Stephen King and John Mellencamp Will Redevelop GHOST BROTHERS OF DARKLAND COUNTY for Licensing

NEW YORK, NY – 10/22/2018. Stageworks Productions is working with Stephen King and John Mellencamp to redevelop their haunting musical for worldwide licensing. The Gothic southern musical about a decades-old tragedy that haunts the population of a small town has a roots rock score by Grammy winner Mellencamp, (“Pink Houses”, “Jack and Diane”, “Small Town”) and a book by “Carrie,” “Misery” and “The Shining” Master of Horror novelist King. It premiered in a full stage production in 2012 at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, GA. The production also played a limited concert tour.

“We are humbled and honored to have been entrusted by Steve and John to redevelop their thrilling and innovative musical,” says Stageworks president Sean Cercone. “The newly revised version will be available for worldwide licensing in 2019.”

Author Stephen King says “This is terrific news. I loved working with John Mellencamp, and the ghostly result is one of my most proud accomplishments.”

John Mellencamp added, “When Steve and I decided to mount a musical … neither of us knew what we were doing… we learned on the job.. I have never had so much fun or laughed so hard in my life….”

A studio album of Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, recorded in 2010, was released from Hear Records/Concord Records Group. A standard, single-disc version includes the complete songs, dialogue excerpts and digital libretto; while a two-disc format features complete songs (with and without dialogue), deluxe artwork, “handwritten lyrics,” a libretto and a DVD with a “Making of Ghost Brothers” documentary including interviews with King, Mellencamp and album producer T Bone Burnett along with other bonus material.

WTIU gives a sneak preview of John Mellencamp and Stephen King’s new musical “Ghost Brothers Of Darkland County.

Stageworks Productions ( is a New York-based theatrical production company specializing in bringing stories, characters and music from across pop culture to life on the stage.

AIRNESS Receives 2018 M. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award

The American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) has named Airness by Chelsea Marcantel the winner of the 2018 M. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award. The award, which recognizes an emerging playwright, will be presented at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville on April 7. Airness, which premiered at Humana, concerns a woman entering her first air guitar competition. There she discovers there's an art form at the center of what may seem on the surface like just people pretending to play instruments.

A panelist on the ATCA New Play Committee which adjudicates the award called Airness "much more than a lark about a stranger in a strange land. It does what too few plays do... transforms audience assumptions... and it does it without condescending and with a wonderful sweetness and sincerity." Another added, "It's a play that demonstrates the value of choosing ties with others that transcend preconceived conceptions." A third panelist wrote, "Joy is hard to pull off. This one does it beautifully."

Originally from southwest Louisiana and now based in Los Angeles, Marcantel completed a Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Fellowship at the Julliard School in 2016 and is working on commissions from San Francisco Playhouse and Delaware Theatre Company.

The Osborn Award is designed to recognize the work of an author who has not yet achieved national stature. The award was established in 1993 to honor the memory of Theatre Communications Group and American Theatre play editor M. Elizabeth Osborn. It carries a $1,000 prize, funded by the Foundation of the American Theatre Critics Association. Visit for a list of previous Osborn Award winners.

The ATCA New Plays Committee, chaired by Lou Harry, arts & entertainment editor for the Indianapolis Business Journal, makes the selection from plays nominated by ATCA members. This committee also selects honorees for the $40,000 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award. Other committee members are:

  • Misha Berson, Seattle Times (Seattle, WA)

  • Bruce Burgun, The New Orleans Advocate (New orleans, LA)

  • Lindsay Christians, The Capital Times (Madison, WI)

  • Amanda Finn, Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI)

  • Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, (Milwaukee, WI)

  • Pam Harbaugh, (Indialantic, FL)

  • Erin Keane, Salon (Louisville, KY)

  • Mark Lowry, (Dallas, TX)

  • Jonathan Mandell, (NYC)

  • Julius Novick, freelance (New York City, NY)

  • Marjorie Oberlander, freelance (New York City, NY)

  • Kathryn Osenlund, freelance (Philadelphia, PA)

  • Wendy Parker, freelance (Midlothian, VA)

  • Wendy Rosenfield, (Philadelphia, PA)

  • David Sheward, (Jackson Heights, NY)

  • Martha Wade Steketee, freelance (New York, NY)

  • Perry Tannenbaum, Creative Loafing, (Charlotte, NC)

  • Bob Verini, Variety (Boston, MA)

The American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) was founded in 1974 and works to increase public awareness of the role of theatre critics and to raise critical standards within the profession. It is the only national association of professional theater critics, with over two hundred members working for newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, and websites. ATCA is a section of the International Association of Theatre Critics/Association internationale des critiques de théâtre (AICT-IATC), a UNESCO-affiliated organization that sponsors seminars and congresses worldwide.

Other playwriting awards presented or administered by ATCA include:

The Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award and Citations, which are underwrriten by The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, created in 1986 by Harold Steinberg on behalf of himself and his late wife. The trust underwrites the annual $40,000 awards and citations, part of millions of dollars it has given for new productions of American plays and educational programs for those who may not ordinarily experience live theater.

The Francesca Primus Prize, bestowing an annual $10,000 award funded by the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, to honor outstanding contributions to the American theatre by female artists who have not yet achieved national prominence.

ATCA also makes an annual recommendation to the American Theatre Wing and Broadway League for their Regional Theatre Tony Award and votes on the yearly inductions into the Theater Hall of Fame.