Ghost Brothers of Darkland County (stage)


Role: Joe McCandless
Release: 6.22.2021

Photo: Sara Krulwich


premiere report

WABI TV5 promo

premiere report


The southern gothic, supernatural musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County is a collaboration 16 years in the making, and blend of unique musical and staging styles. It was written by best-selling author Stephen King, with music by Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp, and musical direction by Grammy Award-winning T Bone Burnett.

In the tiny town of Lake Belle Reve, Mississippi in 1967, a terrible tragedy took the lives of two brothers and a beautiful young girl. During the next forty years, the events of that night became the stuff of local legend. But legend is often just another word for lie. Joe McCandless knows what really happened; he saw it all. The question is whether or not he can bring himself to tell the truth in time to save his own troubled sons, and whether the ghosts left behind by an act of violence will help him—or tear the McCandless family apart forever.

Throughout the production, the eerie blues ‘n’ roots music reveals the inner workings of the characters as opposed to just propelling the play’s narrative, with only a few songs directly advancing the plot. The haunting tale of fraternal love, lust, jealousy and revenge, begins with 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.



The show debuted at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2012. On September 30, 2014 the full cast for the fall leg of the tour was announced, with actor/writer/producer Billy Burke (The Twilight Saga) and actress/writer/singer Gina Gershon (Killer Joe, House of Versace, Boeing) playing the lead roles of Joe McCandless and Monique McCandless respectively. The tour kicked off right outside Bangor, ME at the Collins Center For The Arts in Orono, ME, on November 8, 2014 before travelling through cities such as Toronto, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. 
2014 Cast:
Joe McCandless: Billy Burke
Monique McCandless: Gina Gershon
The Shape: Jake La Botz
Zydeco Cowboy: Jesse Lenant
Drake McCandless: Joe Tippett
Frank McCandless: Lucas Kavner
Anna Wicklow Kylie: Brown
Dan Coker: Eric Moore
Andy McCandless: Travis Smith
Jack McCandless: Peter Albrink
Jenna Farrell: Kate Ferber
Young Joe: Zac Ballard
Featured Background Vocalist: Carlene Carter
Newt Hoggenbeck / Ensemble: Joe Jung
Ensemble: Gwen Hughes
Ensemble: Rob Lawhon

Music Supervision & Arrangements, Band Leader, Guitarist: Andy York

Percussion: Dane Clark
Keyboards & Harmonica: Troye Kinnett
Upright Bass: Jon E. Gee

Susan V. Booth



Burke displays a compelling charisma as the troubled paterfamilias.
Mr. Burke has a rich, husky baritone and capably transmits Joe’s stolid determination to keep history from repeating itself.
Charles Isherwood, The New York Times
The voice cast might be the strongest ensemble assembled for a Batman project. Duhamel and Burke deliver the core personalities of their characters. Burke gives Gordon a progressive sense of weariness in facing Gotham’s worst.
– Jeffrey Lyles,
Billy Burke brings a humanizing touch to Gordon.
– James Harvey,
Billy Burke as Jim Gordon, Julie Nathanson as Gilda Dent, and Jack Quaid as Alberto Falcone all take turns in the spotlight and breathe real life into this cast.
– Christopher Egan,
Billy Burke voices Captain Gordon. He does a great job as Gordon. Still getting used to working with Batman and trying to balance his own family life.
– Brian Isaacs,

Billy Burke as Gordon is the MVP.

– Timothy Gannon, fan on Twitter
The supporting cast deliver great performances. Each role is perfectly cast with Billy Burke’s Jim Gordon an easy standout as he captures the honest nature of Gordon and helps both Batman and Dent in their frustrations.” 
– Ricky Church,

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