John Mellencamp often talks about his music in an aw-shucks, self-deprecating manner, but he's not hiding his pride when it comes to Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, the Southern gothic musical he and author Stephen King have been tinkering with for 12 years.
"I think it's going to be one of the best original American musicals in quite some time," says the singer/songwriter, likening the work in tone to Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night. "I am more thrilled about this than anything I've done in my whole life. I'm pretty pumped up!"
Ghost Brothers, on stage from April 4 to May 13 at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, presents a mysterious family drama that springs from a 1967 tragedy in Mississippi, with the bluesy roots music and lyrics by Mellencamp, book by King and music direction by T Bone Burnett. Susan V. Booth is the director.
"The first time Steve and I worked on it in New York, it was terrible and we wanted to kill ourselves," Mellencamp says. "Then we got involved with Susan Booth, who found the real meaning of the words. She is unbelievable and I love her to death. Everyone is down there working seven days a week. I'm just excited that it's so good."
No release date is firm yet for a three-disc soundtrack album.