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  • Megan Kudla

Girl From The North Country Brings Bob Dylan’s Musical Storytelling to Broadway

A young man and woman hold hands and gaze at one another in Girl From the North Country North American Tour
Sharaé Moultrie and Matt Manuel in the GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY North American tour. Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

Bob Dylan, groundbreaking American musician, with a Nobel Prize for Literature (among many other accolades), has permeated widespread music and culture for decades. It seems about time his music found its way to Broadway; Girl From The North Country weaves the soul and storytelling of Dylan into themes of both aspiration and great tragedy. Girl From The North Country is currently playing at the CIBC Theatre (18 w. Monroe) in Chicago through February 25, 2024.

 

Just like where Dylan himself was born, our story begins in Duluth, Minnesota. We take a leap back in time to 1934 and find ourselves in the countryside, where a family is scraping by whilst running a guesthouse that is rapidly filling with “wayward travelers” who are all struggling through their own hardships and personal traumas.


A family sits at a table and laughs in Girl From the North Country North American Tour
L-R Ben Biggers, Sharaé Moultrie, Jennifer Blood and John Schiappa in the GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY North American Tour. Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.

Storytelling is at the heart of Dylan’s body of work, and Girl From The North Country reflects this tradition by providing a narrator (Dr. Walker, Alan Ariano) who drops us into a small kitchen and introduces us to the cast of characters, beginning with the Laine family (Gene Laine, Ben Biggers; Marianne Laine, Sharaé Moultrie; Nick Laine, John Schiappa; Elizabeth Laine, Jennifer Blood)—and eventually their house of guests. As these characters’ lives unfold, they each share their most vulnerable heartbreaks directly to the audience by grabbing an old-fashioned microphone and crooning the passionate words of Dylan.

 

And, my, were these moments of song moving. The cast members, individually, were soulful vocalists; together, they built a choir of layered voices that seemed to cut right to the heart of what folk music is all about: the trials and tribulations of humanity. Add the warm lighting reminiscent of country sunset glow and the old radio in the corner playing softly, and you’re transported to a place of nostalgia, of regret, and of hope for those who may have lost their own faith and direction.


A man in a suit sings as a crowd of clapping people dance behind him in Girl From the North Country North American Tour
Aidan Wharton and the cast of the GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY North American Tour. Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.

It's a profound performance of talented artists who draw you in emotionally right from the start. The weight of Dylan’s music and lyrics is supported and bolstered by the gut-wrenching stories of those trying to reconcile fate and choice in every second of a callous life.


For more information about Girl From The North Country, you can visit www.northcountrytour.com. Tickets for the Chicago performance start at $35, and you can purchase them on www.BroadwayInChicago.com.

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