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Girl From the North Comes to SLC!

Photos by Melissa Cohen (BOND Theatrical)

The Tony Winning Musical, Girl From the North, book by Conor McPherson and music and lyrics by Bob Dylan, opened this week at the Eccles Theatre in Salt Lake City. The production was an experience that captivated the audience from start to finish with a cast of incredible talent. This production, set against the backdrop of the Great Depression in Duluth, Minnesota, intertwined narratives of hardship, love, and redemption brought to life through a stellar cast, evocative sets, period-authentic costumes, and hauntingly beautiful music.

The heart of the production was carried by the performances of the main characters. At the center was Nick Laine, played by the seasoned actor John Schiappa, whose portrayal of a struggling guesthouse owner was both poignant and powerful. His wife, Elizabeth Laine, suffering from dementia, was brought to life by understudy Kelly McCormick, whose performance oscillated between moments of lucid sharpness and heart-wrenching confusion, evoking a deep emotional response from the audience. Their daughter, Marianne, portrayed by understudy Ashley D. Brooks, added layers of complexity with her keen spirit grappling with the mysteries of her past. Standout performances also included Aidan Wharton as Elias Burke, a guest at the Laine’s boarding house, and understudy Rayla Garske as Mrs. Neilsen, Nick’s lover who dreams of a better future.

The set design was nothing short of mesmerizing. The recreation of the 1930s boarding house, with its worn furniture and muted color palette, added a layer of authenticity that transported the audience to another era. The creative use of lighting effectively contrasted the warmth of the boarding house’s interior with the harsh, cold exteriors, reflecting the emotional landscape of the characters.

The costumes played a crucial role in bringing the era to life. Designed by the talented Rae Smith, each piece reflected the Depression-era struggles while maintaining a sense of individuality for each character. From Elizabeth’s tattered dresses to Marianne’s simple yet elegant attire, the costumes offered a visual narrative that complemented the characters’ stories and circumstances. The attention to period detail, including the fabrics and accessories, was impeccable, helping to immerse the audience fully in the time period.

The original music was one of the highlights of the evening. The score, composed by acclaimed musician Bob Dylan, seamlessly blended with the narrative, enhancing the emotional depth of each scene. The haunting melodies, often featuring a melancholic piano or soulful harmonica, echoed the struggles and hopes of the characters. Each musical number was executed with precision and passion, leaving a lasting impression on the audience. To add to the beauty of the music, the onstage musicians that came and went as characters was a fun and different addition to this production.

Girl From the North at the Eccles Theatre delivered an unforgettable opening night, with remarkable performances, evocative sets, period-accurate costumes, and a soul-stirring musical score. I will make a note, that it is not your typical musical that is an easy “sit back and enjoy” production. Instead it is a thought provoking and at times confusing story to unfold. I found myself thinking through story pieces and how they tied together well after curtain. All that to say, I loved the production and would love to see it again. It is a must-see production for any theater enthusiast or anyone looking to experience a poignant and beautifully crafted story.

Girl From The North Country plays at Eccles Theater through June 16, 2024. For tickets, call ArtTix at 801-355-ARTS (2787) or visit

June 13, 2024

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