Article about Ghost Brothers

Posted: February 21, 2005, 09:12

Mellencamp, author King collaborate on musical

Even though John Mellencamp is prepping for his first tour in three years, he's managed to carve out a little time for Stephen King.

Not a Stephen King novel, mind you, but the man himself.

What started out as a conversation between old friends has morphed into plans for a full-blown musical theater production.

Mellencamp has known King since both men were first forging their respective careers. He pitched his story idea to his friend years ago. Mellencamp developed the story but knew it was too long for a song.

The tale, set in the 1940s, revolved around a family facing the residual effects of a long-ago murder between brothers.

King took the story idea and set to work.

What Mellencamp got back was a fully evolved tale of Americana with his own story now a mere portion of a greater vision.

"I had a short story, and he turned it into a novel. Now, it's very involved," he said. "Steve is a great storyteller."

Mellencamp says the story stays away from the horror genre, leaning more toward the mystical, not unlike King's "The Green Mile."

"It's not ‘Cujo' meets ‘Jack & Diane,'" Mellencamp jokes.

Set in Louisiana, the production has allowed Mellencamp to explore zydeco, folk and jazz musical styles. "It gives me a chance to not write John Mellencamp songs."

He sees the play as having a Tennessee Williams feel.

With a first official reading set for March, Mellencamp has expectations for his little side project — high expectations.

"We will have it on Broadway," he says.

Of course, before Mellencamp can bring his musical to Broadway's New York audiences, he'll bring his music to the masses with his "Words and Music" tour, kicking off March 23.