John Mellencamp and Stephen King: What did they create?

John Mellencamp collaborated with horror writer Stephen King to produce "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County," a musical. The play, says John Mellencamp, is inspired by a 'haunted' cabin Mellencamp bought on Lake Monroe in Indiana.

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Bruce Greenwood, left, as Joe McCandless, left, during a dress rehearsal of the musical "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County" at the Indiana University Auditorium in Bloomington, Ind. The musical by John Mellencamp, writer Stephen King and T Bone Burnett will debut in Bloomington on Thursday before embarking on a tour of 20 U.S. cities.

A musical production that's a result of a collaboration between rocker John Mellencamp and horror writer Stephen King is launching a 20-city theatrical tour in Indiana.

"Ghost Brothers of Darkland County" was 13 years in the making as King and Mellencamp worked on it between what the rocker calls their "real jobs."

The musical's roots lie in a cabin Mellencamp bought on Lake Monroe in southern Indiana to use as a family retreat. He said he quickly noticed strange occurrences, such as window blinds opening and items moving around. He learned from the previous owners that the cabin was believed to be haunted by two young men who had died there decades before in a quarrel over a girl.

Mellencamp went to King with an idea for a musical play featuring two brothers who are ghosts and haunt the cabin.

"I just kind of went ... that's my sweet spot," King said.

The unconventional musical, which King describes as a "real hybrid of the musical experience and radio show," has evolved since the pair conceived the idea. Spoken words drive the story just as they do in a play. The music helps flesh out the characters.

King said the pair met in Florida, New York, Maine and at Mellencamp's southern Indiana studio to work on the production.

Mellencamp said they don't have a long-range plan for the show, but both say they never set out to do a traditional Broadway production.

"I don't have a problem with Broadway, but I do think that a lot of the shows and a lot of the musicals are really, really big. And we wanted to do something that was kind of like 'Big River,'" King said. "It was a little bit smaller, a little bit grittier, a little bit more down-home America."

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.