During the bleakest moments of life, when all hope seems to be lost, people still find a way to look for the light. This way of orienting oneself by transcending difficult experiences is one of the best natures that we humans have, and this is seen even amongst the hardest periods in life. In the early 20th century, the American population experienced an economic crisis considered one of the darkest periods of the country’s history. The Great Depression took away livelihoods, broke families and homes, and destroyed lives. However, during this moment, there are flickers of hope seen in people, as if defying such a grim experience. Human nature at its best is observed.
Girl from the North Country is a musical set in this period. It is a tale that tells you upfront that life perseveres even with its constant challenges. Love, growth, and togetherness can grow in such a hostile period of history. The musical takes you on a journey of characters who are flawed but are trying to push through and find meaning in their existence. Set to the songs of the greatest musician in current history, Bob Dylan, this musical will inspire and tug at your heartstrings and will remind you that when you are in need, the best thing to do is look for the light. The musical will be witnessed at the Pantages Theatre this coming spring.
Girl From The North Country Tickets:
“A superb piece of theatre, and you almost run out of superlatives.” – ilovemanchester.com
“A fluent fusion of seeming incompatible elements, “Girl” occupies territory previously unmapped on Broadway, and it speaks its hypnotic language.” – The New York Times
Bob Dylan is considered to be the greatest songwriter currently. He is known for his lyrics that are influenced by literature. He is a musician who understands the power of words. In all of his compositions, there is wit, powerful metaphor and rhyme, and a deep understanding of human experience. That is why it is well deserved for his music to be a part of a story, and what better way to do that than through a stage musical. Several years ago, the celebrated musician felt that his music could be the background to a compelling tale. Motivated, his team reached out to renowned Irish playwright Connor McPherson, who established himself through his stage plays. Among his best works are The Weir, Shining City, and The Seafarer. These works are well-received internationally, most especially on both Broadway and West End. In the beginning, the playwright was doubtful about his capacity to compose a story with Bob Dylan songs as the music. He felt that it was not the best thing to do. With further contemplation, a sudden surge of inspiration came to him while walking in the streets of Dublin. The state of Minnesota suddenly came to his mind and then unraveled to thoughts about the Great Depression in 1934. With a starting point already established, he felt prepared to take on the job and accepted the challenge.
All of McPherson’s work by this time revolved around his hometown. It was going to be his first time to write a story outside of his comfort zone. As a seasoned playwright, he approached this musical the same way he did for his other works, and that is to find a way to connect with the characters he is forming. Doing this strategically is a challenge for him since the characters would be different from the people he had written before and more so that they will be in a different country, a continent away. His guide in this process is the songs of Bob Dylan that tell stories in themselves. He just needed to craft persons out of the songs, and it was good to go. He would also hold the helm as director, which worked for him since he was given free rein to be creative.
On the other hand, Bob Dylan closely worked with the playwright/director throughout the development. His role was to make sure that the music gave justice to the story. Nineteen of his songs are used in this musical.
“A rapturous act of theatrical storytelling” – The Hollywood Reporter
In Girl from the North Country, the plot revolves in 1930s Duluth, Minnesota, a city bordering Lake Superior. A short background of this place during the Great Depression: the city experienced significant losses with ports, and businesses were closing down. At the same time, the city’s biggest banks decided to merge to prevent them from completely failing. In the midst of the 1930s, one-third of the population already lost their jobs. Many of these people decided to leave town and move to other areas. To support the people and continue the city’s economy, the construction of buildings was focused, and people took advantage of the relief programs of the time.
In a fictional guesthouse in this area during the period, the Laine family offers their property as a solace for people who are struggling. The building itself is in danger of foreclosure, and the family is doing their best to prevent such from happening. The characters who reside in the guesthouse have been fighting their own battles. As the story progresses, each of them is explored until all stories come together and a beautiful tapestry of resilience rises above.
In 2017, the musical premiered in London at The Old Vic for three months. It was a huge success, which sealed its move to the West End at the end of the year. The West End production was showcased at the Noël Coward Theatre.
In the US, an Off-Broadway production ran at The Public Theater in 2018. The musical came to Broadway in 2020 at the Belasco Theatre.
Girl from the North Country was well received, which led to it receiving many accolades. The production won two awards out of six nominations for the 2018 Laurence Olivier Award. During the 2020 Tony Awards, it won Best Orchestration out of seven nominations. On the other hand, it received a Grammy nomination for Best Musical Theater Album.
Next year, Girl from the North Country reaches the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles. The musical will be showcased there from May 14 to June 2. If you are looking for an inspirational experience, you need to see this musical!