Finian’s Rainbow to Close on January 17 -- Vulture

The most provocative look at race relations came from the pen of Yip Harburg, who, in 1947’s “Finian’s Rainbow,” turned racism on its head, or more accurately, inside out. The show, which featured lilting words and music by Harburg and Burton Lane, was set in the mythical Deep Southern state of Missitucky. One of the subplots concerns a local racist senator (the papers at the time were filled with the real thing) who is turned into a black man, through a bit of misplaced Celtic magic. The senator’s journey to enlightenment — he is forced to sing along with two black men in a traveling gospel troupe — makes for a wickedly satirical second act, but, sadly, the blackface requirements of the role, whatever the critical intentions, have kept a wonderful score off the boards for nearly four decades.

JK's TheatreScene: CD Review: Finian's Rainbow

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On the Town, Annie Get Your Gun, Finian's Rainbow ..

Unfolding on the gorgeously bucolic set, designed by the enormously talented James Morgan, the plot centers on a lovably scheming Irishman, Finian McLonergan, who steals a pot of gold from the leprechaun Og and hightails it to America with his beauteous daughter, Sharon. The pair wind up in Rainbow Valley, a lush farmland in the mythic Missitucky where Finian believes if he buries the pot of gold it will grow. Into this place, where white and black workers of the land cohabit splendidly, enters Og to cause mischief in the pursuit of his property. Also enter the bigoted U.S. Senator Rawkins and his henchman to swindle the good folk out of their land. Dewey Caddell as Rawkins with Peyton Crim as the Sheriff and Matt Gibson as Buzz Collins play their spoiler roles with appropriate wicked relish.

The film he chose was Finian's Rainbow ..


As the wily Finian, Ken Jennings presents a sight gag with the leprechaun, Og, played by the remarkably talented Mark Evans. The gag is, of course, that this particular rainbow-chaser Finian is leprechaun size – a diminutive actor in a top hat, while the real leprechaun is a gangly six-footer, albeit one in appropriately jester-like green from head and hair to foot. (Costume design by David Toser is uniformly engaging.) Barry McNabb’s choreography is joyous throughout the show, but especially suits, Evans, who’s lithe, fluid moves, and wry comedic approach, such as his takeoff of Irish step dancing and Riverdance are tremendously appealing and downright funny. His “When I’m Not Near the Girl I Love” is a happy-making, feel good song and dance humor-fest.

On January 17, after a run of only 92 shows, the Broadway revival of Finian's Rainbow will close

Finian's Rainbow - Tutti Camarata LP Recordsale

Other shows have surmounted worse odds, but “St. Louis Woman” was mostly undone by its attempts to force a complex and unwieldy story into the conventions of the post-Rodgers and Hammerstein musical form. The famed acrobatic dancing Nicholas Brothers were hired to headline, but only the pint-sized Harold had a real part. His brother Fayard had a contrived comic role, and they were given a dancing duel that had no narrative point. The lusty louche atmosphere of East St. Louis was turned into a happy-go-lucky world of musical comedy. What transcended the 113-performance train wreck was the score. Arlen and Mercer gave their romantic leads one of the finest of American standards: “Come Rain or Come Shine,” the most successful song of the least successful show.

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Harburg and Burton Lane's Finian's Rainbow gets released Feb

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'That Great Come-and-Get-It Day': Finian's Rainbow …

my father referred to me as Finian from the movie Finian's Rainbow

He then offered to Lucas that, if he took a permanent job on Finian’s and his next screenplay, The Rain People, Coppola would help him on the THX screenplay.

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Finian’s Rainbow - Theater Pizzazz

Finian’s Rainbow opened in January, 1947 on Broadway, running for a solid 725 performances. The issues the show dealt with then resonate sharply today: politics, corruption, economic disparity, easy credit, immigration and racism. The book by E.Y. Harburg and Fred Saidy held nothing back, yet the two managed to get their points across with a gloriously wacky, satiric plot with plenty of comedy, trading on mythic ideas of Irishness. Yet, the waggish tale of romance and fantasy wrapping the steeliness of plot has been oft-criticized as cumbersome if not confusing. Director Charlotte Moore has adapted the book (originally presented in a 2004 concert version at the Rep), avoiding any datedness and updating the book to a more fable-like approach – without losing the bite. Moore also keeps the pace moving briskly, wisely utilizing every inch of the stage, giving the production a rewarding fulsomeness.