By Elysa Gardner, USA TODAY
"Southern Gothic, supernatural" musical coming to a city near you, in concert form.
John Mellencamp, Stephen King and T Bone Burnett have opted for a novel approach to getting their new musical more exposure. They are taking the show, Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, on the road — as a concert.
It's not unusual for a popular musical to be staged as a concert, and national tours of Broadway shows happen all the time. But Ghost Brothers, which premiered in spring 2012 at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre — with Mellencamp's music and lyrics, King's book and musical direction by Burnett — may have seemed a likelier candidate for further development in another full-out stage production, perhaps with an eye on Broadway.
Instead, a cast of 15 troupers and a live band will perform the show at concert venues in 20 cities throughout the Midwest and Southeast, kicking off at Bloomington, Ind., Oct. 10 and wrapping up Nov. 6 in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Described as a "Southern Gothic, supernatural musical," Ghost Brothers uses folk and blues textures to spin a "tale of fraternal love, lust, rivalry and revenge." In it, the spirits of two siblings who died around the same time — while fighting over a girl — haunt a cabin in Mississippi where their kid brother, now a middle-aged man, lives with his two young adult sons, whose relationship is as fraught as their late uncles' was.
As previously announced, an album of Ghost Brothers will also be released June 4, produced by Burnett and featuring Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Rosanne Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Ryan Bingham and others singing songs from the musical, with Matthew McConaughey, Samantha Mathis and Meg Ryan speaking excerpts of dialogue.
Tickets for the tour go on sale May 17 (10 a.m. local times) at aeglive.com, where a complete tour itinerary is also available.