea to his friend years ago. Mellencamp developed the story but knew it was too long for a song.

The tale, set in the 1940s, revolved around a family facing the residual effects of a long-ago murder between brothers.

King took the story idea and set to work.

What Mellencamp got back was a fully evolved tale of Americana with his own story now a mere portion of a greater vision.

"I had a short story, and he turned it into a novel. Now, it's very involved," he said. "Steve is a great storyteller."

Mellencamp says the story stays away from the horror genre, leaning more toward the mystical, not unlike King's "The Green Mile."

"It's not ‘Cujo' meets ‘Jack & Diane,'" Mellencamp jokes.

Set in Louisiana, the production has allowed Mellencamp to explore zydeco, folk and jazz musical styles. "It gives me a chance to not write John Mellencamp songs."

He sees the play as having a Tennessee Williams feel.

With a first official reading set for March, Mellencamp has expectations for his little side project — high expectations.

"We will have it on Broadway," he says.

Of course, before Mellencamp can bring his musical to Broadway's New York audiences, he'll bring his music to the masses with his "Words and Music" tour, kicking off March 23.

Mississippi Ghost Brothers is the real title

Posted: November 14, 2004, 12:56
I got the correct title for the collaboration between King and Mellencamp and it was Mississippi Ghost Brothers. The full quote from Mellencamp from Rolling Stone is:

“Right now, he’s preparing for another tour and working on blues and Cajun songs for Mississippi Ghost Brothers.

A stage musical he’s writing with Stephen King. In it, a quarreling Southern Family goes on vacation to the haunted cabin where two uncles killed each other; it’s set in the present day and in the 1940’s.” .

Thanks to John Palisano.


Posted: November 11, 2004, 18:20
In a recent article about Mellencamp or about the collaboration between King and Mellencamp (or something like that) a title for their collaboration was mentioned and it was Ghostbrothers (all one word). It remains to be seen if that will be the final title though.

Thanks to Justin Brooks.

John Mellencamp talks musical

Posted: September 3, 2003, 10:07
"In a recent AP interview, John Mellencamp talked a teeny bit about the musical he's writing with Stephen King.

What will the musical you're writing with Stephen King be like? MELLENCAMP: (Laughing) I can tell what it's not going to be like: It won't be "Jack and Diane" meets "Cujo." He's already written the story -- it's very beautiful, more like "The Green Mile." It's an American story about an American family. Some of the characters are 100 years old, some are 15. So that will give me the opportunity to write for each character in a different style. I ain't writing a bunch of rock songs"

Thanks to Jonathan Reitan.

John Mellencamp interview

Posted: July 15, 2002, 11:27
John Mellencamp recently did an interview and in the introduction the following can be read:

Mellencamp, who co-founded the Farm Aid benefit concerts with Willie Nelson and Neil Young in 1985, is now working on a project with best-selling author Stephen King. King is writing the book, Mellencamp the music for a theatre presentation about an American family.

This isn't 100% correct though. King is NOT writing a book, only the play. There aren't any plans for a book.

Here are the two questions that concerns King:

Q: Peaceful World took on a new resonance for listeners, obviously, after Sept. 11. Have the events affected your writing since then?

Mellencamp: I haven't written since then, except for a few small smatterings for a musical I'm working on with Steve King. As you may or may not know, Peaceful World was written a few years before Sept. 11. I think all songs that are not just pop throwaways would take on a new meaning after such a tragedy.

Q: What's it like collaborating with Stephen King? Can you tell us any more about the project? And I hear King has his own rock band -- you ever give him any lessons?

Mellencamp: Steve is an honest gentleman, a person of integrity, and has written a beautiful story. Hopefully, we can complete this project before this time next year. But he is busy and so am I. And as far as his rock band goes, well -- I tuned his guitar once and Steve certainly looks cool.

Ghost-story musical

Posted: November 2, 2001, 20:12
Jonathan over at STEPHEN KING COLLECTORS sent me the following:

The following short article, "The Sing of Horror" comes from the November/December 2001 "Pages" magazine:

"John Mellencamp and Stephen King are continuing to develop their ghost-story musical, which is expected to open in the spring of 2002. Mellencamp says he hopes to see the as-yet-unnamed musical on Broadway--someday. The rocker and the writer will finalize the project some time in Febuary. Mellencamp, who's writing 15 songs for the show, calls King's script "the most beautiful story."

King will finish musical in February

Posted: August 7, 2001, 12:36
According to John Mellencamp he and King will finish the musical that they have been working on in February:

Tuesday August 7 9:09 AM ET
Mellencamp, King Work on Musical

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - John Mellencamp and fiction writer Stephen King expect to complete the musical they're working on sometime in February.

Mellencamp said the two plan to meet in February to finish the musical, which he termed "an American story."

"Steve has written the most beautiful story," he said. "I've written about five songs for this thing and there's not one rock song anywhere near it."

Mellencamp said he still has about 10 songs to write for the production.

"If this works like we think it's going to, it'll be great," he said.

Thanks to Bob Ireland

King and Mellencamp's musical ready in late 2001?

Posted: November 1, 2000, 19:20
Monday,October 30,2000

Broadway is about to become the Great Fright Way, thanks to Stephen King, who's penning a new horror musical.

The best-selling author has joined forces with rock singer John Mellencamp to write a macabre rock opera that will feature a haunted house and rapping ghosts.

The show - based on an idea by Mellencamp - is about two brothers with a strong, mutual hatred.

Tempers reach the boiling point when their father takes them for a visit to an old cabin they have not visited since they were young kids.

In an eerie twist, it emerges that their father had two older brothers who not only loathed each other, but killed one another while staying in the same cabin years earlier.

The ghosts that inhabit the cabin sing in a variety of musical styles, from rap to rock to country.

Mellencamp says he plans to cover "any type of music that Americans have invented. Our goal is to end up on Broadway."

King has already written a synopsis of the show and won over financial backers. He has also convinced Mellencamp to look past the horror meister's dubious track record in musical theater.

In 1988, the Broadway show of King's 1974 novel, "Carrie" - about a girl with supernatural powers - closed after just five performances. It lost close to $7.5 million.

King's latest venture comes 16 months after he was nearly killed in Maine when he was run down on the side of a road. The author of "The Dead Zone, "The Green Mile" and "Bag of Bones," King is currently riding high with "The Plant," the world's first successful "e-novel."

Mellencamp - who used to go by the name of John Cougar - has had more than a dozen Top 10 hits, including "Jack and Diane," "I Need a Lover" and "Authority Song."

The duo's Broadway show could be ready for the fall 2001 season.

King and Mellencamp is developing a Musical

Posted: October 23, 2000, 19:07
Exclusive: Mellencamp, Stephen King Developing Musical

Two of pop culture's biggest names -- Stephen King and John Mellencamp -- are uniting to write a musical, and naturally, it's a ghost story. "Our goal is someday to end up on Broadway," Mellencamp tells Billboard. "We're not going to take it straight to Broadway." The artist knows he and King are bound to make mistakes along the way, "but that's part of the fun of it. See, that's the great thing about this for Steve and I both; we don't really have to do this."

The untitled work was Mellencamp's idea, but King, one of the top-selling authors of all time, quickly agreed to work with the singer, whom he's long admired. "I'm like everyone else, I think he's great," says King. "He's from the Midwest; he's got a nice, sort of 'common people' thing."

For King, the story was appealing. "I was in Florida, so John came down and told me the plot," he says. "It was kind of a ghostly thing, which is why he thought of me, I guess. I liked the story."

The play, according to Mellencamp, is about "two brothers; they're 19 years old or 20, maybe 18 or 21, who are very competitive and dislike each other immensely. The father takes them to the family vacation place, a cabin that the boys hadn't been to since they were kids."

"What has happened is that the father had two older brothers who hated each other and killed each other in that cabin," says Mellencamp. "There's a confederacy of ghosts who also live in this house. The older [dead] brothers are there, and they speak to the audience, and they sing to the audience. That's all I want to say, except through this family vacation, many things are learned about the family, and many interesting songs are sung."

Mellencamp says he's written four songs already for the project, including tracks called "My Name Is Joe" and "You Don't Know Me." Each song is written with the character's personality and age in mind. "I plan to have every person sing from their generation," he says. "This is what I'm thinking right now, but it may not work out this way. When the 18-year-old sings, he'll be rapping at you. When the people in their 70s are singing, they'll be singing in the style of Broadway or the style of Sinatra or country. I intend to cover any type of music that Americans have invented."

While the road is littered with unsuccessful musicals by pop artists, both Mellencamp and King are adopting a "why not?" attitude. "We talked about [Paul Simon's] 'Capeman.' John and I both agree that maybe it didn't work, but that this might," says King. "That's really part of my attraction about working with him. He has a lot of courage and ability to go in there and say, 'This isn't supposed to work, but we're going to do it anyway.'"

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