Finian’s Rainbow

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The Irish Repertory Theatre has its share of O’Reillys, O’Neills, O’Dwyers and O’Malleys, but it reaches beyond the strictly dramatic Irish offerings to indulge in some totally light-hearted evenings that send you away singing.

Such is “Finian’s Rainbow.”

This delightful visit to that innocent era of the late ’40s and ’50s is a trip down memory lane (if of course you have occasion to remember that vaunted time in America). If not, you’ll still be carried along with the theme and the songs and the optimism of the musical which has only one basic meaning: THINK – and ACT — POSITIVELY.

Yes, there is trouble afoot, but it is danced away with “fairy dust” and balletic charm by the songs and dances. The cast ranges from one young Silent Susan who “talks” with her feet and arms, songs and dialogue that bring a disparate group of blacks and whites together way before the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Peace in the valley comes through leadership and good will, a Leprechaun and a lot of great songs in the interim.

And it’s funny too.

You won’t go away angry with this one.

By the way, it’s been extended through January 29th.

Barbara Tober

 

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Posted: 11/21/16 by Ben Rosen

Good advice from the medical and the musical theater worlds:

Hippocrates: Do no harm

Finian’s Rainbow: Ignore the book

Originally opening on Broadway in 1947, the Burton Lane/E.Y. Harburg musical “Finian’s Rainbow” ran for two years despite a famously weak book. Seven decades later, the book is even creakier. But no matter. Its score is more than enough to justify its existence

The Irish Repertory Theatre (132 W. 22nd St.) has mounted a wonderful production that is headlined by Melissa Errico (six Broadway musicals), Ryan Silverman and 11 other first-rate cast members (that includes one leprechaun). Mercifully, the book has been minimized, leaving mostly a cornucopia of show tunes excitingly performed — “Old Devil Moon,” “How are Things in Glocca Morra?” “Necessity,” “If This Isn’t Love,” “On That Great Come-and-Get-It Day” and a dozen more.

The production has received glowing reviews from Ben Brantley in the Times (“The score, by Burton Lane and E. Y. Harburg, is one of the most enduringly delicious ever concocted for an American musical”) and Terry Teachout in the Journal (“You won’t hear better singing—or better songs—on any New York stage”).

Go. Enjoy. Runs through Dec. 31.

Ben Rosen

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