Billy Elliot star Emily Skinner, Tony winner Shuler Hensley, American Idol vet Justin Guarini and musician Jake La Botz will lead the the world premiere cast of Stephen King and John Mellencamp's musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre. Directed by Susan V. Booth and featuring musical direction by T Bone Burnett, the show will begin a 10-day developmental workshop on December 5. Performances for the full production in Atlanta begin April 4, 2012.
Featuring music and lyrics by Mellencamp and a book by King, Ghost Brothers of Darkland County centers on the story of a 1957 tragedy that haunts a small Mississippi town. The show is billed as "a Southern gothic tale fraught with mystery, tragedy and ghosts of the past."
The cast also features Lucas Kavner, Kate Ferber, Christopher Morgan and country musician Dale Watson, as well as Peter Albrink, Kylie Brown, Lori Beth Edgeman, Gwen Hughes, Joe Jung, Joe Knezevich, Rob Lawhon, Royce Mann and Travis Smith.
In a Facebook message posted on October 13, Skinner wrote, "Get your tx now: Stephen King and John Mellencamp have written what has to be the world's most heterosexual musical ever imagined. Great story, great music, great cast (including myself)!"
Ghost Brothers of Darkland County will feature scenic design by Todd Rosenthal, choreography by Daniel Pelzig, costume design by Susan E. Mickey, lighting design by Robert Wierzel, media design by Adam Larsen and sound design by Clay Benning.
The show, which was first announced in 2001, was originally slated to be part of Atlanta’s Alliance Theater’s 2008-2009 season. Liv Ullmann had previously been attached as director. A recording of the musical featuring Kris Kristofferson, Elvis Costello, Rosanne Cash, Neko Case, Sheryl Crow and Mellencamp was also announced for release in 2010, but never came to fruition.