The verdict is in from the New York Times: “Finian’s Rainbow,” and its Irish star Jim Norton, is a huge hit. Not to say "we told you so," but we did back in September when Irish Voice critic Cahiir O'Doherty said the show was going to take Broadway by storm.
Theater critic Charles Isherwood says the Irish show is a ray of sunshine over Broadway.
“Permanent sunshine can confidently be predicted for the vicinity of the St. James Theater, where the joyous revival of ‘Finian’s Rainbow’ opened on Thursday night,” he says.
And Isherwood singles out the "reliably delightful" Norton for major praise saying the Irish Tony winner steals the show.
“I cannot think of an actor I cherish more than Mr. Norton, whose performances in the plays of Conor McPherson (‘The Weir,’ ‘Dublin Carol’ and ‘Port Authority,’ in addition to ‘Seafarer’) compose a body of work unsurpassed in its artistry, humanity and truth by that of any actor in New York in the past decade,” he says.
“I freely admit I never expected — or for that matter wanted — to see [Norton] singing and dancing in a Broadway musical.
“Well, here he is, carrying a tune a little gingerly, as if it were a newborn kitten he’s in danger of dropping, and leaping skyward with an enthusiasm to match anyone’s onstage.
“Better yet, Mr. Norton brings to his potentially stereotypical role, that of the wily-lovable Irishman with a fondness for drink, the very qualities I mentioned before, which can be scarce in confectionary Broadway musicals new or old: namely, artistry, humanity and truth.”
Isherwood plumps for the classic song "“How Are Things in Glocca Morra?” which is performed by star Kate Baldwin as his favorite from the show.
“The tune is folk-simple, the words drenched in stock ideas of Irishness, but as performed with both sophistication and sincerity by Ms. Baldwin, it has the distilled beauty of an art song.
“The crinkling blue eyes of Mr. Norton’s Finian, the classic sentimental Irishman, are soon misted over with longing, but he may not be the only one in the house in need of a handkerchief.”
Isherwood recommends 'Finian's Rainbow' as the perfect picker-upper for the shortened days.
“Here is where you should head this fall to warm your soul," he says.