Girl from the North Country is a musical with a book by Conor McPherson using the songs of Bob Dylan. The play premiered at The Old Vic, in London running from 8 July to 7 October 2017, directed by McPherson. The production made it’s North American premiere Off-Broadway at The Public Theater in New York from September 11 to December 23, 2018.
More About Girl From The North Country musical
Duluth, Minnesota, a city on the shores of Lake Superior. It’s the winter of 1934 and America is in the grip of the Great Depression. The story is narrated by Dr. Walker, physician to the Laine family. Nick Laine is the proprietor of a rundown guesthouse. The bank is threatening to foreclose on the property and he is desperate to find a way to save his family from homelessness. His wife, Elizabeth, is suffering from a form of dementia which propels her from catatonic detachment to childlike, uninhibited outbursts which are becoming difficult to manage. Their children are Gene, who is in his early twenties, and their adopted daughter, Marianne, who is nineteen.
Marianne is five months pregnant and the identity of the father is a mystery she guards carefully. Nick is trying to arrange a marriage between Marianne and a local shoe mender, Mr. Perry, in order to secure her future. The social awkwardness is complicated by the fact that Marianne is a black girl living with a white family. She was abandoned in the guesthouse as a baby and brought up by Nick and Elizabeth.
Gene is unable to get a grip on his life, and veers between ambitions of becoming a writer and debilitating alcohol binges, a situation not helped when his sweetheart, Kate, announces she is getting married to a man with better prospects. Nick has become involved in a relationship with a resident of the guest house, Mrs. Neilsen, a widow who is waiting for her late husband’s will to clear probate. They dream of a better future when her money comes through, although she scolds Nick for his constant pessimism.
Also staying at the house are a family, the Burkes. Mr. Burke lost his business in the crash. His wife, Laura, and his son, Elias, share a room upstairs. Elias has a learning disability and the family struggle to come to terms with their reduced state. Late at night, during a storm, a self-styled reverend cum bible salesman, Marlowe, and a down-on-his-luck boxer, Joe Scott, arrive looking for shelter. The arrival of these characters is a catalyst, changing everything for everyone in the house.
Bob Dylan’s Songs In The Musical
Nineteen Bob Dylan songs are performed by the cast throughout the play. Each is backed by instruments from the 1930s. The Original London Cast Recording was made at Abbey Road in August 2017, and released by Silvertone/Sony Music on CD in September 2017 and double vinyl in December 2017. Songs include:
- Sign On The Window
- Went To See The Gypsy
- Tight Connection to My Heart (Has Anybody Seen My Love)
- Slow Train
- License To Kill
- I Want You
- Like A Rolling Stone
- Make You Feel My Love
- You Ain’t Going Nowhere
- Sweetheart Like You
- True Love Tends To Forget
- Girl from the North Country
- Idiot Wind
- Duquesne Whistle
- Señor (Tales of Yankee Power)
- Is Your Love In Vain?
- Forever Young