‘Girl From the North Country,’ With Bob Dylan Songs, Is Bound for Broadway
“Girl From the North Country,” a musical that uses the songs of Bob Dylan to illuminate the heartache and hard times facing Depression-era denizens of a Midwestern boardinghouse, is coming to Broadway.
The show is written and directed by Conor McPherson, an Irish playwright who has had three previous plays on Broadway, “The Weir,” “Shining City” and “The Seafarer.” It is scheduled to begin performances Feb. 7 and to open March 5 at the Belasco Theater.
Set in Duluth, Minn., in 1934 — seven years before Mr. Dylan was born there — the show is a work of fiction that explores the themes and ideas suggested by the songwriter’s music.
“It’s about how people are trying to deal with being alive in the world, and struggling to fulfill their dreams, and it invites the bigger questions — the stuff of plays and art and songs,” Mr. McPherson said. “And it feels like a lot of the uncertainties of the 1930s seem to be back — the sense of destabilization that was around then, where people feel a little unsafe. That time speaks to our time, for sure.”
“Girl From the North Country” began its production history at London’s Old Vic Theater in 2017, transferred to the West End, and then had an Off Broadway run last year at the Public Theater. A Canadian production is scheduled at Royal Alexandra Theater in Toronto this fall.
Mr. McPherson said he continues to work on the material. “This will be the fourth or fifth time I’ve had a go at it, and you always make changes,” he said. “And every time I’ve done it, I’ve managed to slip another song in.”
Mr. Dylan, who did not show up in Stockholm for the ceremony at which his own Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded (he later submitted a lecture), gave Mr. McPherson carte blanche to use his song catalog. But Mr. McPherson professed not to know whether Mr. Dylan has ever seen the show. “I think he may have, but I wasn’t there, and I can’t really comment — that’s not for me to answer,” he said. As to whether Mr. Dylan would be invited to the opening night on Broadway, Mr. McPherson said: “He’s invited every single night. Any time.”
The lead producers are Tristan Baker and Charlie Parsons of Runaway Entertainment.