By Sandra Okamoto Atlanta Ledger -Enquirer
The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta announced the casting of "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County." This new musical is written by Stephen King, with music and lyrics by John Mellencamp and musical direction by T Bone Burnett.
Tony Award-winning actor Shuler Hensley ("Oklahoma!," "Young Frankenstein" and "Tarzan") and Tony nominee Emily Skinner ("Billy Elliott: The Musical," "The Full Monty" and "Side Show") are the leads in the show. The cast includes blues musician and film actor Jake La Botz; Broadway star and recording artist Justin Guarini ("Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown," "American Idiot" and first runner-up in the first season of "American Idol"); actor and writer Lucas Kavner; actor and songwriter Kate Ferber ("One Child Born: The Music of Laura Nyro"); stage and screen actor Christopher Morgan; and country music singer Dale Watson. Other cast members include Peter Albrink, Kylie Brown, Lori Beth Edgeman, Gwen Hughes, Joe Jung, Joe Knezevich, Rob Lawhon, Royce Mann, and Travis Smith.
It will be directed by Susan V. Booth, artistic director of the Alliance. Tony Award-winning scenic designer Todd Rosenthal ("August: Osage County") will design the set. Others on the creative team include choreographer Daniel Pelzig ("33 Variations"), costume designer Susan E. Mickey, Tony Award-nominated lighting designer Robert Wierzel ("Fela!"), media designer Adam Larsen and sound designer Clay Benning.
“It’s a pretty extraordinary thing when you get to offer an artistic home to Stephen King, John Mellencamp and T Bone Burnett," said Booth in a statement. "This piece is dear to these gents’ hearts and I’m thrilled we’re able to bring it to life at the Alliance Theatre.”
The cast will be in the Alliance Theatre on Dec. 5 to start a 10-day developmental workshop.
Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. April 4-5, April 10, April 12, April 17-19, April 24-26, May 1-3, May 8-10; 8 p.m. April 6-7, April 11, April 13, April 20, April 27, May 4, May 11; 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. April 8, April 15, April 22, April 29, May 6, May 13; 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. April 14, April 21, April 28, May 5 and May 12. "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County" is a Southern gothic story about mystery, tragedy and ghosts of the past. Tickets are $45-$85. Some performances are sold out.
Ghost Brothers of Darkland County Musical to Star Shuler Hensley, Emily Skinner and Justin Guarini
By Adam Hetrick Playbill.com
Tony Award winner Shuler Hensley, Tony nominee Emily Skinner and Justin Guarini will be part of the world-premiere production of Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, the new musical thriller by horror writer Stephen King and Grammy Award-winning musician John Mellencamp.
Ghost Brothers will debut at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre April 4, 2012, under the direction of artistic director Susan V. Booth. Performances are scheduled through May 13, 2012. The musical's blues-tinged score is by Mellencamp. "Carrie," "Misery" and "The Shining" novelist King authored the book. T Bone Burnett will musical direct.
Joining Hensley (Young Frankenstein, Oklahoma, Sweet and Sad), Skinner (Billy Elliot, Side Show, James Joyce's The Dead) and Guarini ("American Idol," Women on the Verge…) are blues musician and actor Jake La Botz, Lucas Kavner (Completeness, The Blue Flower), Kate Ferber (One Child Born: the Music of Laura Nyro), Christopher Morgan (Gut Bucket Blues) and country musician Dale Watson.
Completing the cast are Peter Albrink, Kylie Brown, Lori Beth Edgeman, Gwen Hughes, Joe Jung, Joe Knezevich, Rob Lawhon, Royce Mann and Travis Smith.
The cast will gather in Atlanta this December to participate in a ten-day workshop of the material.
Here's how the work is billed: "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."
Ghost Brothers will have scenic design by Todd Rosenthal, choreography by Daniel Pelzig, costume design by Susan E. Mickey, lighting design by Robert Wierzel, media design by Adam Larsen and sound design by Clay Benning.
The musical was previously announced as part of the Atlanta theatre company's 2008-2009 season, but was postponed. Musical director Burnett was also involved in a three-CD recording of Ghost Brothers. The yet-to-be-released album was reportedly produced like a radio play, with a full book of text, as well as two CDs that include all dialogue and songs and a third CD with only the music. A release date has not been announced.
Atlanta audiences won't be the only theatregoers to catch a musical with ties to King. MCC Theater is also presenting a revised version of the 1980's pop musical Carrie, based on King's novel, which will debut in winter 2012 Off-Broadway.
For tickets phone (404) 733-5000 or visit AllianceTheatre.
Shuler Hensley to lead King-Mellencamp ‘Ghost Brothers’ cast at Alliance
By Howard Pousner - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Broadway favorite and Marietta native Shuler Hensley and Emily Skinner (a Tony nominee for "Side Show") will lead the cast of the Stephen King-John Mellencamp musical "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County," the Alliance Theatre announced Wednesday.
Also cast: blues musician/film actor Jake La Botz, former Atlantan and "American Idol" runnerup Justin Guarini, country music singer Dale Watson, actor-writer Lucas Kavner; actor-songwriter Kate Ferber ("One Child Born: the Music of Laura Nyro") and stage-screen actor Christopher Morgan.
Additional cast members include Peter Albrink, Kylie Brown, Lori Beth Edgeman, Gwen Hughes, Joe Jung, Joe Knezevich, Rob Lawhon, Royce Mann and Travis Smith.
Performances of the world premiere, directed by Alliance artistic director Susan V. Booth and with music direction by T Bone Burnett, begin April 4.
At an Alliance season announcement event in May, King described "Ghost Brothers'" plot as being about two teen brothers who drank too much at a dance, drove to the cabin with a girl and drank some more, then had a gun accident that led to a fatal wreck in a car speeding to the hospital. As in most King tales, the deaths are merely part of the creepy backdrop in a dissection of the flaws of human relations.
King recalled Mellencamp approaching him more than a decade ago to collaborate on the chilling story the singer had heard after visiting an Indiana lakeside cabin he was thinking about buying.
Asked if the story were true, King replied: "John Ford in ‘Liberty Valance' said, ‘If they give you truth and legend, print the legend.' We printed the legend. I don't know how much of it's true. You know what? There's a story like that about every house, every hotel."
In Wednesday's casting announcement, director Booth said, "It’s a pretty extraordinary thing when you get to offer an artistic home to Stephen King, John Mellencamp and T Bone Burnett. This piece is dear to these gents’ hearts and I’m thrilled we’re able to bring it to life at the Alliance Theatre."