Copious Notes

Lexington native’s next role is in Bob Dylan musical coming to New York this fall

Lexington-native Colton Ryan performed The Beatles’ “With a Little Help from my Friends” to open his set in January’s “Concert With the Stars.” He’s slated to be in the New York Public Theatre production of the Bob Dylan musical “Girl From the North Country.”
Lexington-native Colton Ryan performed The Beatles’ “With a Little Help from my Friends” to open his set in January’s “Concert With the Stars.” He’s slated to be in the New York Public Theatre production of the Bob Dylan musical “Girl From the North Country.” rcopley@herald-leader.com

Speaking of Lexingtonians on Broadway, or at least New York stages, we got a bead on what’s next for SCAPA grad Colton Ryan, who made his Broadway debut in the 2016 Tony Award-winner “Dear Evan Hansen.”

Ryan’s next stage role will be in “Girl From the North Country” by Conor McPherson with music and lyrics by Bob Dylan at New York’s Off Broadway Public Theatre, a house with a strong Kentucky connection as Frankfort’s George C. Wolfe served as its artistic director from 1993 to 2004.

Set in Dylan’s hometown of Duluth, Minnesota in 1934, the story focuses on a family that runs a guesthouse facing foreclosure. Potential homelessness is just one of the major struggles facing the Laines. Ryan will play Gene Laine, an aspiring writer struggling with alcoholism and other issues. Gene is the son of Nick and Elizabeth Laine, who will be played at the Public by Tony nominees Stephen Bogardus and Mare Winningham, known for film roles such as “St. Elmo’s Fire” (1985).

There are 19 Dylan songs in the show, including “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Idiot Wind” and the title tune. Using the London cast recording as a guide, Ryan will share the classic “I Want You” with Caitlin Houlahan as Katherine Draper.

“Girl from the North Country” premiered to critical acclaim at London’s Old Vic theatre last July and then transferred to the West End at the Noël Coward Theatre for a limited run from December to March.

“Dylan fans will find it fascinating and ingenious, nothing like the standard jukebox musical,” The Times of London’s Dominic Maxwell wrote in his review of the West End production. “Taking old ingredients as his starting point, McPherson has come up with something bewitchingly original. It’s pure stage magic.”

The show will run Sept. 11 until Nov. 4 at The Public. It then transfers to Toronto’s Prince of Wales Theatre, opening Feb. 11, 2019. There’s no word as to whether there are Broadway plans for the show.

Ryan last appeared in Lexington as part of The Lexington Theatre Company’s Concert With the Stars in January.

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