Girl from the North Country is a musical set on one of the darkest periods of history: the Great Depression. It was a time wherein all hope seemed to vanish with the economy dropping. But despite its premise, this musical lets you see how human nature peeks through in the gloom. The musical takes you on a journey of hope, growth, love, and togetherness. The plot introduces you to characters who are flawed but perseverant to discover themselves through the darkness. It is a slice of life we all can relate to. In one way or another, we all pursue meaning in our existence and this musical honors that through its depiction of its characters. Perfecting the musical is its songs coming from the discography of the best songwriter ever, Bob Dylan. With his music, Girl from the North Country takes on a powerful essence. Watch the musical at the Golden Gate Theatre next summer.
Girl From The North Country Tickets:
“A fluent fusion of seemingly incompatible elements, “Girl” occupies territory previously unmapped on Broadway, and it speaks its hypnotic language.” – The New York Times
“A superb piece of theatre and you almost run out of superlatives.” – ilovemanchester.com
“A rapturous act of theatrical storytelling” – The Hollywood Reporter
Unlike other musicals, Girl From The North Country was created out of the want of the artist whose source materials are used. In this case, no less than the legendary icon Bob Dylan. He wanted his songs to be a part of a stage musical. To conceive this, Dylan and his team approached Connor McPherson, an Irish playwright known for his works for The Weir, Shining City, and The Seafarer. These works brought him positive acclaim in the theatre scene, especially on Broadway and West End. Ironically, McPherson was the one who was reluctant to work on a musical with Bob Dylan’s music. At first, he thought that it was not a good idea. He did not find any story fitting into Dylan’s beloved classic songs. However, an idea suddenly popped into his mind while strolling. He suddenly thought of Minnesota as a perfect setting for a story. After this, he got the idea of the Great Depression of 1934 as a historical event to connect the story.
For the first time in his career, McPherson would write a story outside Dublin. In his past works, he talked about how important it is for him to connect with his characters. That is why it came as a challenge when he started to work on characters who lived an ocean away. More so during a historical event particular to such a place. But, like any other great writer, he immersed himself in stories during the period. At the same time, he built the story around Bob Dylan’s music, carefully picking the songs he would include in the production and making the piece perfect for the characters.
In addition, McPherson directed the musical. He used his extensive experience in writing about plays. With his style, the musical was more than just a jukebox. This was his first time directing a musical.
All of these ideas were enthusiastically approved by Bob Dylan. In an interview, both were instinctive in creating the musical, making it flow and speak for itself. Making use of the creative freedom, McPherson ensured the story’s direction was at its best.
“Remarkable fusion of text and music” – The Guardian
The story takes place in Duluth, Minnesota, a port city bordered by the Lake Super. During the 1930s Depression, Duluth was among the cities heavily affected. Two of their biggest banks merged to keep their economy afloat. Despite these drastic measures, most port businesses faced bankruptcy. In the midst of it, one-third of their population lost jobs, and a large number of people decided to move. In one of the city’s guesthouses, the story of Girl from the North Country unfolds. The struggling Laine family takes in struggling people to live in their rundown guesthouse. All characters residing in this property are battling their own challenges. Throughout the musical, their story is told as they intertwine. A vibrant tapestry of struggles, love, and resilience opens out.
Pushing the story forward is the intimate and beautiful melody and lyrics. Nineteen songs from Bob Dylan’s lengthy discography were utilized. Some of the songs included in the show are “Sign on the Window,” “Tight Connection to My Heart (Has Anybody Seen My Love),” “Slow Train,” “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Make You Feel My Love,” “Girl from the North Country,” “Señor (Tales of Yankee Power)” “Is Your Love in Vain?” and “Forever Young.”
The musical’s development was completed in 2017. It premiered at The Old Vic in Waterloo, London, from July until October of that same year. It had a successful run, which led to it transferring to the West End. It ran at the Noël Coward Theatre from December 2017 until March the following year.
Rearing for its entrance to the US, the musical opened Off-Broadway at The Public Theater from September to December 2018. Girl From The North Country opened on Broadway at the Belasco Theatre in February 2020. Due to the pandemic, its production closed. It reopened in October 2021.
Moreover, international productions sprouted in many countries. A Toronto production opened at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in 2019. In 2022, an Australia/New Zealand tour production started. At the same time, a UK/Ireland tour commenced.
During the 2018 Laurence Olivier Award, the musical was nominated for six awards. It won two awards, both for “Best Actress.” On its Broadway run, it was nominated for seven awards and won “Best Orchestrations.” Meanwhile, it received a “Best Musical Theater Album” nomination during the 2020 Grammy Awards.
Consequently, a film adaptation is set to come out with McPherson as the writer and director. The lead cast will be Olivia Colman, Woody Harrelson, Chloe Bailey, and Tosin Cole.
The Girl from the North Country will be shown at the Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco, California. Immerse yourself in a story of hope and resilience paired with great music from the best songwriter.