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Author Topic: King, Mellencamp discuss ‘Ghost' story during Atlanta visit  (Read 13618 times)
Mellenfan71
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« on: December 16, 2011, 10:07:36 am »

King, Mellencamp discuss ‘Ghost' story during Atlanta visit
 
By Melissa Ruggieri
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Ghost Brothers of Darkland County” is expected to be loaded with eerie storytelling, dark overtones and ghosts.
 
But the triumvirate behind the Southern gothic musical opening at the Alliance Theatre April 4 was lighthearted and jokey while meeting with the media at the Woodruff Arts Center on Thursday.
 
Stephen King, rangy, grinning and gray-haired, sat shoulder-to-shoulder with partner John Mellencamp, hair cropped close and rock star cool, and musical director T Bone Burnett, who sported his omnipresent shades, as they discussed the 12-year evolution of “Ghost Brothers” and repeatedly praised Susan V. Booth, artistic director of the Alliance.
 
Atlanta was chosen as the launching ground, said King, because “it’s a city that is cosmopolitan, but not out of touch with its country roots,” an important factor since the play is set in small town Mississippi in 1957.
 
Mellencamp, meanwhile, was a bit more emphatic.
 
“The reason I liked Atlanta so much? Susan Booth,” he said.
 
Booth will direct the production, which unveils the story of two brothers and a young girl killed in a tragic event that, through the decades, becomes legend. One man witnessed the tragedy, and the ghosts from that fateful night continue to haunt his family.
 
The cast, which boasts several members with local ties – a development that Booth called “wicked cool”– is fronted by Tony winner Shuler Hensley, a Marietta native, and includes Tony nominee Emily Skinner and familiar Broadway face (and long-ago “American Idol” star and former Atlantan) Justin Guarini, all of whom were in attendance Thursday.
 
Mellencamp said it took three rounds of auditions to find the perfect cast; the initial try-outs in New York were “too Broadway. We had to get out of town. I don’t need my songs [adopts amplified theatrical singing voice] sung that way.”
 
Also in the cast is Americana music mainstay Dale Watson.
 
“You don’t get [someone like Watson] out of central casting,” Booth noted wryly.
 
The soft-spoken Burnett, who has produced albums for artists ranging from Willie Nelson to Tony Bennett to Elton John to Mellencamp, said he wanted the music in the show to sound “dark and foggy,” a reasonable feat since Mellencamp “had already written some scary-sounding songs.”
 
Mellencamp, whose girlfriend Meg Ryan sat casually in the back of the room, was quick to share his admiration of Burnett’s musically encyclopedic brain.
 
“All of my musical references start in the 1950s until the present. T Bone goes from the ‘20s to the ‘50s. He has his feet firmly planted in Americana, blues, folk. I learned a lot from him. My songs and his internal metronome work,” Mellencamp said.
 
Considering the amount of time invested in bringing “Ghost Brothers” – which will run through May 13 – to fruition, it wouldn’t be surprising for the playwrights to envision an eventual leap to Broadway.
 
But both King and Mellencamp shrugged off any expectations.
 
“I personally don’t care if we go to Broadway or Washington or the moon. I hope something comes of it. But Steve and I have had a great 12 years with each other. We’ve become great friends,” Mellencamp said.
 
King chuckled at Mellencamp’s teasing before inserting his own coda.
 
“This isn’t like professional baseball in the minors and you hope to go to the next level. This isn’t a minor league city,” King said. “But I’m not thinking Broadway or movies or any of those things. I want audiences to come to the Alliance and be knocked out.”
« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 10:48:35 am by walktall2010 » Logged
sheilafarmer
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« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2011, 10:51:36 am »

That was an interesting journal story, the writer only quoted what was said word for word and added a lot of unnecessary info that had nothing to do with Conference. The writer should left the ending with how they had a good feel for the project and not give the impression that hope foe the best and the anticipated date in April. Unless I did not see the whole story.
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Rhonda2
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« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2011, 11:38:27 am »

Nice article. Did notice one funy line is missing from it:


 “I personally don’t care if we go to Broadway or Washington or the moon. I hope something comes of it. But Steve and I have had a great 12 years with each other. We’ve become great friends,” Mellencamp said, then added with a laugh, “but that’s not hard because I don’t have any friends and neither does he.”
King chuckled at Mellencamp’s teasing before inserting his own coda.
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Mellenfan71
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« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2011, 11:43:33 am »

Oh sorry! Guess I missed it when I pasted Grin

The Broadway line/singing from John was amusing as well. This project smacks of genius.

 link.
http://www.accessatlanta.com/AccessAtlanta-sharing_/king-mellencamp-discuss-ghost-1261609.html
« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 11:49:45 am by Mellenfan71 » Logged
Mellenfan71
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« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2011, 12:10:36 pm »

Another take.

http://www.neighbornewspapers.com/stories/King-Mellencamp-stage-musical-in-Midtown,179085?content_source=&category_id=6&search_filter=&event_mode=&event_ts_from=&list_type=&order_by=&order_sort=&content_class=&sub_type=&town_id=&page=


King, Mellencamp stage musical in Midtown

By Gloria Love




Stephen King and John Mellencamp discuss their plans to stage a musical at the Alliance Theatre in April.


In crafting the new musical “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County,” author Stephen King and musician John Mellencamp set off down the twisted roads of the Southern Gothic and were led to Midtown’s own Alliance Theatre.
 
The tale of tragedy in a tiny Mississippi town is scheduled to premiere in April to close the theatre’s 2011-12 season.
 
During a developmental workshop at the Alliance Thursday, King said he began work on the project 12 years ago after Mellencamp contacted him with a ghost story from his home state of Indiana.
 
“What a long, strange trip it’s been,” King said. “One of the reasons I got into this and said yes is, first of all, I respect John as a musician and as someone not content to stay in one place.
 
“I’m in my 60s now. I’m not a kid … I wanted to try something a little bit risky and something outside my comfort zone.”
 
King penned the story of two brothers and a young girl who meet a mysterious end — and their interaction with the event’s one living witness.
 
Mellencamp stepped in with music and lyrics and brought in legendary producer T Bone Burnett as musical director. Burnett provided similar direction for the 2000 film “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
 
King and Mellencamp sought a regional theatre to stage the show, and decided an Atlanta location offered unique advantages.
 
“We wanted a place that was cosmopolitan but not out of touch with country roots. Atlanta seemed like the middle of the bulls-eye,” King said. “You know that song, ‘If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere?’ That’s how I feel about Atlanta and this show.”
 
The pair also wanted the benefit of working with Susan Booth, the Alliance’s artistic director, who, “has forgotten more about the theatre than John and I know,” King said.
 
“The only other play I wrote was for the Boy Scouts,” he said. “I was 10.”
 
King and Mellencamp started to stage the show two previous times, once at the Alliance and once on Broadway, but called those productions off for various reasons, Mellencamp said.
 
Now, almost at the end of the process, they are solely focused on creating one great Atlanta production, he said.
 
“[Afterward], I personally don’t care if we go to Broadway or Washington, D.C. or to the moon or Indiana,” Mellencamp said.
 
“Ghost Brothers” is set to run April 4 to May 13.
 
Information: Call (404) 733-5000 or visit www.alliancetheatre.org/ghostbrothers
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dusty947
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« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2011, 12:15:37 pm »

We care!  We want this play to come to other Small Cosmopolitan Towns in the country.
Orpheum and The State Theater and The Northrop in Mpls, MN are all calling you guys to not end in Atlanta!  This production will be in high demand.  They are so modest.  Artists tend to be on certain things........
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sheilafarmer
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« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2011, 01:21:14 pm »

This is much better written article then that other one. This story makes you more excited about it.
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Mellenfan71
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« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2011, 01:48:31 pm »

Quote
We care!  We want this play to come to other Small Cosmopolitan Towns in the country.
Orpheum and The State Theater and The Northrop in Mpls, MN are all calling you guys to not end in Atlanta!  This production will be in high demand.  They are so modest.  Artists tend to be on certain things........

I bet they are waiting to see how it plays in Atlanta before they go beyond that.
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walktall2010
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« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2011, 01:49:42 pm »

More info:

King, Mellencamp and T-Bone chat up Ghost Brothers

Group press conferences about artistic projects tend to be lovefests, so it’s no surprise that the Alliance Theatre’s Dec. 15 presser for Ghost Brothers of Darkland County served as a mutual admiration society. “How often do you get a chance to work with this kind of trifecta?” director Susan V. Booth asked of Ghost Brothers’ principle creators, book writer Stephen King, lyricist and composer John Mellencamp and music director T-Bone Burnett. "Ghost Brothers" could even describe their working relationship.

The press conference capped off the Alliance’s 10-day workshop with Ghost Brothers’ full cast in advance of its world premiere on April 4, 2012. The conversation emphasized good-natured joshing around over the nuts-and-bolts creative process of the musical.

When Mellencamp said, tongue partially in cheek, “Susan has a vision and ability to deal with all three of our egos and idea,” King added, “We’d get another email from Susan and I’d say ‘There goes another two pages of the script!’ Which was okay, since the script was 500 pages.”

While chatting and answering questions at the Alliance’s rehearsal space, King, Mellencamp and Burnett seem to be very much on each other’s wavelengths for Ghost Brothers. The musical originated about 12 years ago, while King was recovering from his near-fatal car accident 1999 car accident. He recalls meeting with Mellencamp: “John said, ‘I have this idea about a cabin and some brothers who died there. Maybe we could make a musical together.”

King told him that he’d think about it and would work on a treatment if he had time. Mellencamp recalls, “I didn’t even get where I was going to next, and you sent me the treatment. And it was a book — 60 pages!”

Mellencamp explained that he and Burnett complemented each other, because Burnett has an encyclopedic knowledge of song from the 1920s through the 1950s, and Mellencamp’s musical knowledge takes up afterward.

King gave an example of his own musical simpatico with Burnett over obscure country crooners. “The first time I met T-Bone, we were in Nashville talking about the beginning of play. At first, when the audience comes and sits down, there should be 1950s-style country radio playing. I said it should sound like Hank Williams, but that we probably can’t afford the [music] clearance. So I said maybe someone like Henson Cargill, and T-Bone immediately said ‘Skip a Rope,’ which was perfect.”

Ghost Brothers concerns three killings in Mississippi in the 1950s and its repercussions for people in the present day. Burnett explained his goals for the show’s overall rootsy sound. “First, Stephen King and John Mellencamp were writing it, and they live in the same part of America, small-town America. The next thing, it was ghosts, it was dead people, it was Mississippi. I wanted it to sound dark and foggy. I wanted it to sound scary.”

The show features performers from Atlanta and across the country, and Mellencamp appreciated casting the show outside of Broadway. “Why tried casting in New York, and it didn’t work. It was too ‘Broad! Way! Rhy-thm!’ We had to get out of there. I didn’t need to hear ‘MY SONGS SUNG THAT WA-AAY!’” he said, almost slipping into an Ethel Merman impression.

Perhaps the press conference’s most frequent refrain was the “trifecta’s” excitement about debuting the play in the South, and at the Alliance Theatre in particular. The Alliance was on King and Mellencamp’s short list for regional theaters to try out the show. King said, “We talked about a number of regional theaters, and would they want to take a chance on guys who are—”

“TOTAL unknowns,” Booth quipped.

“No, professionals in our fields, but new to theater. We came to the Alliance, and my eyes fell out of my head,” King added. “And it’s not just the theater here, it’s the whole arts complex. I like that it’s in Georgia. [Ghost Brothers] is a Southern story. It’s a country story.”

“And I have an album by the Atlanta Rhythm Section,” King quipped.

King denied that Ghost Brothers’ Alliance debut was a dry run for Broadway. “This is not like when pro baseball players are in the minor leagues and want to go the majors. This is not a minor league city. We’re not thinking about Broadway or movies, we’re thinking about how we can get audiences to come to the Alliance on opening night.”

The renowned novelist does have a bone to pick with the ATL, however. “The only thing I don’t like is the traffic. This is the one place I’ve been to, next to New York, where they speed up if they see you crossing the street. Or maybe it’s just me!”

http://clatl.com/culturesurfing/archives/2011/12/16/king-mellencamp-and-t-bone-chat-up-ghost-brothers?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CultureSurfing+%28Culture+Surfing%29
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sheilafarmer
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« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2011, 01:57:31 pm »

Another well written story, thanks for posting it.
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Mellenfan71
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« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2011, 02:01:10 pm »

Quote
where they speed up if they see you crossing the street.


LMAO Cheesy
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marilynb
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« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2011, 06:16:21 pm »

good article. i havent heard that song "skip a rope" since i was a kid. thats going way back. it was a very popular CW song back in the 50's or so.

its funny how they mention traffic in atlanta reminds me of where i live, gotta take ones life in own hands. and on the roads while driving, watch out for the other driver, cant take their space. lol

keep the faith / peace & love
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