Finian's Rainbow to Open Oct. 29 at St. James Theatre; Norton, Baldwin, Cooper and Fitzgerald to Star
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, 246 West 44 Street, beginning Thursday, October 8 at 8pm, with an opening set for Thursday, October 29 at 6:45pm.
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.
The production stars Jim Norton (Finian), Kate Baldwin (Sharon), Chuck Cooper (Bill), and Christopher Fitzgerald (Og).
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."
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 won the 2008 Tony Award and the 2007 Olivier Award for The Seafarer. In New York he has appeared in The Weir, Juno and the Paycock, Dublin Carol (Obie Award), and Port Authority. His West End credits include The Weir (Olivier nomination) and National Theatre credits include The Pillowman, Bedroom Farce, Comedians, Hamlet, St. Joan. Mr. Norton has appeared in the films Straw Dogs, Driving Lessons, Hidden Agenda, Memoirs of an Invisible Man, Oyster Farmer, the recent Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and Conor McPherson's upcoming The Eclipse. His television credits include "Frasier," "Poirot," "Star Trek: The Next Generation," and "Father Ted."
Kate Baldwin's Broadway credits include Wonderful Town, The Full Monty, Thoroughly Modern Millie (original cast). Other New York credits include Babes in Arms, A Connecticut Yankee and Bloomer Girl at New York City Center Encores! Regionally she has appeared in The Women (Mary Haines, Old Globe), South Pacific (Nellie, Helen Hayes nomination), Guys and Dolls (Sarah Brown), Passion (Clara), The Last Five Years (Cathy), 1776 (Martha), A Little Night Music (Baltimore Center Stage), Henry V (Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey), She Loves Me (Huntington/Williamstown, IRNE Nomination), and Hello Dolly! (Paper Mill). She appeared in Stephen Sondheim's Opening Doors at Zankel Hall and has performed concerts with the Chicago Symphony, National Symphony, and Portland Symphony. Her television credits include "Law & Order: SVU." Ms. Baldwin just recorded her first solo album for PS Classics due out in October and is a graduate of Northwestern University.
Chuck Cooper 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 Original Bus/Dryer in Caroline, or Change; Chicago; Lennon; Passion; Someone Who'll Watch Over Me; Rumors; Amen Corner; Getting Away With Murder. National tours include The Tap Dance Kid, Eubie, and Whistle Down the Wind. Off-Broadway includes Caroline, or Change; Avenue X; Police Boys; and Colored People's Time. Regionally he has appeared in the premiere of Dance of the Holy Ghosts, Two Trains Running, Putting it Together, Othello, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Coriolanus, The Tempest, St. Heaven, and Being Alive. On television he has appeared in "Gossip Girl," "Nurse Jackie," "Three Pounds," "Without a Trace," "Hack," "Law & Order," "100 Centre Street," "Law & Order SVU," Paul Reiser TV Project," "Third Watch," "Oz," "Strangers with Candy," "NYPD Blue," "The Cosby Mysteries," "New York Undercover," and "I'll Fly Away." He has appeared in the films American Gangster, Find Me Guilty, Downtown, Requiem for a Dream, Our Song, The Hurricane, The Opportunists, Gloria, The Peacemaker, The Juror, and many independents. Mr. Cooper's website is www.chuckcooper.net.
Christopher Fitzgerald's Broadway credits include Young Frankenstein (Tony, Outer Critics Circle nominations), Wicked, and Amour (Drama Desk nomination). Off-Broadway he has appeared in Gutenberg! The Musical! (Actors' Playhouse), Stairway to Paradise, Babes In Arms, and Broadway Bash (New York City Center Encores!), Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme (Lincoln Center), Fully Committed (Cherry Lane Theatre), Saturday Night (Second Stage, Drama Desk nomination), Wise Guys (New York Theatre Workshop), Corpus Christi (Manhattan Theatre Club) and The Cripple of Inishmaan (Public Theater). Regional credits include The Beauty Queen of Lennane (Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Joseph Jefferson nomination), Springtime for Henry (Huntington Theatre, IRNE Award), Ahmanson Theater, Portland Stage Company, American Conservatory Theater, and ten seasons with the Williamstown Theatre Festival (where favorite productions include Billings, The Trojan Women 2.0, A Midsummer's Nights Dream, Where's Charley?, and Dead End). Mr. Fitzgerald's television credits include "Twins" (series regular, WB) and "The Electric Company" (PBS), and film credits include Personal Velocity (dir. Rebecca Miller), Dedication (dir. Justin Theroux), Revolutionary Road (dir. Sam Mendes), and the upcoming untitled James L. Brooks project.
Warren Carlyle 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. His New York credits include Juno (New York City Center Encores!), Stairway to Paradise (Encores!), You Again (NY Fringe), Working (Zipper), Slut! (ATA), Roundabout 40th Gala 2006 and the first 24 Hour Musicals at The Public Theater. Regionally he has choreographed Mame (Kennedy Center), The Pirates of Penzance (Paper Mill; Goodspeed, Connecticut Critics Circle Award for Best Choreography), The Baker's Wife (Goodspeed) and Pageant (Second City). In his native England his work has included Me and My Girl (UK tour, director as well, Best Production 2007 Theatregoers Choice Award), The Goodbye Girl (1st nat'l tour), Pageant (Vaudeville Theatre), Moving On (Bridewell Theatre) and Scrooge (European tour). He is represented on film and television by Deception (20th Century Fox), "Hope and Faith" (ABC), "An Evening at the Boston Pops" (PBS) and Elton John's "Made in England" video. As associate choreographer he has contributed to The Producers (Broadway/film), Oklahoma! (Broadway) and Center Stage (film). As a resident director/choreographer, Mr. 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.
The set design for Finian's Rainbow is by John Lee Beatty; the costume design is by Toni-Leslie James; the lighting design is by Ken Billington; the sound design is by Scott Lehrer.
Finian's Rainbow plays the ST. James Theatre, 246 West 44 Street. The preview performance schedule (through Sunday, November 1) is Monday through Saturday at 8pm with a matinee on Saturday at 2pm. There will be special added matinees on Wednesday, October 28 at 2pm and Sunday, November 1 at 3pm. The regular performance schedule, beginning Monday, November 2, is Tuesday through Thursday at 7pm; Friday and Saturday at 8pm; with matinees on Wednesday and Saturday at 2pm, and Sunday at 3pm. Tickets are $35 - $75 in previews and $50 - $120 post opening. There are also special post-opening Wednesday evening prices as low as $25.00. Tickets may be purchased by visiting www.telecharge.com or by phoning 212.239.6200. For groups, which are on sale now, phone 212.541.8457 or 1.800.BROADWAY. The ST. James Theatre box office opens Tuesday, September 8. For more information about Finian's Rainbow, visit www.FiniansOnBroadway.com.
At FiniansOnBroadway.com, fans not only learn all about the Broadway production, they also engage with the show's interactive platforms in several innovative ways. "Look to the Rainbow" gives users the opportunity to contribute to and view a constantly changing gallery of everyday rainbows via the photo-sharing site Flickr, "Finian's Treasury" is a section of the site dedicated to show's storied past, including rare video footage from the Yip Harburg Foundation that chronicles the creation of some of his most beloved songs, and fans can also join real-time conversations on social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.