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Finian's Rainbow

From 25 critic and 92 member reviews
Members say: Great singing, Entertaining, Delightful, Enchanting, Dated

About the show

Irish Rep revives its adaptation of the classic E.Y. Harburg Burton Lane musical with Tony-nominee Melissa Errico reprising her role as Sharon. Hit songs include "Old Devil Moon" and "If This Isn't Love." More…

Equal parts romantic fairy tale and sociopolitical satire, this groundbreaking 1947 musical follows an Irishman who steals a feisty leprechaun’s pot of gold and escapes with his daughter, Sharon, to Missitucky, a mythical region in the United States that is part of the Jim Crow South. The daughter and the sprite each find love with others, but also encounter bigotry, economic disparity, and cultural injustice.

Broadway Blog

“This 1947 hit is guilty of occasional silliness and simplistic racial politics (once considered radically progressive). Nonetheless, it never stops pleasing as a tuneful, socially conscious, romantic fantasy laced with moonbeams, a leprechaun, rainbows, and a crock of gold...the cast consistently delivers with affecting conviction and charm, led by the marvelous Melissa Errico, bringing beauty, assurance, happiness, and a gorgeous voice to her every moment.” Full Review


“The Irish Repertory Theatre revival of ‘Finian's Rainbow’ proves that it gets better with age. This social comment story wedded to Irish blarney remains a delightful musical comedy with a message, one about the evils of racism, a very timely topic which never seems to get old. Led by the charming Melissa Errico and the stalwart Ryan Silverman, Charlotte Moore's production with a cast of 13 is a marvel of economy, though you never feel that it is a small offering.” Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"'Finian’s Rainbow' has a score and a message that is perfect for today’s wounded hearts. The revival at the Irish Rep will put some of that spring back into your step and give you hope...With a book by 'Yip' Harburg and Fred Saidy that normally stalls, director Charlotte Moore has adapted the show for a hipper, more music-driven show, which is incandescently lyrical. The cast all posses gorgeous instruments." Full Review


"It's a revival that's handsomely spruced up and well appointed with talent to fit their smartly renovated twenty-second street theater...Still an intimate production but with richer staging and some fine tuning...The golden-voiced, very pretty Melissa Errico is not too old to play the romantic lead, and her voice is as golden as ever...The ensemble features some terrific belters...My wish for all of you reading this is that you'll find time to see this grand old musical fairy tale." Full Review


"Moore captures the magic within Burton Lane, Yip Harburg, and Fred Saidy's 1947 classic with great immediacy...A scrappy affair that captures the heart and soul of the material without going over the top...Best of all, the compactness of this production allows the company to perform the matchless score unamplified...With Errico, Silverman, Grovey, and company front and center, sounding like a cast of 50 rather than 13, this 'Finian's Rainbow' is downright glorious." Full Review

The Wall Street Journal

"So delightful that the run of the show has already been extended...Moore requested and received permission to drastically revise the show...All that’s left is its bare bones. This puts the score right where it belongs, at center stage, and it does so without destroying the dramatic continuity that’s needed to make the show cohere....You won’t hear better singing—or better songs—on any New York stage...All of the songs in the show make the strongest possible impression." Full Review

The New York Times

"Ms. Errico is, if anything, even more persuasive as Sharon, an Irish lass newly arrived on American soil, than when I saw her in the role a dozen years ago...The score, by Burton Lane and E. Y. Harburg, is one of the most enduringly delicious ever concocted for an American musical. The book, by Mr. Harburg and Fred Saidy, is more perishable, a mix of high whimsy and topical satire...Ms. Moore has come up with a very companionable interpretation." Full Review

New York Theater

"A four-piece orchestra and a 13-member cast led by the glorious Melissa Errico do delicious justice to the show’s terrific tuneful melodies...Given the music, we should be grateful that Irish Rep artistic director Charlotte Moore was willing (as both director and adapter) to wrestle with a book, by Harburg and Fred Saidy, that could hardly be more problematic or unwieldy...What’s most memorable are the melodies." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"A joyous, colorful revival...Watching Charlotte Moore's small-scale (13-actor) but big-hearted spin on this work, it's hard to care too much about the babblings of any nattering naysayers. This is, admittedly, mostly thanks to the score, which ranks as one of the very best ever composed for a Broadway musical...Its underlying story...is pretty hefty stuff...Traditional tropes are at play, of course...It still works when treated as honestly and forthrightly as Moore does here." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"The inherent glint-in-the-eye charm of 'Finian' is simply but solidly captured by the folks, onstage and offstage, at the Irish Rep...Even with a good deal of trimming, the message comes through...Errico gives the friendly and melodic leading lady performance you would expect from her. Silverman is perfectly cast as Woody; while Evans makes a strong local debut and knocks the show cold with his 'When I’m Not Near the Girl I Love'...This pint-size 'Finian' scores on many levels." Full Review


"The show’s book has been substantially cut, but its satire and political commentary remain intact. That said, I do think some of it’s all been laid on just a tad too thick...Still, it’s the stunning score you’ll most take notice of here...Choreographer Barry McNabb uses the small stage well to allow some lovely dancing interludes (including a sweet solo for Woodruff), while the four-piece orchestra adds depth to Josh Clayton’s orchestrations." Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"'Finian’s Rainbow' still speaks to us, mostly through its terrific, socially conscious songs, as well as its lovely romantic ones...As well as delight in the glowing performance of Errico, one can sit back and enjoy the achievements of Ken Jennings as her father, the feisty Finian...The supporting cast members...are also superb...The small-scale production provides an intimacy that enables the key aspects of the musical, as adapted and directed by Moore, to shine through." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Plotwise, it's sentimental blarney...The glorious songs—which make up most of the two-hour run time thanks to director Charlotte Moore's judicious book cuts—should win you over...The 13, un-amplfied cast members are in superb voice throughout...There's no denying that this is a modest mounting due to the company's budget and small stage...And yet, this seems to be the ideal way to experience 'Finian's' ample charms." Full Review


"If the trimmed book seems rather incoherent now, the glorious score, sung so beautifully here, more than makes up for any narrative shortcomings...While Harburg and Fred Saidy’s book deserves praise for its combination of whimsy and a socially responsible message, it’s also pretty convoluted. That likely explains why director Moore focused her attentions on the music...Each number is a thoroughly crafted gem...And the company, cast for their sublime voices, sing their hearts out." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"A delicious and delightful antidote to the harsh realities we’ve been suffering. And what better way to provide social commentary than in satire and glorious song...Director Moore has adapted the book, avoiding any datedness and updating the book to a more fable-like approach – without losing the bite. Moore also keeps the pace moving briskly, wisely utilizing every inch of the stage, giving the production a rewarding fulsomeness...The score is a pot of gold that needs no burying." Full Review

Motherhood Later

"The luminous and ageless Melissa Errico turns in a lustrous and lusty performance in this enchanting, trimmed-down, revival production of the timeless classic ‘Finian’s Rainbow.’ Staged in the intimate space of Irish Rep, the two-hour musical projects a warmth and intimacy well-suited to the charms of the romantic fable…The lush score has many song beauties…Errico and Silverman are well-matched, both in looks and voice, and have some truly lovely duets." Full Review

Edge New York

"'Finian's Rainbow' is chockablock with sweet, near to saccharine songs that we all know from grandparents or a dusky bar…But what this reviewer didn't know was that the script was also tackling Jim Crow segregation, racism, and the hope necessary to conquer it. Therefore this is the perfect piece to see post the election of a man who espoused a return to a time that this piece is cautioning and arguing against." Full Review

New York Theatre Guide

"Even in Irish Rep’s less-than-perfect rendering, the material resonates as it hasn’t in years. Alas, 'Finian’s Rainbow' is relevant again...It’s one of the most left-leaning classic musicals around, and seeing it, you can understand why Harburg was blacklisted not long after. In Irish Rep’s staging, though, some of the book goes missing, and the political arguments are somewhat devitalized...Luckily, it’s one of the great scores...'Finian's Rainbow' once again speaks directly and eloquently." Full Review


"The score features an unequaled collection of absolutely sterling songs, each one more melodic and appealing than the previous one…The show’s book is another story...The libretto plods along from scene to scene, without any apparent forward motor to the plot…Director Moore and choreographer Barry McNabb make the most of the tiny stage, and the results are sometimes quite lively…Most of the featured performers seem to have been born to sing these songs." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"Each time the band strikes up at the Irish Rep, you can be sure something delightful is in store. The cast Moore has assembled is one of the most vocally gifted in town, led by Melissa Errico...Moore has cut the book to the bone...It's a dangerous, if audience-pleasing, approach; a show that originally barely made sense now borders on the incoherent...Moore hasn't really solved the problem of what to do with this infectious, often delightful, sometimes maddening show." Full Review

Woman Around Town

"Songs are still swell, though somewhat thinner due to a small cast, the two attitudes/subjects remain strange bedfellows, and the piece has been so condensed that its romance proceeds with enough speed to give you whiplash...To my mind, the find of the evening is Lyrica Woodruff (Susan the Silent). The performer is utterly captivating...Director Charlotte Moore has a painterly feel for creating pictures, whether still or moving." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"'Finian’s Rainbow' is as relevant and 'groundbreaking' as it was in 1947...Burton Lane’s music is sumptuous and is the star of this Irish Rep production...The ensemble cast is outstanding and supports the principal actors with sheer perfection...Despite the overall stellar performances, this production of 'Finian’s Rainbow' falls flat and it is not easy to determine why...Perhaps this matrix of lackluster creative team support affected the entire performance?" Full Review


"Moore has fashioned a fleet, intimate (if occasionally disjointed) 2-hour version of the show, and the cast is charming. The star is Errico, who has a gorgeous voice and who previously partnered with Silverman in 'Passion.' They sing wonderfully, but the pairing is not as felicitous here...They struck me as mismatched and unsparked. I also wish Moore had deployed her fine actors with a little more attention to one another...Look at one another! You’re adorable!" Full Review

Broadway & Me

"There's a hokiness about 'Finian's Rainbow' that has never sat right with me and in many ways, the Irish Rep's stripped-down version struck me as little more diverting than an average high school production. The Rep's revival has condensed the plot, making the story even more difficult to follow than it originally was…The entire cast works hard but while they all have great voices, they're a mixed bag when it comes to acting." Full Review

New York Theatre Guide

"The plot is convoluted and doesn’t bear close scrutiny by today’s standards...It doesn't hold up. Seventy years later I squirmed in my seat...There is no chemistry between Ryan Silverman and Melissa Errico, and they both seem to be phoning it in...It doesn’t help that Moore’s laissez-faire directing allows the actors to practically ignore each other during their love scenes. What saves the day was the rest of the talented cast, especially the outstanding performance by Mark Evans as Og." Full Review

Delightful, Enchanting, Great acting, Great singing

See it if A classic musical with pared-down staging, sung by engaging actors with gorgeous voices. dialogue is relevant to today's political climate

Don't see it if You prefer full-scale productions of musicals

Funny, Enchanting, Romantic, Dated, Entertaining

See it if You love old musicals that still have a lively pulse, fun characters, great singable songs from B. Lane and Harburg, Irish legends, and love

Don't see it if don't want to come out of the theatre humming most of the score, are thrilled with lessons on race or to see great performances by Errico.

Also The staging is very creative in the small space but captures all the f... Read more Read less

Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if Superb performances, wonderfully staged production.

Don't see it if you're a bigot who doesn't care for musicals.

Delightful, Enchanting, Relevant

See it if You want to hear one of the greatest scores EVER for an American musical, sung by a stunning group of singers with no microphone in sight!

Don't see it if You hate beautiful melodies, abhor delightful lyrics and cannot bother to be blown away by an absolutely gorgeous production.

Delightful, Profound, Relevant, Great writing, Great singing

See it if You love great songs by uniformly wonderful singers, fun dancing and a surprisingly relevant theme

Don't see it if You are expecting a leprechaun play without irony. You are anti-immigrant or racist; on second thought please go see it.

Also This production should move to Broadway and the time is now. Fabulous ... Read more Read less

Delightful, Enchanting, Refreshing, Resonant, Great singing

See it if You're a fan of classic American musicals. Some of the most gorgeous songs written for the stage, sung by a wonderful cast.

Don't see it if You like elaborate costumes and sets. This is a small production.

Delightful, Enchanting, Romantic, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if This small stage intimate production is perfect for this sweet fairy tale with a gorgeous score and delightful ensemble

Don't see it if U hate cuts that are nonetheless very judicious and truly make the show better. Antidote to toxic political season we have just survived

Delightful, Enchanting, Must see, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You love musical comedy with superb performances and songs you already know.

Don't see it if You don't like dated shows even if they resonate today.

Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Must see, Great singing

See it if you love great singing and small venue performances with big talent

Don't see it if you don't like musicals and prefer more contemporary productions.

Funny, Delightful, Enchanting, Tuneful, Pure magic

See it if you love the score...or any musical theater. Great writing, perfect cast, engaging ensemble and great small orchestra...and Errico rocks!

Don't see it if Can't think of a reason to miss it...unless you hate musicals. Worth it just for un-miked voices and orchestra in a small theater.

Delightful, Enchanting, Must see, Slow, Entertaining

See it if You already know the story so its the excellent singing and acting and the marvelous staging that make it a wonderful evening

Don't see it if Don't like musicals, don't go, romantic softly amusing shows not your thing, don't go, wanna suspend realtiy for a night and enjoy, GO

Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Great lyrics and score

See it if you like musicals with a social conscience. Beautiful chamber adaption of the play. Well sung and acted.

Don't see it if you like your musicals fluffy.

Delightful, Enchanting, Relevant, Romantic, Great singing

See it if If you get to see all the principal actors, you're in for a treat! Beautifully done... and Ms Errico is a gem!

Don't see it if You prefer the huge spacious theaters... the show's plot is a little shallow, but the production is so well done

Delightful, Enchanting, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if want to see one of the best productions of the show in an intimate setting. Melissa Errico performs the same role that she did 12 years ago

Don't see it if costumes are your forte. Something seemed to be missing here..

Also Errico is even better today. The Irish Rep should be proud of the late... Read more Read less

Delightful, Intelligent, Relevant, Great writing, Great singing

See it if You want to see how a great old show can be enjoyable and maybe even more relevant today than when it was written.

Don't see it if You are bigoted or don't appreciate traditional musical theatre structure. It's not edgy, but the secondary story about

Also Black and white relations has even more meaning today.

Enchanting, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging, Fabulous score

See it if you want to hear one classic song after another performed by dazzling singer/actor/dancers, reminding us of what fun musical comedies can be

Don't see it if you don't like musical comedies.

Enchanting, Refreshing, Entertaining, Great singing, Intimate

See it if you enjoy a classic Broadway Musical with excellent voices in an intimate off-Broadway setting.

Don't see it if you hate musicals or only want big, lavish productions

Great singing, Completely charming, The wonderful score is enhanced by the intimacy of the setting

See it if A superb production, a timeless and beautiful score, and an exuberant group of performers -- each cast member sings wonderfully

Don't see it if A modest book, but the evening is a charming cabaret act of captivating melody, and the four musicians are as terrific as the cast

Delightful, Confusing, Charming, Entertaining, Well-cast

See it if you'd like a chamber version of a classic whimsical musical

Don't see it if "whimsical" is too tame for your taste

Also FINIAN is a problematic musical to produce in this day and age. You ha... Read more Read less

Funny, Clever, Great acting, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You want a good laugh and a great time.

Don't see it if You dislike rainbows

Funny, Clever, Romantic, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if Love a love story

Don't see it if Looking for a big production

Delightful, Great singing, Fluffy

See it if you want to hear tuneful melodies, can enjoy scaled down productions, want to see a show in an intimate setting, are a fan of Melissa Errico

Don't see it if you expect a large production, breath taking sets, production numbers, or an intricately staged show.

Also Before I talk about the show, I just want to say that this was the fir... Read more Read less

Enchanting, Great acting, Quirky, Refreshing, Fanciful

See it if you're looking for something uplifting with a beautiful score and solid performances. Despite this show's age, it's surprisingly relevant.

Don't see it if you like dark, moody, or edgy material.

Funny, Delightful, Enchanting, Great acting, Relevant

See it if Delightful production with fine talent. great score.

Don't see it if Lovely old musicals aren't your thing

Enchanting, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You love a wonderfully classic and still relevant Musical...Great performances and beautiful score!

Don't see it if You don't love Musicals!

Cast & Creatives (22)