Work Progresses on John Mellencamp-Stephen King Musical Darkland County

By Robert Simonson
January 3, 2006

Rocker John Mellencamp spent much of November working on The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, a new "play with music" the singer-songwriter is collaborating on with novelist Stephen King.

The piece is about "two brothers; they're 19 years old or 20, maybe 18 or 21, who are very competitive and dislike each other immensely," Mellencamp said on his official website. "The father takes them to the family vacation place, a cabin that the boys hadn't been to since they were kids.

"What has happened is that the father had two older brothers who hated each other and killed each other in that cabin," he continued. "There's a confederacy of ghosts who also live in this house. The older [dead] brothers are there, and they speak to the audience, and they sing to the audience. That's all I want to say, except through this family vacation, many things are learned about the family, and many interesting songs are sung."

Mellencamp is the latest rock and roller to enter the music theatre world, following such artists as Pete Townshend (The Who's Tommy), Billy Joel (Movin' Out), Paul Simon (The Capeman), Elton John (Aida, Billy Elliot) and Phil Collins (Tarzan).

Mellencamp had a string of hits in the 1980's, including "Hurts So Good," "Jack and Diane," "Pink Houses," "Small Town" and "Cherry Bomb." King is the author of dozens of horror thrillers, including "Carrie," "The Shining," "The Stand" and "Misery."

No timetable has been announced for The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.