Indianapolis Star: Company For Mellencamp-King Show Readies For Opening Night

By David Lindquist - Indianapolis Star

Article includes Photo Gallery

Bruce Greenwood, an actor known for performances in “Flight,” “Thirteen Days” and J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” films, says the idea of being in a rock band always appealed to him.

Greenwood gets his chance to sing with world-class musicians in “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County,” the theatrical production dreamed up by John Mellencamp and Stephen King.

Members of Mellencamp’s band — guitarist Andy York, drummer Dane Clark, bass player Jon Gunnell and keyboard player Troye Kinnett — accompany Greenwood on songs such as “What Kind of Man Am I.”

“It’s heavy lifting for a guy who’s used to being in movies,” Greenwood said Tuesday at IU Auditorium, where the “Ghost Brothers” company rehearsed for a tour that begins Thursday at the venue. “But it’s been fun, so far.”

Greenwood’s character, Joe McCandless, is tormented by the decades-ago deaths of his feuding older brothers. Meanwhile, his two sons seem to hate one another.

“He’s been suppressing a secret for 40 years, and it’s crushed his ability to deal with the world,” Greenwood said of Joe.

“Ghost Brothers” director Susan V. Booth described the production, which will visit Butler University’s Clowes Hall on Oct. 18, as “a live radio play” rather than a conventional Broadway musical.

“This format is kind of perfect for a Steve King book and a John Mellencamp score,” Booth said. “It allows us to fully hit every note of the score with John’s band backing us. It also allows us to sit and listen to Steve’s words and plug our imagination in, rather than having the work done for us by a fully staged production.”

Mellencamp and King attended Tuesday’s rehearsal, which included Mellencamp’s girlfriend, actress Meg Ryan, in the audience.