A Musical (Satire) in Two Acts, 10 Scenes. Music by Burton Lane, lyrics by E. Y. Harburg, book by E. Y. Harburg and Fred Saidy
46th Street Theatre, Broadway - 10 January, 1947 (725 perfs)
Palace Theatre, London - 21 October, 1947
Having left Ireland, Finian McLonergan and his daughter Sharon arrive in the American state of Missitucky with a magical golden crock which has been stolen from Og, a leprechaun. Finian buries the crock believing that it will grow bigger. Rawkins, a racist Senator, is determined to get his hands on the it but is thwarted when he is magically turned black and gets a helping of his own bigotry. After many plot twists all is resolved and love, wealth and happiness descend on Rainbow Valley.
Finian McLonergan arrives in Rainbow Valley, Missitucky, with his daughter, Sharon, and a "borrowed" pot of gold. His theory is to plant the gold near Fort Knox. Surely it will multiply just as America's bullion burial has made all Americans rich. They encounter poor sharecroppers who are about to lose their land. Henchmen of Senator Billboard Rawkins are ready to pay back taxes and take over. However, his plan is foiled by Woody, who returns from the big city with the tax money, and by Finian, who covers the hidden charges when Woody cannot. In exchange, Finian gets property rights for enough land to sow his golden dream.
While Sharon and Woody are falling in love, Og, a leprechaun, confronts Finian and demands the return of his pot of gold. But Finian ignores him, as a figment of his imagination. Geologists, working on a secret dam project, detect gold on the sharecroppers' land. Learning this, Rawkins moves in to take the land by force. As he is manhandling a Negro sharecropper, Sharon wishes that Rawkins was black. Unwittingly, she is standing over the magical pot, and her wish is granted. Rawkins dashes into hiding.
A telegram arrives from Shears and Robust granting unlimited credit to the people of the gold-rich valley. Woody persuades them to use the credit to buy tractors and equipment to improve the harvest. Without his gold, Og will become mortal. However, his search for the pot is interrupted by Sharon with whom he immediately falls in love. When Shears and Robust arrive to collect for all the merchandise, Woody satisfies them with proof of future profit. The McLonergan economic theory is working, but Sharon is charged with witchcraft and the mysterious disappearance of Rawkins. Og encounters Billboard in the woods and magically improves his disposition.
Arriving back in the Valley, Og encounters Susan the Silent. Love strikes again, only harder. He also learns Sharon is to be burned as a witch unless a white Rawkins can be found. Og believes Susan can tell him where the gold is hidden and so wishes. She talks. He is sitting above the crock. He unearths the pot and makes the final wish that saves Sharon for Woody, but renders himself completely mortal. But Og has Susan. Finian, having proven his theory without a shadow of doubt, moves on to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, to proclaim the miracles of a small rock given him by Nicholas the Nucleus.
30 roles, 11 principals Children required (4-8). Total cast, 40-52
Principals: 2 female, 9 male, 1 boy
Susan - dances but does not speak
Finian - comic character man, straight role
Woody and Sharon - romantic singing leads
Og - likeable Leprechaun - sings and dances
Senator Billboard Rawkins - screaming bigot, straight comic role
Sunny, Harmonica Player
Og, a Leprechaun
Senator Billboard Rawkins
John, the Preacher
First Passion Pilgrim Gospeller
Second Passion Pilgrim Gospeller
Third Passion Pilgrim Gospeller
Children: Dancers: Singin Ensemble
large chorus of separate singing and dancing ensembles. Strong choral work. Featured chorus parts
Scenes & Settings
Scene 1: The Meetin' Place, Rainbow Valley, Missitucky
Scene 2: The same
Scene 3: The Colonial Estate of Senator Billboard Rawkins
Scene 4: The Meetin' Place
Scene 5: A Path in the Woods
Scene 6: The Meetin' Place
Scene 1: Rainbow Valley
Scene 2: A wooded section of the hill
Scene 3: The Meetin' Place
Scene 4: Just Before Dawn
- This Time of the Year - Singing Ensemble
- Dance - Susan, Dance Ensemble
- How Are Things in Glocca Morra? - Sharon
- Look to the Rainbow - Sharon, Singing Ensemble
- Dance - Finian, Susan, Solo Dancer, Dance Ensemble
- Old Devil Moon - Sharon, Woody
- How Are Things in Glocca Morra? (reprise) - Sharon
- Something Sort of Grandish - Sharon, Og
- If This Isn't Love - Sharon, Woody, Singing Ensemble
- Dance - Susan. Two Couples, The Uninitiated, The Tenative Two, The Intense Pair, The Exuberant Ones, Solo Dancer, Triangle, Another Couple
- Something Sort of Grandish (reprise) - Og
- Necessity - Ensemble
- (That) Great Come-and-Get-It-Day - Sharon, Woody, Singing Ensemble
- Dance - Dance Ensemble
- When the Idle Poor Become the Idle Rich - Sharon, Singing Ensemble
- Dance - Dance company
- Old Devil Moon (reprise) - Sharon, Woody
- Dance of the Golden Crock - Susan, accompanied by Sunny Harmonica Player
- Fiddle Faddle - Og
- The Begat - Senator Rawkins, Pilgrim Gospellers
- Look to the Rainbow (reprise) - Sharon, Woody, Singing Ensemble
- When I'm Not Near the Girl I Love - Og, Susan
- If This Isn't Love (reprise) - Entire Ensemble
- Finale - Entire Company
Period and Costumes
The fabled area of Missitucky, a state in the USA:
- appropriate costumes for sharecroppers, sheriff, Irish immigrants,
Og the leprechaun (with breakaway pants for him to grow out of),
Shears and Robust (formal morning coats, etc.),
Preacher and Three Gospellers,
Senator Rawkins (white Kentucky Colonel suit),
and outlandish Hollywood fashions for each sharecropper and their children.
Modern ballet, couples number, parade, one male quartet number, one female quartet number.
Lighting and Special Effects:
General lighting. Flash pots, white Senator is turned black on stage, rainbow is projected, lightning strikes.
Violin, A, B, C, D, viola, cello, bass, flute (pic, clar), oboe (Eng. horn), clar I, clar II (flute, pic), bass clar (clar, bassoon), horns I-II, trumpets I-II, trombone I, II, harp, guitar, percussion, piano, piano/conductor.
Vocal Score and Libretto on hire only