Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Stephen King & John Mellencamp Musical?

In Time Magazine's Q&A with Stephen King, we have this exchange:

Q. So you're a news junkie?

KING: I got hooked by my wife. You'd be surprised, or
maybe you wouldn't be surprised, being that I'm around John Mellancamp a lot — he and I are doing this play. But it's the news 24-7. Always on.

Q.What's this play?

KING:It's called Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. It's a
musical.

Q.What's the plan with that?

KING: Hopefully we'll open out of town next year. Maybe in Atlanta, if they have any water left.

Q:When next year?

KING: My guess it probably like June or July. We're at the
point where we've got the director. The music's set. The book's set. We're fairly set. At least until audiences turn up. If they turn up their noses then things change. We're supposed to be, maybe in Atlanta, maybe in Boston, I've
heard talk about California. But we've got to open out of town and see if people like what we've got.

Q:What's the gist of the story?

KING: [Mellencamp] had bought a place in Indiana by a
lake, and he said that the person had told him the place was haunted. Well, you hear that — when you buy a place that's been around for a while in the woods, people are going to say it's haunted. [Apparently], there was some kind of tragedy that involved two brothers and a girl in the fifties — one of the brothers shot the other one apparently in some kind of a drunken game. Killed him. So the other brother and the girl jumped in the car to take the kid to the hospital, because they thought maybe they could save him. They ran into a tree and they were both killed. So apparently the ghosts haunted the place. So John asked me, "Do you think we could turn this into a play?"In a way, he came to me at the right time. He's been doing what he does for a long time, and I've been doing what I do for a long time. John has tried things, he's tried to keep the music fresh, he's continued to release new music, [to] try different things and different formats. And he wanted to graze, to try this idea of doing dramatic music. I've always been up for something that was a little different — just keep turning the earth over, so you don't dig yourself a rut and furnish it, you know what I mean? That's how we got together.

Q: So you expanded that little snippet of a story?

KING: Yeah. That's my job, to take something like that,
which is fairly generic, and make a story out of it that's unique. I [wrote a little and Mellencamp did some music] and then I went to him and said, "We've reached a decision point here. Neither of us knows s--- about theater. The only
thing I know is that, at this point, it either becomes like Andrew Lloyd Webber — and everybody sings everything — or it can be like My Fair Lady, where people actually talk in between the singing. They go blah blah blah and then [he sings] "I could have danced all night." And then they blah blah blah some more.

Q: Well, if it opens in New York, I'll check it out.

KING: It probably will. We're a bit radioactive, because
it has a subtext about homosexuality and it's set in the fifties so they bandy about a lot of pejorative words that were common coinage back then. But, Tennessee Williams got away with it.

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