A little musical about “Jack and Diane”? Details emerge about new stage show John Mellencamp is co-writing

Credit: Marc Hauser

Credit: Marc HauserOfficial details have been unveiled about a new stage musical John Mellencamp is co-writing that’s apparently inspired by “Jack and Diane,” his 1982 chart-topper about “two American kids growing up in the heartland.”

According to an announcement Wednesday, Mellencamp is contributing music and lyrics to the as-yet-untitled project, which will tell the story of “people who live, love and die on the underside of the American Dream in small towns all across our country.”

The production will be directed by Kathleen Marshall, who won three Tony Awards for her work as a choreographer on the shows Wonderful Town, The Pajama Game and Anything Goes. The book for the musical is being written by award-winning playwright Naomi Wallace.

The announcement explains that the play “is a tale, laced with humor and visceral energy, about star-crossed lovers, and their stubborn refusal to give up, to lie down, to let go of the potential their youthful dreams once promised. The statement adds, “This is also a story about a town in free-fall, and the tough choices people make, not always in their best interests.”

In an interview with NBC’s Today show in December, Mellencamp revealed, “We’re getting ready to mount ‘Jack and Diane’ as a Broadway…musical.” He also noted, “Every problem that this country’s going through today is in that musical. This is not a jukebox musical. My ambitions are set very high, as close to [John] Steinbeck as we can get it in today’s world, with these two kids.”

The new show is being produced by John’s record label, Republic Records, in partnership with Federal Films and Universal Music Theatrical.

Mellencamp’s latest album, the covers collection Other People’s Stuff, was released in December.

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