Review: Girl from the North Country, featuring the music of Bob Dylan

March 7, 2020

Girl from the North Country is hardly a jukebox musical. It's a play, warmly wrapped in the music of Bob Dylan, both familiar and unfamiliar. After successful runs in Toronto, London's West End, and at the Public over the past few years, it has finally landed on Broadway. 

 

The cast that first brought the show to New York is largely intact for the Broadway bow, and they remain just as good. While one wonders how such a small show would fit into the three level Belasco, it works surprisingly well, right down to the disco balls on the ceiling. The production remains as beautiful and as haunting as it did downtown, so it's only fitting to reiterate what I wrote then.

 

"The cast embodies their roles as if they are part of themselves, and it makes for a hauntingly beautiful tale. And, of course, the singing. Rather than being used to push the plot along, the music acts as a reflection of what the characters are thinking. And it is incredibly gorgeous. "I Want You", sung by Gene (Colton Ryan) and Kate (Caitlin Houlahan) is the most reflective of their character's inner thoughts, though moments such as "Like a Rolling Stone", sung by Elizabeth (Mare Winningham), and "Duquesne Whistle", sung by Elias (Todd Almond) are musical theater masterpieces."

 

I urge you to witness these performances in person. They're absolutely stunning, from beginning to end. It's incredible to witness how playwright Conor MacPherson has given life to characters whose feelings are so grounded in Dylan's music, whether that seems improbable or not.

 

"The characters MacPherson has written feel incredibly real. They are human, heartbreaking, and achingly beautiful. His writing, combined with Dylan's timeless music, leave the audience thinking about what they are witnessing, and rooting for everyone on that stage, no matter the flaws they have. And though it is sometimes dark and saddening, it leaves you with a glimmer of hope, brought through the energy and soul with which cast sings the songs, bringing light to the stage. And what a light it is."

 

 

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