Closed 2h 30m
Girl From The North Country
East Village
79

Girl From The North Country NYC Reviews and Tickets

79%
(262 Reviews)
Positive
80%
Mixed
16%
Negative
4%
Members say
Great singing, Absorbing, Great staging, Great acting, Disappointing

Following a run at London’s Old Vic and a West End transfer, the new show from Olivier winner and Tony Award nominee Conor McPherson and music icon Bob Dylan makes its American premiere.

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Member Reviews (262)

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64
Disappointing, Great staging, Cliche ridden, Inconsistent, Great music

See it if You can forgive a rather ludicrous cliche ridden and wooden book in order to experience great music beautifully staged and sung.

Don't see it if You cannot forgive a bad book.

67
Ambitious, Good ensemble acting, singing, and musicianship, Cliched, Disappointing

See it if you like the music of Bob Dylan and don't mind it being used in a weak, disappointing book.

Don't see it if you want to see a first class musical or prefer drama.

Critic Reviews (37)

October 1st, 2018

"A rich and strange marriage of the talents...If you’re a hard-core Dylan fan, you’ve heard these songs before. But, for me at least, they’ve never sounded quite so heartbreakingly personal and universal at the same time...The most imaginative and inspired use to date of a popular composer’s songbook in this blighted era of the jukebox musical...A uniformly excellent American cast that wears its roles like confining and prickly skins."
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October 1st, 2018

"The show makes Dylan’s songs as unfamiliar as it can; it freezes them in timelessness...'Girl from the North Country' doesn’t have much plot, but it provides a compelling setting for Dylan’s plangent lyrics, whose range encompasses yearning, bitter confusion and grace. McPherson uses Dylan’s songs as atmosphere in the broadest sense: They are the air the characters breathe. And when the musical’s cool gains force, it acquires a piercing chill."
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October 1st, 2018

"The play is a somber, self-serious affair. In searching for the soul in Dylan’s tunes, McPherson, who also directs the show, and his orchestrator and arranger Simon Hale have consistently sapped them of their mischievous spark...'Girl From the North Country' never quite stops feeling like a dirge, and though its large cast is full of marvelous singers, their individual characters are less real people than they are a hodgepodge of archetypal Americana."
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October 14th, 2018

"McPherson attempts to surround several of Dylan’s tunes with a frame vague enough to contain their poetry and broad enough to relate their social truths...A show that fully accepted the challenge of Dylan’s elusive balance between unstable consciousness and tough social fact might have told more of its story through the lives of these two women...A different setting in time might have helped as well...McPherson offers up plenty of people...but never a voice, or a mind, like Dylan’s."
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October 1st, 2018

"Rather than artificially shoehorning songs into a purpose-built narrative, McPherson artfully builds a novelistic tapestry of archetypal figures, the poor and disenfranchised of an America suspended in time, using Dylan's pungently expressive lyrics...These people and their grim situations are carved out of a familiar Americana mold, and yet under McPherson's probing direction, the actors transcend melodramatic cliché, endowing their characters with battered humanity."
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October 1st, 2018

"The challenge of collaborating with this monumental body of work trips up the much-acclaimed McPherson. His words — blustery, profane, biting — never find a way to mesh with the evocative, easy poetry of the troubadour himself...The cast and on-stage band put over the songs well in their new arrangements. But even as you’re tapping your toes, you may well be shaking your head: Why this upbeat rendition of 'The Hurricane' just after tragedy hits?"
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October 1st, 2018

"Some of Dylan’s songs are a poor fit for this highly specific setting...But that doesn’t invalidate McPherson’s insight that Dylan’s narrative lyrics express a sense of existential detachment, of longing for connection that reflect the uncertainties of 1930s America...Better to sit back and just enjoy the music — and credit McPherson with giving each song the gift of clarity. If not always apropos to their dramatic moments, the lyrics are clearly intelligible."
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October 1st, 2018

"For me, the heartbreak is that Conor McPherson, an artist dear to my heart, has written and staged such a disappointing play...More problematic than the loose, decorative deployment of the songs is the play itself. McPherson seems to have ransacked every cliché he could find about American society and culture between the wars, and shoehorned them into a narrative that meanders without momentum."
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October 1st, 2018

"Conor McPherson’s radiant musical is as eccentric and unclassifiable as any fellow traveler of Dylan should be. A remarkable piece of theater, 'Girl' opens tonight at the Public Theater with an impeccable cast...One of the best ensemble performances in recent memory...The Dylan songs – culled from his entire career to date and sung by the uniformly excellent cast – don’t so much unfold the narrative as convey mood and characters’ interiors"
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October 1st, 2018

"The marvelous aural effect created on the stage by writer-director Conor McPherson and 16 other cast members is of hardship and disappointment ennobled by the healing power of song...The voices of the playwright and songwriter coalesce harmoniously; they seem to be in conversation with each other...'North Country' is a breakthrough for the songbook form...If this wrenching gaggle of souls doesn’t migrate next to a home uptown, then it will be Broadway that is the poorer."
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October 1st, 2018

"Bleak, enigmatic and haunting piece...In lesser hands, the show may have felt static or unduly depressing. But under McPherson’s focused direction, and with shaded performances from the cast, it proves to be unusually transfixing. Whether you call it a musical, a drama, or something else entirely, 'Girl from the North Country' makes for remarkable theater."
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October 1st, 2018

"It's an unusual work in a stirring production that's bound to get under your skin...The work requires an emotional investment that's not easy at first. But thanks to Dylan's searing poetry, featured in some 20 songs, McPherson's brutally honest portraits and a talent pool that's miles deep, the humanity shines through warts and all...Every member of this large ensemble, including onstage musicians, is sublime."
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October 1st, 2018

"An extraordinary musical, unlike any currently playing in New York...Hunger rumbles off the stage in McPherson's urgently staged production, with earthy, emotionally raw performances from the entire cast...By incorporating its big, contemplative set pieces into a difficult, complicated story of American life, 'Girl From the North Country' draws on the deeper traditions of opera and American folk music to create something that feels avant-garde by the current standards of Broadway."
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October 2nd, 2018

“McPherson’s lovely, introspective drama that incorporates selections from the extraordinary songbook of...Bob Dylan...Performed quite beautifully by the wondrous ensemble...McPherson doesn't present a plot as much as a collage of encounters reflecting the kind of working class struggles Dylan wrote about. The songs don't come out of the dialogue but play more like unspoken spiritual cries...A thoughtful and compelling collaboration between two master storytellers.”
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October 2nd, 2018

"The potential for drama is everywhere....But the focus keeps shifting to the Dylan numbers...As arranged by Hale and performed by the gifted cast, the songs often land more strongly than the book scenes...The songs connect to the action in only the most general sense...It is, I suppose, possible to enjoy as a series of vignettes caught on the fly and thrown up against the Dylan numbers, but the satisfactions of drama are largely missing from this singular entertainment."
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October 1st, 2018

“Bleak and stunning...What truly makes 'Girl from the North Country' take wing is the marriage of storytelling and music...There are a few holes in the story-telling, some strands that are left hanging, and what seems to be a misplaced upbeat coda intended to cut through the gloom. But between the performances, McPherson's direction, and the extraordinary music, ‘Girl from...’ is an undeniably magnificent theatrical work that reminds us why Dylan recently won the Nobel Prize."
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October 1st, 2018

"Powerful, ever-poetic Dylan songs have been exquisitely arranged as various solo, ensemble, and choral numbers by Simon Hale, the production’s music supervisor, and they are beautifully performed by a company of top-flight artists...The downside of 'Girl From the North Country' is that McPherson’s saga is so heavily stacked with sorrows that the show threatens to become a thoroughly depressing event rather than a deeply poignant occasion."
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October 2nd, 2018

"If McPherson’s characters shall not be released from their suffering, the playwright allows them, and us, deliverance through Dylan’s music—gloriously arranged by Hale, whose orchestrations embrace Dylan’s roots while providing soulful showcases for singers...If Dylan recognized youth as fleeting, he also extolled its virtues with as much urgency as irony. His and McPherson’s shared ability to find beauty in longing alone make 'Girl From the North Country' transporting and transcendent."
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October 12th, 2018

"Set in a dark time, 'Girl From the North Country' creates a community on stage as do the best plays and musicals. Its tale of lost souls attempting to keep their heads above water is universal in both its message and its approach. Conor McPherson has never written so accessible a play before for Americans, and Bob Dylan's songs have never sounded so poignant. 'Girl from the North Country' is both unforgettable and not to be missed."
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October 1st, 2018

“First among equals is Mare Winningham as Nick's mentally challenged wife Elizabeth. While her mind may not be all there, she is not so far gone that she is neither unaware of Nick's affair with Mrs. Nielsen (Jeanette Bayardelle) nor of the unhappiness of her children, the hard-drinking Gene (Colton Ryan) and the sullen, pregnant Marianne (Kimber Sprawl). Winningham is often very funny yet ultimately poignant, and her renditions of Dylan's best-known numbers are simply indelible.”
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October 2nd, 2018

“A completely fresh and different kind of musical, that despite the bleakness of its setting and plot will send the audience out exhilarated...While most of the cast has straight drama as well as musical theater credentials, some who are best known in one area surprise us with the way they handle the other...McPherson has succeeded in creating a production that has Dylan's music beautifully and completely integrated into this portrait of of his home town during the Depression."
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October 2nd, 2018

“One of those once-in-a-lifetime productions...The story by McPherson could not be more simple...Extraordinary cast...These are songs that you have never heard before even if you have heard them before. The arrangements and these voices seem to pull the lyrics down from the rafters and weave them into story...The panoply of events rolls out with excruciating detail and slowly seeps over the footlights into your core.”
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November 6th, 2018

"Utilizing Dylan’s inimitable songbook as the emotional core of the piece, the story floats out like a lyrical poem tinged with perfectly orchestrated music and songs...The smooth and gently soulful piece, filled to the brim with desperation and hopelessness, blends compassion with desire...The music wraps us in sadness and warmth, all at the same time, ushering us into and out of something so mystically beautiful, that it is almost too difficult to pin down."
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October 2nd, 2018

“The abundance of characters is occasionally overwhelming, but McPherson wisely narrows the focus in key moments...The songs are so potent and the design is so atmospheric that I couldn’t help but consider if McPherson’s book scenes live up to everything happening around them...Some of the plot threads end up frayed and unfulfilling...The structural, tonal, and musical achievements of the production are thrilling, though."
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October 5th, 2018

"What makes 'Girl from the North Country'…so special…is the showcase it provides for one magnificent cover after another of Dylan's oeuvre…thanks largely to the extraordinary orchestrations…Because of the show's position between a straight play and a musical, not everyone can avoid overacting...Dylan's lyrics often have little to do with the moments they illustrate…More significant than their specificity is their emotional value…Every song sounds freshly minted."
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October 1st, 2018

"A slow, sad, elliptical and occasionally exquisite theater piece...The odd pairing of McPherson’s scenes of hard luck lives with Dylan’s songs of yearning, delivered by a splendid 17-member cast, work better than you might expect, but not as well as you might have hoped...The playwright...seems more interested in presenting a community than in focusing on individual characters...The saving grace are the songs, aided by Hale’s orchestrations and the performers’ powerhouse singing."
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October 1st, 2018

"The abundance of characters and the necessity to make room for songs limits the ability to develop any character in depth and rushes the exposition...Many of the plot threads seem overly familiar while others are abruptly dropped without resolution. The songs, while beautifully performed, rarely seemed closely linked to particular events or characters. While it was a pleasure to see so many fine actors on stage, I was sorry that they did not have more opportunity to act."
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October 1st, 2018

"The use of a narrator often means that a screenplay is in trouble. That goes double for a play or musical, not that this doctor is much help...McPherson calls his book for this musical a 'play,' which is apt. The songs aren’t so much integrated into the plot as they are dropped...The voices here are superb, and McPherson’s staging is most effective when he’s using his large cast as back-up singers...But often I had to try to forget the story to enjoy the music."
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October 2nd, 2018

“If we just assembled to hear the many haunting songs by Dylan as sung by cast members...the experience would be enough of a treat. But McPherson pursued the idea of combining Dylan’s music and lyrics with a story to which they could be emotionally matched...It turns out to be a very creative fit that makes the musical extra fascinating...Here and there fitting a Dylan song into a situation may be slightly strained, but mostly the concept works exceedingly well."
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October 9th, 2018

"Rather diffuse, pale, and soulless...Though visually and aurally appealing, lacks intensity and vitality...Feels more like a schematic play with music (and a weak one at that), than an integrated musical...McPherson does little to give them a compelling voice or story arc. Instead, in the end, the lights fade on the characters, defeated and dead—the beauty of their tragedy lost on me, despite the lovely singing and stagecraft behind the footlights."
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October 1st, 2018

"As beautifully sung, staged, and played as his music is, Bob Dylan can feel a little in the way in 'Girl From the North Country.' The songs don’t add to what we see in front of us; they luxuriantly, resonantly echo what we know rather than deepen McPherson’s troubled characters. This production is beautiful in so many ways, but this critic ultimately wanted less of a musical master and more of the playwright’s vision."
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October 13th, 2018

"There is a kind of intuitive sense, then, in using Dylan's songs for a not-quite-jukebox-musical about the Great Depression...And the result is sincere and moving, a lovely little melodrama. In 'Girl from the North Country,' we hear snatches of Dylan rather than full renditions, creating a greater sense of fluidity between music and speech while also avoiding the pitfall of reverse engineering the narrative from the lyrics."
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October 1st, 2018

"Approached by Dylan to create a piece of theater using his music, McPherson has come up with a gripping play that defies categorization...With stunning new arrangements by Simon Hale, the music gives the play plenty to justify its hot-ticket status."
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October 4th, 2018

"One needn’t be a devotee of Bob Dylan to appreciate how the poetry of his song fits an Irish poetic vision of Depression-era America...Simon Hale has beautifully arranged and orchestrated Dylan’s songs for a band of four...The entire cast is excellent...In this haunting and beautiful 'Girl From the North Country,' the Irish McPherson and Dylan, the American, illuminate the dream still alive."
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M
November 10th, 2018

"The quintessence of great theater. It's an ingenious production...Every musical number is comprised by Dylan's songs creating a miraculous theatrical experience that will leave you thunder struck with awe...This production has a unifying colorblindness that blends peaceful harmony in song & dance. The universal themes of pain, loneliness, and unrequited love transcends the era...The storyline moves seamlessly & poignantly to Dylan's lyrics."
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October 2nd, 2018

“A thing of beauty wrapped in sadness...A work of art that is engaging, insightful, and chillingly beautiful...A moving portrait of life...What is even more amazing is the way McPherson has integrated the music of Dylan into the stories of these troubled people...Each song is beautifully sung...This production has a unity and ethos in which every element seems to come together to paint a vivid picture of these people and their trials...A remarkable achievement...The cast is uniformly perfect.”
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B
October 2nd, 2018

"'Mysterious and dark...Like the folk songs that inspire Dylan's best work, the play blends human-scale drama with forces that lie outside the characters' control...Isn't the onstage equivalent of an obvious Dylan masterpiece...it doesn't have that kind of precision or that kind of mass appeal...It makes emotional, if not always logical, sense...At times, it's weird, fascinating fun. At others, it brings Dylan's obsessions to life as vividly as the songs themselves.”
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