As a musical, “Finian’s Rainbow” fits squarely in the “chestnut” category. In fact, when my 82-year-old father heard it was being revived, his response was a dismissive, “Oh, not that old thing.”
Filial respect aside, Dad may have forgotten what a delightful, sweet score the musical has, and if the story is patently ridiculous and its early condemnation of racism seems hackneyed by today’s standards, the show still offers many pleasures.
The Irish Repertory Theatre has made the most of these in their staged reading that keeps the focus on what works and slides over the rest. And they’ve done a lovely job coming up with a winning production.
It’s a sublime treat to hear the incredible voices of Melissa Errico, Malcolm Gets, Max Von Essen and Jonathan Freeman in the intimate space of the Irish Rep. These consistently strong stars are surrounded by a talented ensemble that features an amazing Terri White—another reason to see this show—and, chestnut or not, clearly demonstrates the staying power of this classic American musical.