'Finian's Rainbow' opens on Broadway

ONE OF this columnist’s favorites is actor Jonathan Rhys-Meyers. He is heading into the final season of “The Tudors” on Showtime. He will now appear as the older, more debauched Henry VIII. I am told that Jonathan has actually consented to “some aging.” After all, he was, from the beginning, such an unlikely — though brilliant — choice for the role of the red-haired English monarch, and he got through most of this amazing series looking ravishing.

Jonathan is one of those dark-night-of-the-soul kind of guys — very intense, full of “issues.” But one can break through and not have a total nervous collapse while interviewing him.

He was a challenge at first. But if one just concentrates on his lips, his eyes, his boldly exposed chest, one gets through it. And he seemed to like it that this interviewer knew just a bit about English history.

P.S. “The Tudors” drives scholars half mad. It is not always authentic. But it’s great drama. And you never will forget some of its torture scenes — people wrapped in oiled bandages for the fire, red-hot pokers up the backside, the rack reducing pathetic humans to crawling remnants as they approach the headman’s ax. But after all, this part of “The Tudors” is authentic. Unfortunately.

SING! DANCE! THRILL! ENJOY! What a kick to see a Broadway musical and be able to sing along (silently, of course) with such classics as “That Old Devil Moon,” “Look to the Rainbow,” “How Are Things in Glocca Morra,” “If This Isn’t Love.”

That’s what you’ll be doing if you go see the truly sparkling production of the beloved “Finian’s Rainbow” just opened at the St. James Theater on Broadway.

There’s a wonderful cast, led by the one and only Jim Norton. (Broadway awarded his performance in “The Seafarer” with a Tony in 2008!) This Irish gent bears laughter and tears on his humble shoulders magnificently throughout.

Then there’s the endearingly lovely Kate Baldwin as his daughter. Ms. Baldwin is a big winner with her rich voice and charming looks, performing in this 62-year-old classic by Burton Lane and Yip Harburg. And, of course, there’s the smolderingly sexy Cheyenne Jackson as her love, sending sparks up around both of them. Everyone in this show is great, and what’s more, you can bring your children.

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