re: 'Rex' marks the spot
Posted by: showtunetrivia 12:04 pm EDT 09/20/21
In reply to: 'Rex' marks the spot - WaymanWong 01:59 am EDT 09/20/21

Wayman, I’ve never seen REX, though I read the libretto about seven or eight years ago. I like “Away From You” and the minstel’s song, “No Song More Pleasing,” which is a lovely madrigal.

I can’t recall anything especially jumping out at me as historically, aside from compression for dramatic effect. I did like that they got in the wrestling match at the Field of Gold gathering, where Henry lost to Francis of France—one of those delightful examples of weird history. My husband, who writes both alternate history and historical novels says “Fiction has to be plausible; history just has to happen.”

I also liked that Sherman Yellen and Sheldon Harnick wisely concentrated on the three wives of Henry that gave him children. There’s no way, of course, you can do justice to his tumultuous reign in a two hour musical, unless you do something like SIX, of course. But Yellen was still faced with the near-impossible task of making the very messy political situation of 16th century Europe understandable to a Broadway audience that likely didn’t know a Tudor from a four-door. I shall spare you all lectures on Charles V, some guy named Martin Luther, and the papacy, but all that is crucial to what happened with Henry’s marriages.


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