Ghost Brothers of Darkland County Musical to Star Shuler Hensley, Emily Skinner and Justin Guarini

By Adam Hetrick
09 Nov 2011

Justin Guarini
Justin Guarini

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.