Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How 'Finian's Rainbow' Captivated Broadway

Finian's Rainbow was written the year after I was born.
And while I've seen many, many Broadway shows -- including many classics -- this is one show that I never caught up with.
Yes, over the years I've heard many of the show's songs (If This Isn't Love, Look To The Rainbow, How Are Things In Glocca Morra) and I found them to be richly melodic and even enthralling. But I knew virtually nothing about the story.
Still, because the music of the show so intrigued me I promised myself that when I did see it I would see it as a full Broadway production in a Broadway house.
That meant I had to wait and wait and wait for Finian's Rainbow to come back to Broadway.
Yesterday, my wait ended.
And all I can say is: OhhhhhhMY! Was it certainly worth the wait!
The big, new production of this beguiling Broadway charmer features a first-rate cast, high production values and all of that great Burton Lane/Yip Harburg music. I'm not gonna tell you very much about the story except to say that it remains remarkably relevant
But I will say that this is the best Broadway revival I've seen since South Pacific.
Starring Jim Norton, Kate Baldwin, Christopher Fitzgerald and Broadway's newest and most promising leading man, Cheyenne Jackson, this show is a joy to behold. When Jackson and Baldwin sing Old Devil Moon you understand the meaning of romance. And when Fitzgerald performs When I'm Not Near The Girl I Love the old-fashioned idea of comedy in song is reawakened.
In a word, Finian's Rainbow is exuberant -- a flight of pure fancy that does your heart good.
And the voices are incredible, right on through the entire cast including gusto performances from Terri White and Chuck Cooper that kept our Saturday night audience whoopin and hollerin for more.
My advice: Look to the Rainbow. Get your tickets for this one ASAP.
This is why Broadway was born. 
Originally published 10/18/09

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