Girl from the North Country: Bob Dylan’s musical rekindles Auckland’s Civic Theater

After two years in obscurity, the bright lights of Queen St’s Civic Theater are back for the internationally acclaimed musical Bob Dylan, North Country Girlopen now until July 16.

Connor Macpherson’s moving sensation opens after sold-out tours of the West End and Broadway, where it became one of the most award-winning productions of the century.

Theater enthusiasts will rejoice when the curtains rise on the venue’s first international musical since 2020. The frenzied blockbuster promises a thunderous return after an extended theater closure in Auckland.

Executive producer Rob Brookman harnesses the power of theater to transform spaces and transport people. “Audiences can expect everything great about Dylan’s music, but just told in a way you’ve never experienced before,” he said. Things.

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The musical stars Christina O'Neill, Lisa McCune and Peter Caroll.

Provided / Stuff

The musical stars Christina O’Neill, Lisa McCune and Peter Caroll.

Theater has been one of the industries hardest hit by Covid-19, and Brookman says the musical’s path to its New Zealand premiere has been rocky with disruption.

“We danced around Covid throughout the production process…our auditions were all done via Zoom, which is kind of weird, but surprisingly, we ended up with Team A.”

The musical’s opening night has been moved to July 5 due to ongoing worldwide shipping and freight disruptions, delaying the arrival of Depression-era sets and costumes in Auckland .

The pent-up demand for such a big-budget show follows the cancellation of the Auckland Arts Festival and the cancellation of Wicked the Musical‘s the whole theater run.

For Bob Dylan aficionados, Brookman promises there are new delights: “Dylan’s catalog is over 600 songs, so we can only capture a tiny percentage, so audiences can expect to songs performed in incredible arrangements thanks to a sublimely talented cast in those arrangements. where the choral singing is beautiful, and the gospel work is amazing, it’s such a rich world in terms of music. You will hear Like a rolling stone, forever Young, Hurricane … songs like this, performed in a way that is simply thrilling to hear.

The musical's popularity amid the pandemic reflects its own message - that, even in dark times, there will be a cause for singing and dancing.

Provided / Stuff

The musical’s popularity amid the pandemic reflects its own message – that, even in dark times, there will be a cause for singing and dancing.

The lasting impact of Dylan’s songs is undeniable, but musical champions have understated gems alongside No. 1 hits, says Brookman: “One in particular, Close connection to my heart, which I had never really met… is rearranged into probably one of the most heartbreaking love songs I have ever heard. Many people burst into tears. »

Dylan’s anthems sink deep into the American consciousness, singing of its darkness and desolation, but North Country Girl tells an uplifting story – a catchy tale of wayward souls coming together in a flophouse in the midst of the Great Depression. Despite its difficulties, says Brookman, the story is ultimately a story of hope.

“The overwhelming feeling at the end is life affirming, it’s the feeling that we’re going to move on.

“In fact, the last song on the show is a brilliant gospel number, By pressingand it’s all about how we got through this and there’s a better future ahead of us, so it feels super relevant to the times right now.

The exuberant blockbuster promises a thunderous return after an extended theater closure in Auckland.

Abigail Dougherty / Stuff

The exuberant blockbuster promises a thunderous return after an extended theater closure in Auckland.

The musical’s popularity amid the pandemic reflects its own message – that, even in dark times, there will be a cause for singing and dancing.

The premiere sends a signal to the city that the theater has rebounded – for the June 30 media call, the cast performed two songs outside the Civic for Queen Street audiences.

For a moment Auckland’s drizzly rain stopped, sunlight hit the civic pavement and the street came to a standstill, as Hurricane arose in his choir. Journos, tourists, street sweepers and city workers rubbed shoulders, stamped their feet and welcomed the music back. The times, they change.