Bob Dylan has signed off on shifting “Lady From the North Nation,” a brand new musical common round his music catalog, to Broadway within the spring, sources inform The Put up.
The musical, which debuted final yr on the Outdated Vic in London, opened to sturdy evaluations this week on the Public Theater. There isn’t a seat available for the remainder of its run. (It closes Dec. 23.)
Its British producers are scrambling to lift cash to maneuver the present to the Walter Kerr Theatre, the place Bruce Springsteen has been holding court docket for a yr.
However Shubert Alley cynics are skeptical concerning the present’s probabilities exterior the rarified environment of the Public, however a evaluate from Instances critic Ben Brantley, who known as the present “bleak,” “lovely,” “haunting” and “fatalistic.”
There’s, he wrote, “an environment of despair that finds grace in a communion of voices.”
I haven’t seen “Lady From the North Nation,” however each time I come throughout a phrase like “grace in a communion of voices,” I believe I’d slightly be at “Mamma Mia!”
A supply within the present says, “It’s bizarre. And miserable.”
A shrewd Broadway investor who’s seen it says: “The present is a complete, crashing bore that can die on Broadway.”
That sounds harsh, however right here’s an outline, so that you decide:
The present is about in Minnesota in a brutal winter throughout the Nice Despair. The lead character manages a run-down boardinghouse stuffed with tenants who can barely pay the weekly hire. There’s an alcoholic, an ex-convict, a girl affected by dementia, an unwed pregnant younger lady and a morphine addict.
Their lives are “blighted,” Brantley says.
(At this level I’m prepared for “Mamma Mia! Right here We Go Once more.”)
The unhappy and lonely proprietor of the boardinghouse hooks up with a tenant who says she’s about to come back into cash. A hidden crime involves gentle, a blackmailer turns up and any individual dies.
Alongside the best way, one character sings an angsty model of “Like a Rolling Stone,” and one other offers a plaintive rendition of “Endlessly Younger.”
Get out your faucet sneakers!
Conor McPherson wrote the script. His performs embrace “The Weir,” “Shining Metropolis” and “The Seafarer.” They’re high-quality works, however bleak, bleak, bleak.
“Lady From the North Nation” is the essence of a Public Theater present. It’s about inequality and the awfulness of capitalism. Critics can evaluate it to the Trump period. Loyal Public subscribers really feel they’ve had a dose of Necessary Theater with some Dylan tunes that can remind the of their hippie days.
Ah, however as soon as the raves are available in, all people sees greenback indicators and needs to make the transfer to Broadway.
The hassle is, miserable reveals about “blighted” lives don’t get a lot traction within the business theater.
“Sweat,” Lynn Nottage’s high-quality up to date play about blighted lives, flopped final season. John Kander and Fred Ebb’s Despair-era musical, “Metal Pier,” was a catastrophe again in 1997; their compelling, 2010 “Scottsboro Boys,” concerning the railroading of harmless black males, lasted two months. A revival of Neil Simon’s “Brighton Seashore Memoirs,” additionally set throughout the Despair, ran for only a week in 2009.
And Dylan doesn’t have a lot of a monitor report on Broadway. “The Instances They Are A-Changin’,” Twyla Tharp’s musical impressed by his songs, was re-christened “The Instances They Are A-Ending” when it closed after a handful of performances in 2006.
However the scramble is on to maneuver “Lady From the North Nation” to the Nice White Approach.
Let’s see how she does.
You may hear Michael Riedel weekdays on “Len Berman and Michael Riedel within the Morning” on WOR radio 710.