Writing in a historical era is a tricky business, and it’s gets trickier the farther back in time you go. On the one hand, you have the issue of our modern social standards differing greatly (in many areas) from those of the past. How can you entertain your reader/viewer when the default attitudes of your chosen era are sexist, racist, or just plain unpleasant? But if you drop Sensitive New Age Guy tendencies into 16th England, you’re guilty of horrible anachronisms.
Then there’s language. How do you convey the language of centuries past in a manner that evokes that past, but still makes sense to your audience? Many fail here, and not just because they use anachronistic words. They try, as novelist Josephine Tey once bitched, to have their characters “speaking forsoothly.” For the most part, I think Yellen and Harnick escape this flaw, though that “Chase” number is lame. It’s harder than one might think. I watched Harry sweating writing his RULED BRITANNIA, which has Shakespeare helping the resistance in an England occupied by Spain. Wanna have a challenge? Try putting words in the Bard’s mouth!