How Are Things in Glocca Morra? Irish Rep Has Answer in Starry Finian's Rainbow, Opening April 15Finian's Rainbow, as unlikely a musical hit as ever there was, opens in a concert adaptation by Irish Repertory Theatre in Manhattan April 15, with Melissa Errico and Malcolm Gets in choice roles.Given the musical fantasy's left-leaning plot that includes songs about the haves and the have-nots, April 15 — the deadline for income tax filing — seems appropriate. "On that great come-and-get-it day," sing the poor folks, "won't it be fun when worry is done and money is hay?"
Irish Rep artistic director Charlotte Moore adapted the 1947 Yip Harburg-Fred Saidy-Burton Lane musical satire for a benefit concert in 2003, and a version of that script is heard in this eight-week run, also directed by Moore. Previews began April 6 and performances continue to May 30.
The lovers in Broadway's Amour, Melissa Errico and Malcolm Gets, reunite for the Irish Rep adaptation run of Finian's Rainbow. The pair aren't romantic, though. Errico plays Sharon, who has left Ireland with her father, Finian (42nd Street's Jonathan Freeman), to settle in the mythical Southern state of Missitucky. Finian has stolen a leprechaun's pot of gold, and the angry sprite, named Og, has followed the thief to America, where they encounter romance, but also bigotry, economic disparity and social injustice.
Gets ("Caroline in the City") plays the randy, salty Og, who struggles with post-Ireland human feelings (including only a brief crush on Sharon).
Max Von Essen (Dance of the Vampires) plays Sharon's love interest, Woody, who espouses socialism and sings "Old Devil Moon," one the score's hits. The company also includes David Staller as the Narrator, Jonathan Hadley, Eric Jackson, Jayne Lynch, Kimberly Dawn Neumann, John Sloman (as Sen. Rawkins), Joacquin Stevens and Terri White (Barnum).
The score is spiked with such popular show tunes as "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?" and "Look to the Rainbow," plus spicy comic and satiric songs such as "When I'm Not Near the Girl I Love," "The Begat," "Necessity" and "When the Idle Poor Become the Idle Rich."
In the years since it was first presented, the well-meaning liberal-leaning book by Harburg and Saidy has not aged well. For example, a racist senator is turned black when Sharon wishes a different race on him while she unknowingly sits on the leprechaun's pot of gold. The intention is to make him see and feel the hatred he has encouraged, but the mixed message is that being black is the ultimate punishment.
The late librettist Peter Stone revised the script for a Broadway-bound touring production several years ago, but the show never came to town. Denis O'Hare (Take Me Out, Assassins) was the leprechaun Og in that version. He also appeared in the Irish Rep concert in 2003, along with John Cullum as Finian, Sharon's greedy and lovable Irish papa.
Errico appeared in the Irish Rep's The Importance of Being Earnest, and wowed audiences in One Touch of Venus for Encores! before appearing in Broadway's High Society and Amour. Her recent Off-Broadway gig was Wallace Shawn's Aunt Dan and Lemon. She also played Eliza in the tour and Broadway run of My Fair Lady, opposite Richard Chamberlain.
Designers include James Morgan (set), Mary Jo Dondlinger (lighting) and David Toser (costume).
Tickets for Finian's Rainbow are $40-$45. Performances play Wednesday-Sunday at Irish Rep, 132 W. 22nd Street (between Sixth and Seventh avenue).
For more information, call (212) 727-2737 visit www.irishrep.org.