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Theatre / Finian's Rainbow

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"Petrified parsley, petrified parsley, petrified parsley..."
Sharon McLonergan

A Broadway musical from 1947, created by Fred Saidy (book), E.Y. "Yip" Harburg (book and lyrics), and Burton Lane (music). Due to its popularity it was revived several times, and it was adapted into a feature film in 1968, directed by Francis Ford Coppola as his first studio feature and starring Fred Astaire and Petula Clark.

The story follows Finian McLonergan, an Irish immigrant, and his daughter Sharon to Missitucky, USA. Finian has stolen a magical pot of gold from leprechauns back in Ireland and plans to plant it in the ground near Fort Knox. Og, a leprechaun in charge of the treasure, follows him, desperately trying to get the gold back. They arrive in Rainbow Valley, a small community led by the carefree Woody Mahoney, and matters are further complicated by the corrupt Senator Rawkins, Finian hiding and losing the gold, and the magical properties of the gold itself.

This musical and its 1968 film adaptation provide examples of:

  • An Aesop : Racism is not cool, OK?
  • Blue Blood: Spoofed:
    Finian: Don't you realize, lad, Sharon is from quality stock? Why, her whole family tree for generations back consists of nothin' but ancestors.
    Woody: We've been descendin' a long time too.
    Finian: Ah, but how long? Sharon's grandparents go back to the dawn of history. Blue-blooded amebas they were, with a dauntless ambition. Up they came through the paleozoic slime — from ameba to tadpole, from tadpole to daffodil, from daffodil to dromedary, and from dromedary to McLonergan. That's the background Sharon comes from — so get along with your luggage, lad, you haven't a chance.
  • Burn the Witch!: Almost happens to Sharon and Woody, after Sharon accidentally turns Rawkins black. They are saved Just in Time.
  • But Now I Must Go: Finian, at the end.
  • Color Me Black: Sharon tells a racist senator she wishes he were black so he would understand what black people have to go through due to people who think like he does. She happens to be standing where a pot of magical wish-granting gold is buried, so... well, you can guess where this is going.
  • Cue the Flying Pigs
    Woody: I'll raise the money somehow.
    Buzz: Money don't grow on trees, you know.
    (Money starts falling from the tree they're standing under, thrown by Sharon who sits up there.)
  • Cute Mute: Susan the Silent. Until the end.
    • To be clear—she gets less silent, not less cute.
  • Double Standard: "When the Idle Poor Become the Idle Rich" discusses this at length.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom
    Og: Doom and gloom! Dooooooom and gloooooooom!!!
  • Earthy Barefoot Character: Susan
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: The story takes place in the Rainbow Valley.
  • Gospel Revival Number: "On That Great Come-And-Get-It Day"
  • Have a Gay Old Time: From the opening ensemble number "This Time of the Year": "Persimmons are queer!"
  • Heel-Face Mind Screw: What Og does to Rawkins. The Hard Truth Aesop that often comes with this trope is arguably made somewhat less creepy by the fact that Og is, y'know, a leprechaun.
  • Humanity Ensues: Throughout the story, Og is slowly turning into a human due to losing his pot of gold. By the end, he's become completely mortal. And he doesn't care.
  • In Love with Love: "When I'm Not Near The Girl I Love (I Love The Girl I'm Near)."
  • Irishman and a Jew: Incorporates elements of Irish folklore (more or less) and features an Irish protagonist; the show was penned by an all-Jewish writing team.
  • Karmic Transformation: Openly racist senator Rawkins gets turned black. The trope gets a nice twist when he gets to love his new life and is forced to turn back by his own laws.
  • Large Ham: Og, in the film at least.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: In "When the Idle Poor Become the Idle Rich":
    • And when all your neighbours
      Are upper class
      You won't know your Joneses
      From your Astors
    • When we're in the dough
      And off of the nut
      You won't know your banker
      From your butler

Alternative Title(s): Finians Rainbow