Girl from the North Country: Interview with Actress Chiara Trentalange

The critically acclaimed Girl from the North Country is making its way to the Forrest Theatre this month. The Tony Award- winning Broadway musical features the legendary music of Bob Dylan. Phindie spoke with Chiara Trentalange, who was an understudy in the Broadway production, and is now playing the role of Kate Draper in the national tour. The Philly native got her start at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, PA, at the age of 12 and has been performing ever since.

[Forrest Theater, 1114 Walnut St.] February 27-March 10, 2024;

Debra Danese: As a Philly native, where did you get your early training?

Chiara Trentalange: Growing up, I performed at The Bucks County Playhouse. It’s where I performed in my first musical theatre production and where I received my first paycheck. I also trained with The Downtown Performing Arts Center, based out of Lambertville, NJ. The community of young theatre artists in the Bucks County area was so incredibly formative for me. It’s where I made connections that are still extremely strong to this day. 

DD: When did you realize you wanted to pursue theatre as a profession?

CT: I knew I wanted to pursue theatre after I did a production of Annie at The Bucks County Playhouse. Yes, I was 12 years old. It was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to me. I was so lucky to have such supportive parents. I’ll never forget my mother driving me from Montgomery County to BCP every day after school, during rush hour. What a saint. My passion grew, and by the time I performed in my senior year show at Gwynedd Mercy Academy, I knew theatre would always be a part of me. 

DD: What do you enjoy most about playing Kate Draper?

CT: I love getting to perform the scene and song that she is in with the character Gene Laine. I find Conor McPherson’s writing in this specific moment to be so accurately complicated. It’s somehow clumsy, biting, funny, and heartbreaking all at once. In this play, it’s been said that the scenes are the vinegar, and the music is the honey. They balance each other out perfectly. Getting to act in this sort of cold, awkward scene, and then immediately after, singing a beautifully sweeping, heart-aching Dylan song is pretty magical. DD: How familiar were you with the music of Bob Dylan prior to the show?

CT: I was fairly familiar with Dylan’s work, so I thought. I really just wore out “Blood on the Tracks” in my late teens. This show has opened me up to so much more of his catalogue. It’s never ending and has an incredible range of style and subject matter throughout his life. He is truly remarkable. 

DD: What are your responsibilities as dance captain?

CT: Being the dance captain means making sure all of the choreography in the show that our wonderful movement director, Lucy Hind, created stays fresh. I keep a book of all the characters’ movements and traffic patterns. The stage manager and I hold rehearsals for all of the understudies and swings to teach them their material. We also hold rehearsals before the show if someone new is going on to make sure that everything runs smoothly.

[Forrest Theater, 1114 Walnut St.] February 27-March 10, 2024;

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