Most musicians who see their catalog turned into a Broadway musical are usually involved in the show somehow: They’re either a producer, or they’re part of the show’s development, or they show up to rehearsals and performances. But if the last six decades have taught us anything, it’s that Bob Dylan isn’t “most musicians.”
Award-winning Irish playwright Conor McPherson submitted his idea for the musical, which, a Dylan source tells Billboard, the rock legend loved.
Girl from the North Country is about a group of people who visit a boarding house in Dylan’s home state of Minnesota during the depression. It features more than 20 of Dylan’s songs, according to Billboard, but most are lesser-known. However, there are some hits, including “Forever Young” and “Like a Rolling Stone.”
“What Conor had was a fully imagined idea that didn’t have anything to do with who Bob is,” says the source. “It was a natural thing to say yes to.”
But after that, McPherson didn’t hear another word from Dylan: He was informed that he could use any song in his catalog, he was sent a care package of about 50 albums, and that was that.
“[Dylan] spends a lot of the year on the road,” the source tells Billboard. “He just trusts he found the right person and doesn’t try to make them do something else.”
However, Dylan did make one appearance: He turned up to an early New York production of the show in 2018 and met the cast. Sadly, McPherson wasn’t there.
“I haven’t met him,” McPherson tells Billboard. “And I probably never will.”
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