Finian's Rainbow: Wikis


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Finian's Rainbow
Original Broadway Playbill
Music Burton Lane
Lyrics E.Y. Harburg
Book E.Y. Harburg
Fred Saidy
Productions 1947 Broadway
1955 Broadway revival
1960 Broadway revival
1967 Broadway revival
1968 film
2004 Off-Broadway
2009 Encores! concert
2009 Broadway revival

Finian's Rainbow is a musical with a book by E.Y. Harburg and Fred Saidy, lyrics by Harburg, and music by Burton Lane. The 1947 Broadway production ran for 725 performances. Several revivals and a 1968 film version followed. A new Broadway revival opened on October 8, 2009, to rave reviews. The Irish-tinged score also includes gospel and R&B influences.

Finian moves to the Upper South from Ireland with his daughter Sharon, to bury a stolen pot of gold near Fort Knox, in the mistaken belief that it will grow. A leprechaun follows them, desperate to recover his treasure before the loss of it turns him permanently human. Complications arise when a bigoted and corrupt U.S. Senator gets involved, and when wishes are made inadvertently over the hidden crock. All ends happily.



A combination of whimsy, romance, and political satire, the plot revolves around Finian McLonergan, who has emigrated from Ireland to the town of Rainbow Valley in the mythical state of Missitucky with his daughter Sharon, intent on burying a stolen pot of gold in the shadows of Fort Knox, in the belief it will grow and multiply. Hot on their heels is Og, a leprechaun intent on recovering his treasure, before the loss of it turns him permanently human. Complicating matters are a corrupt senator who makes no effort to conceal his racial bigotry and the wishes made by those unknowingly in the vicinity of the hidden crock, including Sharon, who gives the senator a taste of his own hateful medicine by accidentally turning him black (temporarily). In the ultimate happy ending, Sharon marries the handsome, cocky young Woody Mahoney; and Woody's mute sister, "Susan the Silent", acquires the power of speech and falls in love with Og, (who decides that being human is not so bad after all).

Production history

The original Broadway production opened on January 10, 1947 at the 46th Street Theatre, where it ran for 725 performances. It was directed by Bretaigne Windust, choreographed by Michael Kidd, with orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett and Don Walker. The cast included Ella Logan as Sharon, Donald Richards as Woody, Albert Sharpe as Finian, with the Lyn Murray Singers. David Wayne won both the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical (the first one ever given) and the Theatre World Award for his performance as Og. The show also received Tonys for Best Conductor and Musical Director (Milton Rosenstock) and Best Choreography.

Finian's Rainbow has been revived three times on Broadway by the New York City Center Light Opera Company. The 1955 production, directed by William Hammerstein and choreographed by Onna White, starred Helen Gallagher, Merv Griffin, and Will Mahoney, who was nominated for a Tony as Best Featured Actor in a Musical. In 1960, Herbert Ross directed and choreographed a cast that included Jeannie Carson, Bobby Howes , Howard Morris, Sorrell Booke, and Robert Guillaume. A third revival was staged by the company in 1967. Although major revivals of the musical have been rare in recent decades, as the musical's treatment of bigotry against blacks in the American South has become dated, in 2004 the Irish Repertory Theatre staged a well-received off-Broadway production starring Melissa Errico and Malcolm Gets.[1]

A 1968 film version with Fred Astaire, Tommy Steele and Petula Clark was directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

2009 Encores! Concert

New York's City Center Encores! series performed a concert version of the musical from March 26, 2009 through March 29. Directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle, it starred Jim Norton and Kate Baldwin as Finian and Sharon, with Cheyenne Jackson as Woody and Jeremy Bobb as Og, the leprechaun.[2]

2009 Broadway Revival

A fully-staged Broadway revival opened at the St. James Theatre to rave reviews on October 29, 2009, with most of the Encores! cast returning.[3] Notable replacements to the Broadway cast are Christopher Fitzgerald as Og, David Shramm as Senator Rawkins and Chuck Cooper as Rawkins transformed into a black man.[4][5] Ernest Harburg, Yip Harburg's son and president of the Harburg Foundation, said "The satire of our economic system is particularly relevant right now 2009, given the nation’s deep financial woes." [6]

The producers announced on December 30, 2009 that despite rave reviews and positive audience reaction, the production will close January 17, 2010, stating the current economy did not allow them to play in the space of the St. James Theatre for as long as they had hoped.[7] The production rarely grossed higher than 70% capacity during its entire run.

Song list

Act I
Act II
  • When the Idle Poor Become the Idle Rich
  • Old Devil Moon (Reprise)
  • Fiddle Faddle
  • The Begat
  • Look to the Rainbow
  • When I'm Not Near the Girl I Love
  • If This Isn't Love (Reprise)
  • That Great Come-and-Get-It-Day (Finale)


Ella Logan on the original cast album

An original cast recording released as a six-disc 78 rpm set by Columbia Records was the label's first recording of a Broadway musical. The label used the album to introduce its new LP format in June 1948. In 1988, the album was released on CD, and in 2000, a second CD version appeared that was remastered from the original acetates and restored some material originally recorded but cut from the show, including three bonus tracks in which Harburg discusses the writing of and sings "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?" and "When I'm Not Near the Girl I Love," as well as singing "Don't Pass Me By," a song cut from the show. [2]

The new Revival of the show will be releasing a cast recording on February 2. The album was recorded December 7th.[8][9]


  1. ^ Finian's Rainbow, April 11, 2004
  2. ^ Gans, Andrew."Norton, Jackson and Baldwin Look to the Rainbow Beginning March 26 at City Center",, March 26, 2009
  3. ^ Hetrick, Adam."Producers Want to Move Encores! Finian's Rainbow to Broadway",, April 2, 2009
  4. ^ Itzkof, Dave. "Christopher Fitzgerald, Chuck Cooper Join 'Finian’s Rainbow' on Broadway,"The New York Times, July 16, 2009
  5. ^ Gans, Andrew."Cheyenne Jackson to Star in Broadway's Finian's Rainbow,", July 22, 2009
  6. ^ [1] "Busting with Bliss: Five Questions for Ernie Harburg" | Ernie Harburg provides an insider's view of his father and the 2009 production.
  7. ^ Jones, Kenneth (2009-12-30). "Wanna Cry: Finian's Rainbow's End Will Be Jan. 17". Playbill. Retrieved 2009-12-31.  
  8. ^
  9. ^


External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

(sung)"When I was a child, said my father, said he,
I've an elegant legacy waitin' for thee,
'Tis a rhyme for your lip and a song for your heart,
To sing it whenever the world falls apart,

Look, look, look to the rainbow,
Follow it over the hill and stream,
Look, look, look to the rainbow,
Follow the fellow who follows a dream.

It's a sumptuous gift to bequeath to a child,
For the lure of that song keeps me head runnin' wild,
It's a rhyme for me lip and a song for me heart,
And I sing it whenever the world falls apart,

Look, look, look to the rainbow,
Follow it over the hill and stream,
Look, look, look to the rainbow,
Follow the fellow who follows a dream.

So I bundled me heart and I roamed the world free,
To the East with the lark, to the West with the sea,
And I searched all the Earth, and I scanned all the skies,
But I found it at last in my own true love's eyes,

Look, look, look to the rainbow,
Follow it over the hill and stream,
Look, look, look to the rainbow,
Follow the fellow who follows a dream,
Follow the fellow, follow the fellow,
Follow the fellow who follows a dream".

(Sung) "I hear a bird, a Glockamorra bird,
It may well be he’s bringing me a cheerin’ word,
I feel a breeze, a River Shannon breeze,
It may well be it’s followed me across the seas,
So tell me, please.

How are things in Gloccamorra, is the little brook still leapin’ there,
Does it still run down from Donny Cove, through Kilibegs, Kilkerry and Kildare,
How are things in Gloccamorra,
Is that willow tree still weepin’ there,
Does the laddie with the twinklin’ eye, come whistlin’ by,
And does he walk away, sad and dreamy there,
Not to see me there.

So I ask each weepin’ willow, and each brook along the way,
And each lad that comes a-whistlin’ Tooralay,
How are things in Gloccamorra this fine day?"

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