Bob Dylan-infused ‘Girl From the North Country’ hits high notes, then stalls | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

“Girl From the North Country” has brilliant sparks but no sustained fire.

The Broadway show that pairs songs from Bob Dylan’s catalog with Conor McPherson’s character-driven drama, has launched a 26-city national tour at Minneapolis’ Orpheum Theatre.

From the haunting opening through the rousing coda — and you will want to stay for the gospel-inflected uplift that comes after the plaintive narrative ends — this ballyhooed production is studded with gorgeous moments. But those flashes of brilliance do not cohere into something urgent and vital. And “Girl” loses its energy and oxygen along the way.

Pacing has a lot to do with the sense of inertia, both in McPherson’s direction and in the songs, which have been orchestrated by Tony winner Simon Hale.

“Girl” is neither a musical nor a play. McPherson stages the action as a kind of Chekhovian drama, taking his cue from the mellow, twangy tempo so often employed by Minnesota’s Nobel Prize-winning troubadour.

Hale’s arrangements, which are mostly slow to midtempo, also leave us hankering for more energy (and for complete songs).

“Girl” tells a story of restless sojourners moving through a struggling boardinghouse in Depression-era Duluth. The inn is run by Nick Laine (John Schiappa), whose wife, Elizabeth (Jennifer Blood), has dementia and whose mistress, the widow Mrs. Neilsen (Carla Woods), also lives in the house and is kind to Elizabeth.

(This love triangle recalls the one around fashion icon and businesswoman B Smith, whose husband moved his lover into the family home after Smith became ill.)

The guest list also includes the Laines’ mentally challenged son Gene (Ben Biggers), their adopted Black daughter Marianne (Sharaé Moultrie), whom Nick would like to have marry aging child predator Mr. Perry (Jay Russell), plus various renters.

This chamber show is Minnesota-centric with lots of references to towns, cities and the weather. (Pelican Rapids is the butt of one well-placed joke.) It has a large 17-member ensemble that includes some multitalented performers (actor-singer-drummer Jill Van Velzer, who plays Mrs. Burke, deserves all her flowers). Blood is deeply affecting as Elizabeth and her moving delivery of “Like a Rolling Stone” is a highlight of the production even though she takes an interminable 10-second pause between the verse and the chorus.

The soulful Matt Manuel also stands out as wrongly convicted boxer Joe Scott trying to make a way out of no way. And Ben Biggers and Chiara Trentalange blend beautifully on “I Want You,” about two young lovers who can’t be together.

McPherson has given these characters surprising depth as all are leaning, sometimes literally, thanks to Lucy Lind’s poignant choreography, into life against the odds. Manuel’s Scott leans by left hook. He wants to go to Chicago and give a new life a go. Will Marianne, who is pregnant by someone else, go with him?

McPherson, who is Irish, and Lind, who is from South Africa, use diverse casting in a fresh way that also helps with the show’s soulfulness. However, it does have a couple of jarring notes — Gene overuses “boy” as he weirdly picks a fight with Joe and Joe unnecessarily drops the N-word.

Truth be told, most people who go to “Girl” go for Dylan’s music. The two dozen or so songs have been excerpted, tweaked and rearranged to shed new light on Dylan’s talent, even as story and music mostly run parallel instead of folding into each other.

“Girl” has a lot of aches — of the characters’ pain and longing, but also of their hunger for connection. As “I Want You” is reprised in a different context in the second act, we are reminded that love, in its many shades, can be its own redemption.

‘Girl From the North Country’

Who: Written and directed by Conor McPherson. Music by Bob Dylan.

Where: Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.

When: 7:30 p.m. Wed.-Fri., 2 & 7:30 p.m. Sat.

Tickets: $40-$159.

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