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Finian's Rainbow – 1960 Broadway Cast Recording

Finian’s Rainbow – 1960 Broadway Cast Recording

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Synopsis

ACT I Rainbow Valley in the state of Missitucky is about to be auctioned off for non-payment of taxes by the county’s corrupt Sheriff at the behest of Buzz Collins, who is a stooge for the bigoted, mean-spirited Senator Billboard Rawkins. The auction has been delayed because the mute Susan Mahoney, co-owner of the land, is awaiting the arrival of her brother Woody, who has promised to return from the big city to pay the back taxes and keep the evil Senator from taking away their family home. The Sheriff tries to start the sale anyway but is stopped by the valley’s sharecroppers (“This Time of Year”). After everyone has run off to meet Woody’s train, Finian McLonergan and his daughter Sharon wander into the valley. They have come all the way from Ireland to realize Finian’s scheme to get rich quick: he has stolen a crock of gold from the leprechauns and plans to bury it near Fort Knox and watch it grow – the way the Americans do. Finian also has big plans for the three wishes that come along with that crock of gold. Sharon, for her part, is happy to indulge her father, but she’s homesick (“How Are Things in Glocca Morra?”). Woody arrives, but he’s $70 short on the taxes. All hope seems lost until Sharon and Finian lend him the money – thus becoming part owners of Rainbow Valley. The Sheriff and Buzz are defeated and leave. Sharon and Woody instantly fall in love, and she charms him further by explaining the philosophy her father has taught her (“Look to the Rainbow”). While Finian is searching for a good place to bury his crock of gold he meets up with Og, the leprechaun from whom he stole it. Og needs the crock back because without it he will turn into a mere mortal (it’s beginning to happen already) and lose all his magical powers. In the meantime, Woody is wooing the willing Sharon by the light of “That Old Devil Moon.” At his colonial estate, Senator Rawkins first hears great news from two geologists – there’s gold in Rainbow Valley! – and then the bad news from Buzz Collins – the gold is on the one strip of land they were not able to buy up. Senator Rawkins is (to say the least) furious and is determined to correct the mistake. The next afternoon Sharon tells Finian that although she and Woody are in love, he’s got to go off to New York. Finian promises Sharon that he’ll see to it that the two of them are betrothed before the day is through. Sharon then encounters Og, who at the sight of her gets a funny feeling inside him (“Something Sort of Grandish”). When Sharon and Woody meet later, through a series of misunderstandings (and clever manipulations by Finian) they become engaged (“If This Isn’t Love”). Og tells Finian that he’s in love with Sharon, and Finian threatens to have Og deported. Og enlists the help of two children to find his crock of gold, in return for which he’ll give them anything they’d like out of the instantly materialized Shears and Robust catalog (“Something Sort of Grandish” – reprise). While the sharecroppers roll tobacco, Maude leads them in a song about what their life is really all about (“Necessity”). Senator Rawkins arrives and offers to buy the land from Finian at a generous 30% profit. Finian tells him he can’t even consider the offer for at least six months because his gold has to have time to grow. Senator Rawkins decides to seize the land on the basis that black people (the sharecroppers) have built their homes on it. Sharon can’t believe what she’s hearing, and, without realizing that she is standing right over the buried crock of gold, she wishes aloud that the Senator would know what it’s like to be black. BOOM! The Senator is transformed into a sharecropper. He runs from the crowd and disappears. In the meantime, a letter for Finian has arrived from Shears and Robust, inviting him to open a free charge account. (They have heard that there’s gold on his land.) Finian is as usual happy to share his wealth and good fortune with everyone (“The Great Come and Get It Day”). ACT II Two weeks later, the sharecroppers delight in the arrival of their useless goods from Shears and Robust. Sharon leads them in singing the praises of their new lifestyle (“When the Idle Poor Become the Idle Rich”). Pretty soon Shears and Robust themselves arrive in town to find out why Finian hasn’t paid for the goods he’s purchased. Finian shows them a huge volume of orders for Lucky Gold Tobacco, and both Shears and Robust are appeased. Then, as if in a trance, the mute Susan dances her way alone to where the crock is buried. She uncovers it and hides it away from harm. Senator Rawkins, now black, is hiding in the mountains. Og finds him and realizes that Sharon, in wishing him to be black, has made a terrible mistake. He’s only black on the outside; he needs to be black inside too. Og does a little magic, whereupon a trio of Gospeleers comes by. They are in need of a fourth to make up a quartet, and the Senator, with a new-found pride in himself, happily joins them (“The Begat”). Back in Rainbow Valley the Sheriff has come to arrest Sharon and Woody for demoting the Senator to a black person. Sharon says she’s willing to turn him white again but the Senator himself steps forward and refuses to be changed. The Sheriff ignores this plea because the Senator isn’t himself anymore. The Sheriff and his men tie up Sharon and Woody and give her until dawn to change the Senator back or they’ll put everyone in jail and confiscate the land. Before dawn the next morning, Og feels that funny feeling again. Thinking that he’s with Sharon, he proclaims his undying love for her. It turns out that it is not Sharon, but the mute Susan to whom he is speaking. When he discovers the mix-up he declares that everything he just said still holds true (“When I’m Not Near the Girl I Love”). As dawn breaks, Finian begs Og to change the Senator back to white for the sake of everyone in Rainbow Valley. Og would like to, but he doesn’t know where the crock is. No one knows where it is except the mute Susan. Og, without realizing he’s over the crock, wishes that Susan could speak and then of course she does. Although they know now where the crock is, Og realizes that two of the three wishes have been used up. He must choose between wishing the Senator white or wishing himself to be a full-fledged leprechaun once more. Susan kisses him, and he realizes that being a leprechaun was never so good. He wishes the Senator white. Sharon and Woody are freed; the homestead is saved. With all three wishes used up, Og and Susan are ready to begin their life together, and Finian leaves the valley a more prosperous and wiser place. Sharon, who is staying on with Woody, says a fond farewell to her father, hoping that they’ll all meet again someday in Glocca Morra (“How Are Things in Glocca Morra” – reprise). – Bill Rosenfield

Credits

Buzz Collins: Eddie Bruce Sheriff: Tom McElhany First Sharecropper: John McCurry Second Sharecropper: Knute Sullivan Susan Mahoney: Anita Alvarez Henry: Michael Darden Maude: Carol Brice Finian McLonergan: Bobby Howes Sharon McLonergan: Jeannie Carson Woody Mahoney: Biff McGuire Og: Howard Morris Senator Billboard Rawkins: Sorrell Booke First Geologist: Barney Johnston Second Geologist: Robert Guillaume Howard: Jim McMillan Diana: Patty Austin Mr. Robust: Edgar Daniels Mr. Shears: Joe Ross First Passion Pilgrim Gospeleer: Jerry Laws Second Passion Pilgrim Gospeleer: Bill Glover Third Passion Pilgrim Gospeleer:Tiger Haynes First Deputy: Don Gray Second Deputy: Larry Mitchell Singers: Issa Arnal, Nan Courtney, Marnell Higley, Mary Louise, Lispet Nelson, Stephanie Reynolds, Alice Elizabeth Webb, Beverly Jane Welch, John Boni, Hugh Dilworth, Knute Sullivan