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Bob Dylan musical set in Duluth to launch national tour in Minneapolis

"Girl From the North Country," incorporating 20 Dylan songs, will play at the Orpheum Theatre in fall 2023.

A Black woman sings into a vintage microphone, wearing a white dress and looking distraught. In the background, numerous additional actors are seen in a cluster out of focus.
Jeannette Bayardelle and other cast members perform in the Broadway production of "Girl From the North Country."
Contributed / Matthew Murphy
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MINNEAPOLIS — "Girl From the North Country," the stage musical incorporating 20 songs by Bob Dylan, will launch a national tour with a run of shows at the Orpheum Theatre in fall 2023.

In a news release, the Hennepin Theatre Trust — the nonprofit organization that owns and manages the historic venue — noted that "the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis is only two hours from Bob Dylan’s hometown, Duluth, Minn. and the setting of 'Girl From the North Country.'" (Dylan must drive fast.)

Mark Nerenhausen, Hennepin Theatre Trust president and CEO, did not fail to note in the news release that "Bob Dylan owned the Orpheum during the 1970s and 1980s making this a full circle moment of celebration of his iconic music and storytelling."

The woman rumored to be the subject of Bob Dylan's song "Girl from the North Country" died last week in California, according to friends and Dylanophiles.

The musical, with a script by Irish playwright Conor McPherson, has received generally positive reviews. After premiering at London's Old Vic in 2017, it opened Off-Broadway in 2018 and then on Broadway in 2020. It's currently playing through June 11 at Broadway's Belasco Theatre, and has been nominated for seven Tony Awards including Best Musical. This year's awards ceremony will be held June 12.

The play is set in a fictional guesthouse in Duluth, the city of Dylan's 1941 birth, during the Great Depression. It examines the lives and stories of the people who pass through. "Backed by an onstage string band, songs take on alternative meanings, gather momentum and discover new depth," wrote Mark Nicklawske in a News Tribune review.

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Technical rehearsals for the tour will also take place in Minneapolis. Specific dates, casting, and tour itinerary have yet to be announced.

In a 2020 interview with Douglas Brinkley, Dylan himself praised the show. "The play had me crying at the end," said Dylan. "I can’t even say why. When the curtain came down, I was stunned. I really was. Too bad Broadway shut down because I wanted to see it again."

Arts and entertainment reporter Jay Gabler joined the Duluth News Tribune in February 2022. His previous experience includes eight years as a digital producer at The Current (Minnesota Public Radio), four years as theater critic at Minneapolis alt-weekly City Pages, and six years as arts editor at the Twin Cities Daily Planet. He's a co-founder of pop culture and creative writing blog The Tangential; and a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can reach him at jgabler@duluthnews.com or 218-279-5536.
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