Finian’s Rainbow Dramaturgy

By Jahnesha Huertas 

Finian’s Rainbow was originally produced in 1947. One part of the story is that a leprechaun turns a racist senator into a black person to understand the hurt he has caused. In the original production, the white actor playing the senator wore black-face to show his magical transformation from a white man to a black man. This caused bad press for the show because people thought it was encouraging racism. Not just audiences agreed, but the NAACP was also angered by what they perceived was a negative portrayal of blacks. In the current revival, two different actors have been cast to solve this problem - a white actor portrays the senator before his transformation and a black actor portrays him after the magical occurrence.