Finian’s Rainbow

A TAMS-WITMARK TITLE

Finian’s Rainbow

Burton Lane, E. Y. Harburg, Fred Saldy

Full Length Musical, Comedy  /  2f, 4m

Music by Burton Lane / Book by E. Y. Harburg and Fred Saidy / Lyrics by E. Y. Harburg

This classic American musical features romance, comedy, a smitten leprechaun, and a lush Burton Lane/E. Y. Harbug score, including "Old Devil Moon," "Look to the Rainbow," and "How Are Things In Glocca Morra?"

Photo: Joan Marcus

Finian’s Rainbow
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OVERVIEW

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    2f, 4m
  • Duration
    Duration
    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Subgenre
    Romantic Comedy
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    • Appropriate for all audiences
Accolades
Accolades
  • WINNER! Three 1948 Tony Awards, for Conductor, Featured Actor and Choreography
    WINNER! 1948 Theatre World Award (David Wayne)
    WINNER! 2010 Drama Desk Award for Featured Actor
    NOMINEE: 1956 Tony Award for Featured Actor
    NOMINEE: Three 2010 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical
    NOMINEE: Eight 2010 Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Revival of a Musical
    WINNER! 2010 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor
Description
Aging Irish dreamer Finian McLonerghan and his savvy daughter Sharon travel to America to bury a small pot of gold, which Finian believes will grow to yield millions. When they arrive in fictional Rainbow Valley in Missitucky, the McLonerghans encounter goodhearted sharecroppers, bigoted blowhard politicians... and a romantic leprechaun! One of America's classic and most original musicals, FINIAN'S RAINBOW remains as timely now as when it was first written. The charming score includes hits like "Old Devil Moon," "Look to the Rainbow," and "How Are Things In Glocca Morra?"
History
Finian's Rainbow opened on Broadway at the 46th Street Theatre onJanuary 10, 1947, starring Ella Logan, Albert Sharpe and David Wayne. The show played for 725 performances, and was revived several times on Broadway: in 1955, 1960, and in 2009 at the St. James Theatre, where it starred Kate Baldwin, Terri White, Cheyenne Jackson and Christopher Fitzgerald.
Keywords

Act I

In the fictional town of Rainbow Valley, Missitucky, near Fort Knox, the local sheriff and Buzz Collins, front man for local senator Billboard Rawkins, demand the local sharecroppers pay their taxes or lose their land in a public auction. The sharecroppers want to wait for Woody Mahoney, their union leader, but the Sheriff begins the auction anyway. The Sharecroppers defiantly drag him and Collins off to meet Woody ("This Time of Year").

Finian McLonergan, an elderly Irishman, arrives with his daughter Sharon ("How Are Things in Glocca Morra?"). Finian has stolen a crock of gold from a leprechaun and intends to bury it near Fort Knox, in hopes of making it grow. Woody doesn't have enough money to pay Rawkins, so Finian pays the rest, earning the trust of the sharecroppers ("Look to the Rainbow").

That night, Finian buries the gold and marks the spot, only to be met by Og, the leprechaun he robbed. Og desperately needs the gold back; without it, he is slowly becoming mortal. Sharon and Woody, who come looking for Finian, soon fall for each other ("Old Devil Moon").

Senator Rawkins is buying up land to fight progressive developers. He is not upset with losing Rainbow Valley until two geologists arrive to tell him gold has been detected on it. He vows to drive Finian and the sharecroppers off.

The next morning, Og meets Sharon and shyly confesses his feelings for her ("Something Sort of Grandish"). But Sharon is in love with Woody ("If This Isn't Love"). Og warns Finian not to make wishes near the gold; after three wishes, the gold will vanish forever. Og enlists the local children to help find his gold, promising to get them anything from a magical catalogue ("Something Sort of Grandish” Reprise).

As the sharecroppers sort tobacco leaves, Maude, one of their leaders, laments the unfairness of life ("Necessity"). Senator Rawkins tells Finian and the white sharecroppers that, by living with black people, they are breaking the law. Outraged at the Senator's bigotry, Sharon tells him, “I wish to God you were black!” Because Sharon was standing over the gold, the Senator is transformed. The unknowing Sherriff chases him off the property. Woody brings news that there is gold on their land, and the Shears-Robust shipping company has offered them all a free charge account. Insisting that credit is better than wealth, Woody and Finian tell them to use their new free credit rather than dig the gold. The group celebrates "That Great Come-And-Get-It Day".

Act II

The sharecroppers begin unpacking extravagant gifts to themselves from their new accounts. Sharon and Finian celebrate the end of class-distinction that comes with wealth ("When the Idle Poor Become the Idle Rich"). Shears and Robust show up wondering when the gold will be discovered that will pay for the credit. Woody and Finian explain that there is no need to dig the gold up, since the news has led to massive investment in their tobacco label. Buzz and the Sheriff, however, accuse Sharon of using witchcraft to transform the Senator. Woody orders them off. He and Sharon agree to marry ("Old Devil Moon” Reprise). Woody’s sister, Susan the Silent, watches them, dances by herself, and discovers the hidden gold ("Dance of the Hidden Crock"). She takes the gold for herself and hides it.

Meanwhile, Senator Rawkins is hiding in the woods. He meets Og and explains what happened to him. Og decides what the Senator needs is a new inside rather than a new outside. He uses his own magic to make the Senator a nicer person ("Fiddle Faddle"). In his new persona, Rawkins falls in with a group of black gospel singers looking for a fourth man ("The Begat"); by chance, they are all going to sing at Woody and Sharon's wedding. The wedding is interrupted by Buzz and the Sheriff, who have come to arrest her for witchcraft. The Senator tries to defend them, but as a black man the Sheriff has no need to heed him. Finian steps in, promising Sharon can change the Senator back. He dismisses everyone, intending to use the Crock to undo her wish, but finds the crock gone.

Og, now nearly human, looks for Sharon to tell her his feelings. He finds Susan instead, but realizes he is also attracted to her. He wonders if all human love is so fickle ("When I'm Not Near the Girl I Love"). Finian finds them and tells them Sharon is in danger. When Og reveals he doesn't have the gold, Finian runs off in despair. Susan knows where the gold is, but can't speak. Frustrated, Og wishes she could talk, not knowing the gold is under his feet. Susan speaks, and tells him she loves him. Og realizes there is only one wish left, and if he uses it to save Sharon he cannot be a leprechaun again. He is unsure what to do until Susan kisses him. Deciding being human isn't so bad, Og returns the Senator to his original appearance.

The Senator promises to be a better representative to the people, and the Sharecroppers welcome Og and the now-verbal Susan ("If This Isn't Love” Reprise). Finian, however, has lost the crock and his hope of getting rich. Seeing that Sharon and Og have found their dreams, he goes off again in search of his own rainbow, saying “Maybe there's no pot of gold at the end of it, but there's a beautiful new world under it.” The cast tells him goodbye, promising to see him in Glocca Morra ("Finale").

Considerations

Performing Groups
  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Church / Religious Groups
  • Youth/Camp Programs

Licence details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Specifics

Details

  • Time Period: 1940s / WWII
  • Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: Rainbow Valley, Missitucky.
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Casting

2f, 4m
Cast Attributes
  • Role(s) for Black Actor(s)
  • Expandable casting
  • Multicultural casting
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)

Principals

Finian McLonergan: Charming older Irishman, a dreamer and optimist.
Sharon McLonergan: Finian's daughter. A lovely young Irish woman, savvy and bright.
Woody Mahoney: Wholesome young American, just back from the Merchant Marines.
Susan Mahoney: Woody’s mute sister, a dancer.
Og: A semi-mortal leprechaun, playful but determined.
Senator Billboard Rawkins: Bombastic southern politician and orator.

Supporting

Buzz Collins: Dapper, cigar-smoking stooge for the Senator.
Sunny: Blind, harmonica-playing sharecropper (non-speaking).
Sheriff (Chick): Small, plump man with a slow-whining delivery.
Melindy: Pretty sharecropper who gets the Sheriff to dance with her (non-speaking).
Howard: Black college student seeking summer employment.
1st Sharecropper: Black man who plays guitar, tenor.
2nd Sharecropper
3rd Sharecropper: Young black woman.
4th Sharecropper
1st Sheriff’s Deputy (Pete)
2nd Deputy (Alec)
3rd Deputy
Two Geologists: Young men, one black and one white, performing a geological survey of the Valley.
Diana: Little girl, sharecropper’s kid. Henry's friend.
Honey Lou & Other Children: Sharecroppers’ kids.
John: Black preacher and sharecropper.
Mr. Shears: Businessman, tall and lean.
Mr. Robust: Businessman, short and squat.
Three Passion Pilgrim Gospeleers: Black male quartet minus one baritone, Russ.
Girl: Messenger to Finian in the last scene.

Ensemble

Six Girls: Tobacco workers, black and white, the “Necessity” sextet (non-speaking).
Chorus & Dancers (Two groups of 16 people, with 8 men & 8 women in each group):
Black and white, men and women—the SHARECROPPERS. 4 men and 4 women—TOBACCO WORKERS. TWO PEOPLE, man and woman-tourists.

Music

  • Musical Style: Classic Broadway
  • Dance Requirements: Moderate
  • Vocal Demands: Difficult
  • Orchestra Size: Large
  • Chorus Size: Large

Act I

1. Overture – Orchestra
2. “This Time of the Year” – Ensemble
3. “How Are Things in Glocca Morra?” – Sharon
3a. “Woody’s Entrance” – Ensemble
4. “Look To The Rainbow” – Sharon, Woody, Finian & Ensemble
4a. Curtain Music – Orchestra
4b. Leprechaun Music – Orchestra
5. “Old Devil Moon” – Woody & Sharon
5a. To Open Scene 3 – Orchestra
5b. Reprise: “How Are Things In Glocca Morra?” – Sharon
6. “Something Sort of Grandish” – Og & Sharon
6a -c. “We’re Havin’ A Party”– Children & Ensemble (a capella)
7. “If This Isn’t Love” – Woody, Sharon, Finian & Ensemble
7a. Pumpkin Parade – Orchestra
7b. Finian’s Exit – Orchestra
8. Reprise: “Something Sort of Grandish” – Og
8a. To Open Scene 6: “Grade A” – Six Girls and 1st Sharecropper
8b. “Necessity” – Six Girls and 1st Sharecropper
9. “That Great Come-And-Get-It Day” – Sharon, Woody, Preacher & Ensemble

Act II

9b. Entr’acte – Orchestra
10. To Open Act II, Scene 1 – Orchestra
11. “When The Idle Poor Become The Idle Rich” – Sharon, 1st Sharecropper & Ensemble
11a. Short Encore: “Idle Poor” – Ensemble
11b. Long Encore: “Idle Poor” – Sharon, Finian & Ensemble
12. Reprise “Old Devil Moon” – Sharon & Woody
12a. Intro to Susan’s Dance – Orchestra
12aa. Dance of the Golden Crock – Harmonica Solo
12b. End of Susan’s Dance – Orchestra
12c. Short “Glocca Morra” Reprise – Og
13. Fiddle-Faddle – Orchestra
[There is no number 14.]
15. “The Begat” – Senator Rawkins and the 3 Gospeleers
15a. After The Begat – Orchestra
15b. “Begat”/“Look To The Rainbow”– Sharon, Woody, Gospeleers & Ensemble
16. To Open Final Scene – Orchestra
17. “When I’m Not Near The Girl I Love” – Og
18. The Crack of Dawn – Orchestra
19. Just Before Finale Ultimo – Orchestra
19a. “Finale Ultimo (Glocca Morra)” – Sharon & Company
19b. Curtain Act II (“Come And Get It Day”) – Full Company
20. Exit Music - Orchestra

Full Orchestration

Violin 1
Violin 2
Viola
Cello
Bass

Flute – Piccolo
Oboe – English Horn
Clarinet 1
Clarinet 2 – Flute & Piccolo
Bass Clarinet – Clarinet & Bassoon (or Bass Clarinet)

Horn 1 & 2
Trumpet 1 & 2
Trombone1
Trombone 2

Percussion:

Timpani (2 Drums)
Bass Drum
Snare Drum (Large & Small Drums, Brushes & Sticks)
Tom Tom
Cymbal (Hi-Hat, Suspended & Piatti)
Triangle
Wood Block
Temple Blocks (3)
Slap Sticks
Sand Paper Blocks
Bells
Low Bells
Xylophone
Vibraphone (optional)
Chimes (optional)

Harp
Piano – Celeste
Guitar – Banjo

Materials

Scripts

Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package:
1 Piano/Conductor Score
34 Libretto/Vocal Books
1 Flute
1 Oboe
1 Clarinet 1
1 Clarinet 2
1 Bass Clarinet
2 Horn 1&2
2 Trumpet 1&2
1 Trombone 1
1 Trombone 2
1 Percussion
1 Piano/Celeste
1 Guitar
1 Harp
2 Violin 1
1 Violin 2
1 Viola
1 Cello
1 Bass

Piano Only:
1 Piano/Conductor
35 Libretto/Vocal book

Media

Music Samples

Photos

  • Finian’s Rainbow

    Credit: Joan Marcus

  • Finian’s Rainbow

    Credit: Joan Marcus

  • Finian’s Rainbow

    Credit: Joan Marcus

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Authors

Burton Lane

 Burton Lane, born in 1912, is known – in the words of the New York Times – as “one of the most respected American songwriters.”   Lane began composing when he was just 15, writing songs for musical reviews. His most revered work is the rich, classic Broadway score for Finian’s Rainbow. Its son ...

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E. Y. Harburg

One of America’s greatest lyricists for stage and screen, Yip Harburg (1896-1981) was the son of poor Russian-Jewish immigrants and attended CCNY. Also a book writer (usually with Fred Saidy), director, and poet, Harburg wrote lyrics for more than 550 songs, including “It’s Only A Paper Moon” (with Harold Arlen), “A ...

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Author

Fred Saldy

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