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REX Music by Richard Rodgers: Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick: Book by Shermann Yellen Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, Broadway - 25 April, 1976 (49 perfs) Synopsis (Reprinted from the original 1976 album) ACT I The year is 1520. The idea of a summit meeting between Henry VIII, King of England and Francis I, King of France to be held in June in France is believed to be a stroke of genius, a proper way to bury old rivalries and foster peace between their countries. Henry is not completely sold on the idea. He voices doubts to Cardinal Wolsey and Norfolk. Norfolk is against making the trip; Wolsey promotes the alliance. Henry finally approves of the need to make Francis an ally but has no intent to please him to accomplish it. To France, to France, the king commands, and preparations for the journey are begun. Arrangements for transporting 5,000 English men and women are made. The castle chosen to house King Henry is not suitable for a King's lodging, so a gigantic, ornate tent is raised, though the castle will still house many of the royal party. The plans for the historic meeting are so lavish, the richness of the costumes and pavilions so magnificent that the name Field of Cloth of Gold seems most appropriate. Henry has arrived in France. He is in his tent, correcting his latest song. He asks his minstrel, Mark Smeaton, to sing it. No Song More Pleasing When the king learns dozens and dozens of young ladies are close by, he is eager for instant companionship. But he cautions Smeaton to play quickly if he is dancing with an aged lady, very slowly if the lady is young. Will, the jester, cracks wise about what Henry wants to do with the pretty ones. Cardinal Wolsey is not amused. He slaps the fool's hand and tells him to mind his lecherous ways. Will mocks him. Beg pardon, your Eminence. Everyone knows that lechery is a cardinal sin. Wolsey tries to discuss plans for the treaty with his king and gifts for the French ruler, but Henry wants no part of that. He is most concerned with the betrothal plans for his daughter, Princess Mary (Glenn Close), who looks a bit peaked. Her mother, Queen Catherine, thinks it is due to the channel crossing. Mary, however, doesn't like the idea of marrying the Dauphin. He's only 10. Henry reminds her that she won't have to do it for years and commands her to smile for England. Catherine sends her lady-in-waiting, Jane Seymour, for her jewel box. Always the devout Catholic, Catherine takes out a large cross, drapes it on Henry and tells him he is now properly dressed. The King of England and the King of France express their own private attitudes, despite those, the two courts approach each other, and the meeting begins. The Field of Cloth of Gold/Where Is My Son? Francis ribs Henry about the fact that he has no sons. Henry doesn't like the needling at all, especially when he is introduced to the very pregnant Queen Claude of France. But he doesn't mind when he meets Anne Boleyn, an English beauty attached to the French court, who translates for the queen. Henry is anxious to show off. He challenges Francis to a wrestling match - and loses. Henry is livid but is calmed by Queen Claude, who thanks him for his gallantry for letting Francis win. He fences verbally with Anne. When he invites her to his tent for the night she cutely passes the invitation to the pregnant queen, who says she can't oblige in her present condition. Dancing with Anne, Henry presses the invitation. At least, he says, come back to England and join my court. Catherine unhappily watches all this. Her wifely relationship with Henry is almost non-existent. As Once I Loved You Months have passed. Henry has fallen passionately in love with Anne, but she refuses to become his mistress, as her elder sister had been for four years. Anne wants only to become queen and to bear him sons. The astrologer Comus is in his laboratory searching for some pagan magic that will lure Anne to court. He