Finian’s Rainbow

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.

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).

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