By Adam Hetrick
13 Jun 2014
The Gothic southern musical about a decades-old tragedy that haunts the population of a small town has a blues-tinged score by Mellencamp and a book by "Carrie," "Misery" and "The Shining" novelist King. It premiered in a full stage production in 2012 at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, GA. The production also played a limited concert tour last fall.
Alliance artistic director Susan V. Booth, who helmed the premiere of Ghost Brothers, returns to stage the concert-style presentation, which has been completely reconceived since the Atlanta premiere. The staging is suggestive, with lighting and sparse scenic elements, and there is not typical theatrical blocking or costumes. It has musical direction by T Bone Burnett.
Casting has not been announced for the 2014 tour. The 2013 fall tour featured Emily Skinner and Bruce Greenwood.
Tickets for the new tour go on sale June 20.
The itinerary follows:
Nov. 8 Orono, ME - Collins Center For The Arts
Nov. 9 Orono, ME - Collins Center For The Arts
Nov. 11 Toronto, ON - Massey Hall
Nov. 13 Philadelphia, PA - Merriam Theatre
Nov. 14 Durham, NC - Durham Performing Arts Center
Nov. 15 Washington, DC - Warner Theatre
Nov. 16 Baltimore, MD - The Modell Performing Arts Center
Nov. 18 Red Bank, NJ - Count Basie Theatre
Nov. 20 Portland, ME - Merrill Auditorium
Nov. 21 Boston, MA - Emerson Colonial Theatre
Nov. 22 Providence, RI - The Vets
Nov. 24 New York, NY - Beacon Theatre
Nov. 26 Detroit, MI - Fisher Theatre
Nov. 28 Chicago, IL - Oriental Theatre
Nov. 29 St. Louis, MO - Peabody Opera House
Dec. 1 Denver, CO - Temple Hoyne Buell Theatre
Dec. 3 Phoenix, AZ - Orpheum Theatre
Dec. 4 Los Angeles, CA - Saban Theatre
Dec. 5 San Francisco, CA - Curran Theatre
According to presenters, "The macabre story will feature a chorus of actors and singers, and musicians featuring members of Mellencamp’s band. The staging of Ghost Brothers is an amalgam of different styles – both old fashioned, resembling an old-style radio show, and yet, modern and unique in its interactive use of storytelling, music and singing to move the macabre Ghost Brothers story forward."
It is also noted that, unlike a typical book musical, "throughout the production, the eerie blues ‘n’ roots music reveals the inner workings of the characters as opposed to just propelling the play’s narrative, with the only a few songs directly advancing the plot."
Booth characterizes the new incarnation as "a kind of new age travelling medicine show. This is a gothic story-driven rock concert. I want the emphasis to be on this fantastic score and our great singers and how the story advances us from song to song. In most musicals, the songs advance the narrative. With Ghost Brothers, the story will advance the songs."
Here's how it's billed: "Set in the tiny town of Lake Belle Reve, Mississippi, the Ghost Brothers' story centers on two sets of brothers: the ghosts of Jack and Andy, dead in an apparent murder/suicide, and their nephews, the living Frank and Drake, who seem to be headed toward the same downward spiral as their uncles. Joe, younger brother of Jack and Andy, father of Frank and Drake, has decided it's time to reveal his own terrible secret at the site of the tragedy, before it’s too late."
A studio album of Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, recorded in 2010, was released June 4 from Hear Records.
The album features performances by Kris Kristofferson in the role of the father, Joe; Elvis Costello as the satanic character The Shape; Roseanne Cash as the mother, Monique; and the sons portrayed by Will Daily (Frank), Dave Alvin (Jack), Phil Alvin (Andy) and Mellencamp (Drake). Sheryl Crow voices Jenna with Neko Case as Anna, boxing legend Joe Frazier as caretaker Dan Coker and novelist King in the role of Uncle Steve. Also featured on the album are actors Matthew McConaughey, Samantha Mathis and Meg Ryan. Glenn Morshower serves as the narrator.
For tickets visit aeglive.com.