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