Stephen King’s ‘Ghost Brothers of Darkland County’ Debuts in Orono

314sWe told you all about Boz Scaggs and a ukulele orchestra back in our preview of the 2014-15 Collins Center for the Arts preview.  But sometimes, there is something so good – so very stein-fillingly perfect – that we break it out and give it its own column.  That’s the case this week, as the Collins Center, UMaine, Black Bear alum Stephen King, and Halloween season all combine in one ghostly package.  Mr. King’s latest, Ghost Brothers of Darkland County – a supernatural musical stage production – will have its North American tour debut on Saturday, November 8 and Sunday November 9 at the Collins Center in Orono.


We all know that Stephen King is a master storyteller – mostly it’s been horror, of course, but other paranormal phenomena, baseball, and a turn at writing style have all surfaced here and there.  (Aside: if you like to read, write, or…do anything, really, King’s On Writing is a must-read…)  But this stage production, from my limited Google searching, is new ground, and I think I speak for everyone when I say we’ll be very glad Stephen King chose to try his hand, here.


First of all, there’s Mr. King’s matchless talent.  That’s a good place to start.  But Ghost Brothers of Darkland County didn’t stop there, friends.  Oh, no.  Why not match up the Master of Horror with Rock & Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp (I prefer to leave out the ‘Cougar,’ if you please) AND Americana music legend/god, T Bone Burnett?  Because that’s exactly what happened.  And if you can’t grasp the serious coolness of that, just check out the promo photo of these three American originals.  What’s more, Mr. Mellencamp described the end result as “Tennessee Williams meets Stephen King.”




Ghost Brothers of Darkland County begins with our protagonist, Joe McCandless reflecting on a past tragedy involving his two older brothers battling over a girl, which ended in the unfortunate deaths of all three. Now, with Joe as an adult and two boys of his own, he’s watching an all-too-familiar scenario play out before his eyes. With his sons at each other’s throats, Joe’s story will either save or destroy the McCandless family.  Of course, hauntings and the interactions between family – both alive and dead – feature prominently.  It’s “a ghost story with music,” according to T Bone Burnett.


Again…  SOLD!


The production’s staging is both old fashioned, resembling an old-style radio show, and modern – and definitely unique (as you’d expect) in its interactive use of storytelling, music, and singing to move the macabre story forward. Eerie blues roots music reveals the inner workings of the characters. The full cast for the musical was announced in back in September. Billy Burke (The Twilight Saga) and Gina Gershon (House of Versace, Boeing, Boeing, and my favorite, Face/Off) play the lead roles of Joe McCandless and Monique McCandless, respectively.  (Full cast and more info are at the production’s site:


The shows in Orono will be at 8:00PM on Saturday, November 8th and 2:00PM on Sunday the 9th.  For good measure, a 2014 Season Gala will be held at Fogler Library, with a reception beginning at 5:00PM and a Southern-inspired dinner at 6:00PM.  Of course, you know where to get tickets (or call 207-581-1755); all that’s left to do is go get them and enjoy the show!


(I mean, check this out, and tell me it doesn’t look like a good time…)



Ghost Brothers of Darkland County Full North American Tour Schedule (with New England venues highlighted):

Nov. 8  Orono, ME  Collins Center for the Arts

Nov. 9  Orono, ME  Collins Center for the Arts

Nov. 11 Toronto, ON  Massey Hall

Nov. 13 Philadelphia, PA  Merriam Theatre

Nov. 14 Durham, NC  Durham Performing Arts Center

Nov. 15 Washington, DC  Warner Theatre

Nov. 16 Baltimore, MD  The Modell Performing Arts Center at the LYRIC

Nov. 18 Red Bank, NJ  Count Basie Theatre

Nov. 20 Portland, ME  Merrill Auditorium

Nov. 21 Boston, MA  Emerson Colonial Theatre

Nov. 22 Providence, RI  The VETS

Nov. 24 New York, NY  Beacon Theatre

Nov. 26 Detroit, MI  Fisher Theatre

Nov. 28 Chicago, IL  Broadway in Chicago’s Oriental Theatre

Nov. 29 St. Louis, MO  Peabody Opera House

Dec. 1  Denver, CO  Temple Hoyne Buell Theatre

Dec. 3   Phoenix, AZ  Orpheum Theatre

Dec. 4  Los Angeles, CA  Saban Theatre

Dec. 5  San Francisco, CA  SHN Curran Theatre

Dec. 6  San Francisco, CA  SHN Curran Theatre


Cheers – and Happy Halloween!



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