The second Broadway revival of the 1947 musical Finian's Rainbow (following the first, in 1960) opened on October 29, 2009, and closed two and a half months later on January 17, 2010, after only 92 performances, despite having been well received by critics. Broadway observers blamed its early demise, and those of some other productions, on the economic recession and on a trend in which, with ticket prices sky high, theatergoers were more likely to flock to shows featuring movie and TV stars or to established blockbusters. Whatever the reasons, it's too bad this solid production couldn't have been see by more people since, as the album demonstrates, it featured a talented cast led by Irish stage veteran Jim Norton as Finian, the expatriate from the imaginary Irish town of Glocca Morra, now a resident of the equally imaginary Rainbow Valley in the state of "Missitucky," there to plant the crock of gold he stole from a leprechaun in the fertile ground near Fort Knox. Finian is accompanied by his daughter Sharon (Kate Baldwin), who predictably falls in love with the local sharecropper Woody (Cheyenne Jackson), such that the two are soon singing Broadway standards like "Look to the Rainbow," "Old Devil Moon," and "If This Isn't Love." Meanwhile, Og (Christopher Fitzgerald), the leprechaun, is in hot pursuit, but manages to pause long enough to sing "Something Sort of Grandish" and "When I'm Not Near the Girl I Love." All of these performers are impressive, and the original orchestrations continue to sound great. Finian's Rainbow had a definitive cast recording back in 1947, and the subsequent ones documenting the 1960 Broadway revival, the 1968 film version (with Fred Astaire and Petula Clark), and a 2004 off-Broadway revival have all been excellent. This one, including more dialogue than usual, is another winning rendition of the music from a show that remains charming and timely, even if the Broadway run was disappointing.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann