Finian's Rainbow: principle cast announced, tickets are now on sale

Producers David Richenthal and Jack Viertel have announced that the critically-acclaimed New York City Center Encores! production of Finian�s Rainbow, will transfer to Broadway�s St. James Theatre, opening on 29 Oct 2009, following previews from 8 Oct 2009. Tickets for the musical are now on sale to the general public.

Finian's Rainbow has a book by E.Y. Harburg and Fred Saidy; lyrics by E.Y. Harburg; music by Burton Lane; with book adaptation by Arthur Perlman and original adaptation for New York City Center Encores! by David Ives. It is directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle; musical direction is by Rob Berman.

Finian's Rainbow's critically acclaimed five-performance run at New York City Center�s Encores! series played from 26 - 29 Mar 2009.

The Broadway production will see Jim Norton (Finian) and Kate Baldwin (Sharon) revive the roles which they originated in the New York City Center�s Encores! off-Broadway production. They will be joined by Chuck Cooper (Bill) and Christopher Fitzgerald (Og). Further casting is still to be announced.

The creative team will feature set design by John Lee Beatty, costume design by Toni-Leslie James, lighting design by Ken Billington and sound design is by Scott Lehrer.

Finian's Rainbow tells the story of the Irishman Finian McLonergan and his daughter Sharon who travel to a small Southern town in the mythical state of Missitucky with plans to bury a stolen pot of gold in the shadows of Fort Knox, in the mistaken belief it will grow and multiply. They have been followed from Ireland by the owner of the gold, a leprechaun, who shows up determined to recover his treasure.

The musical�s score boasts such classic songs as "Old Devil Moon," "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?," "When I'm Not Near the Girl I Love (I Love the Girl I'm Near)," Look to the Rainbow," and "If This Isn't Love.�

Finian�s Rainbow opened to rave reviews during its five-performance run last season at City Center: �Radiant. Ebullient. Mighty waves of laughter. (NY Times); "a pot of musical gold! A 24-carat revival packed with fantastic tunes." (NY Daily News); �Dazzling! Magical! A stirring production" (NY Post); "High spirits, extravagant comedy, political satire and irrepressible, twinkle-eyed wit" (Variety).

Finian's Rainbow has music by Burton Lane, book by E.Y. Harburg and Fred Saidy and lyrics by E.Y. Harburg.

This will be the first Broadway revival of the classic musical in nearly 50 years. The show had its Broadway premiere in 1947, which ran for 725 performances and won three Tony Awards, including one for star David Wayne and one for legendary choreographer Michael Kidd who made his Broadway debut with the show.

One of the first of the socially conscious postwar musicals, Finian's Rainbow is unusual in that it deals in a satirical way with issues of class, race, and economics, most specifically in the character of a bigoted Southern senator who is accidentally turned black. It was also notable in its time for featuring an integrated cast at a time when most shows did not and for featuring a mute character who expresses herself solely through dance.

The musical was revived in 1955 at City Center and in 1960 at Broadway�s 46th Street Theatre.

Jim Norton (Finian) won Tony and Olivier Awards for his work in Conor McPherson's 'The Seafarer' and previously appeared on Broadway in McPherson�s 'The Weir' for which he won an Olivier Award. Norton�s many film credits include 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' and a leading role in Sam Peckinpaw�s 'Straw Dogs.' He can currently be seen in the film 'The Boy in the Striped Pajamas'.

Kate Baldwin�s (Sharon) Broadway credits include 'Wonderful Town,' 'Thoroughly Modern Millie,' and 'The Full Monty.'

Chuck Cooper (Bill) won the 1996 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor for his portrayal of 'Memphis' in 'The Life.' Finian's Rainbow marks his tenth Broadway show. Other Broadway credits include Caroline, or Change; Chicago; Lennon; Passion; Someone Who�ll Watch Over Me; Rumors; Amen Corner; Getting Away With Murder.

Christopher Fitzgerald�s Broadway credits include playing 'Igor' in 'Young Frankenstein' for which he was nominated for a Tony Award. His other Broadway credits are 'Wicked' and 'Amour.'

Warren Carlyle (Director) created the musical staging for 'A Tale of Two Cities' when it was originally produced in an out-of-town tryout at the Asolo Repertory Theatre, where it played to standing-room-only audiences in October and November of 2007. As a resident director/choreographer, Carlyle's productions have included 'Jolson' (London, Toronto), 'Fosse' (London) and 'Oklahoma!' (London). He choreographed the Old Globe production of 'Dancing in the Dark' on a pre-Broadway run in San Diego.

E.Y. �Yip� Harburg (1896 � 1981) was one of America�s greatest lyricists for the stage and screen. The son of poor Jewish immigrants, he attended CCNY. Also a bookwriter (usually with Fred Saidy), director, and poet, Harburg wrote lyrics for over 550 songs, including 'It�s Only a Paper Moon' (with Harold Arlen), 'April in Paris' (with Vernon Duke), and 'Brother, Can You Spare a Dime' (with Jay Gorney). His landmark musicals were 'Bloomer Girl' (with Arlen) and 'Finian�s Rainbow' (with Burton Lane). Mr. Harburg was final editor and wrote lyrics and continuity for the universally loved film, 'The Wizard of Oz.'

Fred Saidy (1907 � 1982) was born in Los Angeles and edicated in New York where he studied journalism at NYU. He began his theatrical career writing screenplays, including 'Star Spangled Rhythm,' 'Meet the People,' and the Red Skelton comedy 'I Dood It.' With E.Y. Harburg, Mr. Saidy also wrote the books for the Broadway musicals 'Bloomer Girl,' 'Flahooley,' 'Jamaica,' and 'The Happiest Girl in the World.' In 1968 he wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of Finian�s Rainbow.

Burton Lane (1912 � 1997) began his career in the late 1920�s as a song plugger in 'Tin Pan Alley,' and, over the years, collaborated with a notable collection of lyricists (including E.Y. Harburg, Alan Jay Lerner, Ira Gershwin, and Frank Loesser) to become one of American�s most distinguished composers of popular music. A good deal of his career was spent in Hollywood where he composed for over 45 films, including 'Royal Wedding,' in which Fred Astaire famously danced on the ceiling to his 'You�re All the World to Me.' He is also credited with discovering the eleven-year-old Frances Gumm, later better known as Judy Garland. In addition to 'Finian�s Rainbow,' his Broadway scores include 'Three�s a Crowd,' Earl Carroll�s Vanities (1931), Hold on to Your Hats, Laffing Room Only, Carmelina, and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.

Click here to buy tickets for Finian�s Rainbow

Originally published on

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