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Karyn McNay
IU Auditorium

Last modified: Friday, May 10, 2013

National tour of Mellencamp-King collaboration 'Ghost Brothers' will premiere at IU Auditorium

WHAT: "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County"
WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10
WHERE: IU Auditorium, 1211 E. Seventh St.
TICKETS: $20 to $41 for IU Bloomington students with a valid ID and $38 to $62 for general public, on sale now. Individual tickets may be purchased online at, in person at the IU Auditorium Box Office, as well as through, all Ticketmaster outlets, or charge by phone at 800-745-3000. The IU Auditorium Box Office is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

May 10, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County," the southern gothic musical collaboration by John Mellencamp, Stephen King and T Bone Burnett, will rehearse for its debut tour in Bloomington and premiere its national tour at IU Auditorium.

"Ghost Brothers of Darkland County," written by King with music by Mellencamp and Burnett, has confirmed a tour of 20 American cities throughout the Midwest and Southeast beginning Oct. 10 in Bloomington and ending Nov. 6 in Grand Rapids, Mich. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, May 17, at, and are on sale now for the Bloomington performance via

The collaboration, 13 years in the making, is a haunting tale of fraternal love, lust, jealousy and revenge, which will be performed by an ensemble cast of 15 actors and a four-piece live band. The album of the musical will be released June 4 via Hear Music and the Concord Music Group.

"The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County" saga began when Mellencamp told King about a cabin on his land in Indiana where two brothers had gotten in a fight over a girl. One brother accidentally killed the other, only to die along with the girl in a car crash a short time later. King came up with an outline for a play in a matter of days. And then off and on, back and forth, they began to develop it into a full-length musical.

The blues 'n' roots music of "Ghost Brothers" reflects the wide range of styles and influences needed for a work that jumps back and forth across decades. Rather than use songs to propel the play's narrative, as in a conventional musical, Mellencamp uses them to reveal the emotions and inner workings of the characters.

Set in the tiny town of Lake Belle Reve, Miss., "Ghost Brothers" 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.

As the story emerged during the writing of the musical, it became clear to the collaborators that "Ghost Brothers" had taken them into unfamiliar territory -- and they liked it that way.

"John can make rock & roll records and I can write books for the rest of our lives," King said, "but that's the safe way to do it, and that's no way to live if you want to stay creative. We were willing to be educated, and at our age, that's an accomplishment."

Putting King's words and Mellencamp's songs on the stage is in the skillful hands of acclaimed director Susan Booth, who calls the musical "a kind of new-age traveling medicine show."

"This is a gothic story-driven rock concert," Booth said. "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."

"It is an amazing opportunity to host the cast and creative staff of 'Ghost Brothers' as they rehearse and debut this new musical," IU Auditorium director Doug Booher said. "This is a rare chance for our audiences to witness a premiere of this scope, and it coming from such a locally (and globally) beloved artist like John Mellencamp makes the experience even more special for Bloomington and IU. Get ready to hold onto your seats; this suspenseful show is like nothing you've ever seen."

For more information on Ghost Brothers and the rest of the 2012-13 season, visit The website features video clips and a selection of music from this season's performances, in addition to a direct link to the IU Auditorium Facebook and Twitter pages, whose followers receive exclusive benefits throughout the year.

"Ghost Brothers of Darkland County" is sponsored by Nature's Way. IU Auditorium's 2013-14 season is sponsored by Curry Auto Center, B97, The Herald-Times and IU Residential Programs and Services.