Cast announced for 'Ghost Brothers,' set to debut at IU Auditorium in October

  • Sept. 13, 2013

WHAT: "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County"
WHEN: 8 p.m. Oct. 10 and Oct. 23
WHERE: IU Auditorium, 1211 E. Seventh St.
TICKETS: $20-$41 for IU Bloomington students with a valid ID and $38 to $62 for general public, on sale now. Individual tickets may be purchased online at, in person at the IU Auditorium Box Office, as well as through, all Ticketmaster outlets or charge by phone at 800-745-3000. The IU Auditorium Box Office is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The touring cast for John Mellencamp, Stephen King and T Bone Burnett’s southern gothic musical collaboration,"Ghost Brothers of Darkland County," has been announced. The show will rehearse for its debut tour at IU Auditorium, followed by its national touring premiere performance on Oct. 10 at the auditorium.

A second performance on Oct. 23 was added in response to overwhelming customer demand.

Written by King, with music by Mellencamp and Burnett, the show will tour 20 American cities throughout the Midwest and Southeast after its debut performance in Bloomington. The collaboration, 13 years in the making, is a haunting tale of fraternal love, lust, jealousy and revenge, and will be performed by an ensemble cast of 15 actors and a four-piece live band. The story will feature a chorus of actors and singers, and musicians featuring members of Mellencamp’s band. The staging of "Ghost Brothers" will be an amalgam of different styles -- both old-fashioned, resembling an old-style radio show, yet modern and unique in its interactive use of actors, singers and musicians to move the story forward using a mix of storytelling, music and song.

The show stars actor Bruce Greenwood as the father Joe McCandless. Greenwood is perhaps best known for his roles in the films "Thirteen Days" and "Flight," and as Captain Christopher Pike in the 2009 Star Trek film and its sequel, "Star Trek Into Darkness." Emily Skinner will star as Joe’s wife, Monique. Skinner is a well-known stage actress who received a Tony Award nomination for "Side Show" and has had leading roles on Broadway in "Jekyll & Hyde," "James Joyce’s The Dead," "The Full Monty" and "Billy Elliot."

Joe and Monique’s sons, Frank and Drake McCandless, are played by Lucas Kavner and Joe Tippett, respectively. Kavner has appeared in projects for Comedy Central, ESPN and VH1, and has performed or workshopped shows at the Kennedy Center, Playwrights Horizons, Atlantic, Abingdon Theatre, Dixon Place and others. Tippett most recently did a staged reading in Waterford, Conn., as part of the 2013 National Playwrights Conference, as well as one in New York City at Hayden 5’s NoMad Loft. The female love interest of this ensemble, Anna, is played by Kylie Brown, who has recently appeared in Atlanta productions of "Hello Dolly" and "Hair."

The two dead brothers, Jack and Andy McCandless, are played by Peter Albrink and Travis Smith, respectively. Albrink starred in the Long Wharf’s version of Sam Shepherd’s "Curse of the Starving Class" earlier in the year, while Smith recently played John Carter Cash in the USA Network’s Johnny Cash biopic "Ring of Fire" and appears in that network's series "Necessary Roughness." This ensemble’s female love interest, Jenna, is played by Kate Ferber, whose recent credits include the one-woman show "One Child Born: The Music of Laura Nyro."

The Shape, a devil-like character, is played by Jake LaBotz, a blues singer-songwriter who has acted in films by Sylvester Stallone and Steve Buscemi and released six of his own albums. The remaining cast members are Eric Moore, Joe Jung, Rob Lawhon, Gwen Hughes, Jesse Lenat and Zac Ballard. The band on stage features bandleader Andy York on guitar, percussionist Dane Clark, Troye Kinnett on keyboards and harmonica and upright bassist Jon Gunnell.

The show will be lit by award-winning lighting designer Steven Cohen, who in his 40-plus year career in the music and television industry has worked with Mellencamp, Billy Joel, Elton John, Reba McEntire, Sugarland, Tim McGraw, Lenny Kravitz, Blake Shelton, Justin Timberlake, N’Sync, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey and The Eagles, and has also worked on numerous TV productions for HBO, Showtime, MTV and VH1.

The director of "Ghost Brothers" is Susan V. Booth, artistic director at the Alliance Theatre, who directed "Ghost Brothers" during its Atlanta run in 2012. Casting director is Laura Stanczyk, and choreographer is IU assistant professor of musical theatre and choreography Liza Gennaro.

“This piece has been on a really long journey,” Booth said. “One of the things it has learned about itself is that it could never fit into existing molds. King, Mellencamp and Burnett don’t fit into existing molds, either. So, for the stage production, we had to create a completely new form.”

The play follows the release of the "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County" album on Concord Records, which came out earlier in the year. The record, produced by Burnett, reflects the wide range of styles and influences required for a work that jumps across decades. It features original music and lyrics by Mellencamp, along with a cast of guest musicians and actors.

“It’s an honor for IU Auditorium to welcome the incredible cast and crew of 'Ghost Brothers' to Bloomington, and aid them in preparing their new production for the tour this fall,” IU Auditorium director Doug Booher said. “No other community has the chance to be so intimately involved in this show’s creation, and it will be truly special for our audiences to see it come to fruition. No one will want to miss their chance to see this amazing new stage experience.”

For more information on "Ghost Brothers" and the rest of the 2013-2014 season, visit The website features video clips and a selection of music from this season's performances, in addition to a direct link to the IU Auditorium Facebook and Twitter pages, whose followers receive exclusive benefits throughout the year.

"Ghost Brothers of Darkland County" is sponsored by Nature’s Way and WTTS 92.3. IU Auditorium’s 2013-2014 season is sponsored by Curry Auto Center, B97, The Herald-Times and IU Residential Programs and Services.

Related Links

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County

"Ghost Brothers of Darkland County" is a collaboration between T Bone Burnett, John Mellencamp and Stephen King.

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Media Contacts

Karyn McNay

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