5 Questions from Over the Pond: Girl from the North Country's Jeannette Bayardelle & Rachel John
Jeannette Bayerdelle and Rachel John portray Mrs. Nielsen in the acclaimed Bob Dylan tuner...
Over the pond, the celebrated musical Girl from the North Country (which intertwines the greatest hits of music legend Bob Dylan with an original, Great Depression-era story by Irish playwright Conor McPherson) is currently enjoying its second limited West End engagement. As the tuner prepares for its Broadway premiere next month, we thought we'd take this opportunity to pair up a member of the London cast with her New York counterpart for a special Girl from the North Country-themed edition of 5 Questions from Over the Pond... and who better than Jeannette Bayardelle and Rachel John? These two talented ladies previously collaborated for a music video in promotion of the show, offering their moving rendition of Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love."
Set in Duluth, Minnesota (Dylan's hometown) in the winter of 1934, the musical was actually born thousands of miles away in the heart of London (or at the Old Vic Theatre, to be precise). It began its storied journey in July 2017 and, thanks to rave reviews from the British press, a West End transfer to the Noel Coward Theatre was promptly granted, where it enjoyed a limited 12-week run (read Mark Shenton's 5* review). Indeed, the production hit the London theatre scene like a "Hurricane" and received a total of 5 Olivier Award nominations in 2018 (including 'Best New Musical'), with original cast members Shirley Henderson and Sheila Atim taking home trophies in the acting categories.
New York critics were equally as smitten when the tuner debuted at the Public Theater in the fall of 2018 (read our 5* Off-Broadway review), so a Broadway transfer was always going to be on the cards.
Following a Canadian premiere in Toronto last fall, that cast (which includes Ms. John) returned to London for an encore engagement at the Gielgud Theatre, which began on December 10, 2019 and comes to a close on February 1. But the musical is destined to remain "Forever Young" as it then begins performances on Broadway at the Belasco Theatre just a few days later on February 7, with the majority of the Public Theater cast reprising their respective roles on the Great White Way, including Ms. Bayardelle.
So, as London audiences prepare to say one last farewell and Broadway audiences get set to welcome a jukebox musical that is tonally quite the opposite to recent, glitzy but paper-thin offerings in the genre, it's time for 5 Questions from Over the Pond...
1. Rachel: Do you have a pre-show ritual (something you always do before a show)?
Jeannette: Before the show, I always run all my lines. It’s my safety net.
2. Rachel: What is your favourite Bob Dylan song in the show?
Jeannette: “What Can I Do For You”. It’s a song of thanksgiving and gratitude.
3. Rachel: If you could keep one item from Mrs Neilsen’s wardrobe, what would it be?
Jeannette: The red dress she wears when she first enters the stage in Act I. It’s beautifully made and it gives her a royal and confident look.
4. Rachel: What is the last book that you read?
Jeannette: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.
5. Rachel: What is your favourite quote/saying in life?
Jeannette: For the vision is yet for an appointed time but at the end it shall speak and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, and will not tarry.
Check out Broadway star Jeannette Bayardelle's 5 questions for West End star Rachel John on our London Theatre Guide sister site here!
Girl from the North Country Tickets are available now for performances from February 7, 2020.