AEG Live announced today the southern gothic, supernatural musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County will tour across North America this Fall. Written by best-selling author Stephen King, with music by Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp, and musical direction by Grammy Award-winning T-Bone Burnett, the tour kicks off right outside Bangor, ME at the Collins Center For The Arts in Orono, ME, on November 8, travelling through cities such as Toronto, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles before wrapping in San Francisco on December 5. Tickets for the performances go on sale June 20 at www.axs.com unless otherwise noted.
This extraordinary collaboration 16 years in the making is a haunting tale of fraternal love, lust, jealousy and revenge, performed by an ensemble cast of 15 actors and a four-piece live band, comprised of members of John Mellencamp’s band. The staging of Ghost Brothers is an amalgam of different styles – both old fashioned, resembling an old-style radio show, and yet, modern and unique in its interactive use of storytelling, music and singing to move the macabre Ghost Brothers story forward.
The story goes that Joe McCandless saw his two older brothers battle over a girl which ended in the unfortunate deaths of all three. Now with Joe as an adult and two boys of his own, he’s watching an all too familiar scenario play out before his eyes. As the story continues, a malevolent Shape circles the stage, singing about heaven and hell. Joe McCandless lingers in the dream-land café, remembering the events of his life, and is urged to action by the friendly bartender. In 2007, he goes to his family cabin in Darkland County, Mississippi, where his brothers died in 1967, to tell his own sons Frank and Drake his tale of brotherly love gone sour. With his sons at each other’s throats, Joe’s story will either save or destroy the McCandless family. Will Joe bring himself to tell the truth in time to save his own sons? Find out whether the ghosts left behind will help him—or tear the McCandless family apart forever.
After Mellencamp brought the story idea to King and the musical developed, it became clear to the collaborators that Ghost Brothers had taken them into unfamiliar territory — and they liked it that way. “John can make rock & roll records and I can write books for the rest of our lives,” says King, “but that’s the safe way to do it, and that’s no way to live if you want to stay creative. We were willing to be educated, and at our age, that’s an accomplishment.” Eventually they enlisted T-Bone Burnett, who has produced Mellencamp’s last two albums, as well as Grammy-winning albums like “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and the Robert Plant-Alison Krauss collaboration “Raising Sand”, to bring his signature shadowy ambience to the music.
Throughout the production, the eerie blues ‘n’ roots music reveals the inner workings of the characters as opposed to just propelling the play’s narrative, with the only a few songs directly advancing the plot. Acclaimed director Susan Booth, the Jennings Hertz Artistic Director, who calls the musical a “a kind of new age travelling medicine show” explains, “I want the emphasis to be on this fantastic score and our great singers and how the story advances us from song to song. In most musicals, the songs advance the narrative. With Ghost Brothers, the story will advance the songs.”
For ticketing information, please visit aeglive.com or http://www.ghostbrothersofdarklandcounty.com/.
NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES
Nov 8 Orono, ME Collins Center For The Arts
Nov 9 Orono, ME Collins Center For The Arts
Nov 11 Toronto, ON Massey Hall
Nov 13 Philadelphia, PA Merriam Theatre*
Nov 14 Durham, NC Durham Performing Arts Center
Nov 15 Washington, DC Warner Theatre
Nov 16 Baltimore, MD The Modell Performing Arts Center at the LYRIC
Nov 18 Red Bank, NJ Count Basie Theatre
Nov 20 Portland, ME Merrill Auditorium
Nov 21 Boston, MA Emerson Colonial Theatre
Nov 22 Providence, RI The VETS*
Nov 24 New York, NY Beacon Theatre
Nov 26 Detroit, MI Fisher Theatre
Nov 28 Chicago, IL Broadway in Chicago’s Oriental Theatre
Nov 29 St. Louis, MO Peabody Opera House
Dec 1 Denver, CO Temple Hoyne Buell Theatre
Dec 3 Phoenix, AZ Orpheum Theatre
Dec 4 Los Angeles, CA Saban Theatre
Dec 5 San Francisco, CA SHN Curran Theatre