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Ghost Brothers of Darkland County
Music John Mellencamp
Lyrics John Mellencamp
Book Stephen King
Productions 2010 Atlanta, Georgia

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County is an upcoming musical written by novelist Stephen King with original music written by rock musician John Mellencamp. A book including a CD recording of the songs should be published prior to it opening in Atlanta in September 2010.



The project was first announced by Billboard in 2000. At that time, the title was Mississippi Ghost Brothers. According to King, Mellencamp came up with the plot.

In August 2001, it was reported by the Associated Press that the musical would be finished by February 2002.

In 2005, Mellencamp said in an interview, "He's got a hundred pages of dialogue, and I've got 15 songs. 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."

The play was profiled in Playbill in January 2006.

The musical was set to premiere at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia from April 15 through May 10, 2009, but a problem with the script delayed things and the musical is now set to debut at the Alliance in September 2010.


Regarding the plot, Mellencamp says, "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."

In a later interview he said, "[It's 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 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."

The play takes place in the fictional town of Lake Belle Reve, Missisippi. According to Mellencamp, the play will have a Tennessee Williams feel.


According to interviews, Mellencamp has written about 20 songs for the production. The ones that have been mentioned by name are: "You Don't Know Me," "My Name Is Joe," and "Tear This Cabin Down."

Mellencamp said, "I plan to have every person sing from their generation. 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 Frank Sinatra or country. I intend to cover any type of music that Americans have invented."

Ryan D'Agostino of Esquire Magazine sat in on a New York rehearsal of Ghost Brothers of Darkland County in the fall of 2007 and had this to say in his review: "Musicals aren't usually a guy thing. This one, though, is not only tolerable, it's good. It may be the first-ever musical written by men for men. There's no orchestra, just two twangy acoustic guitars, an accordion, and a fiddle. The songs are both haunting and all-American."[1]

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County
Soundtrack by Various
Released Spring/Summer 2010
Recorded June 2009
Genre Rock, folk
Language English
Producer T Bone Burnett

Album release

The plan is to release a three-CD/book package featuring major artists performing Mellencamp's songs, and the book will contain the play's dialouge.[2] According to Rolling Stone, two of those artists will be Elvis Costello and Neko Case [3]. It was later announced that Kris Kristofferson, Sheryl Crow, and Roseanne Cash will also contribute. The album will be produced by T-Bone Burnett.

Production of this project began in June 2009 and, according to Mellencamp's website, the album will be available before the play opens in September 2010. It will be available as a book with a 3-CD set (two CDs containing the entire production and another with just the songs).

Mellencamp has compared the CD version as being akin to "an old radio show with music" [4].


Cast [5]


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External links


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