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Thomas and the King is a stage musical with music by John Williams, lyrics by James Harbert, and a book by Edward Anhalt. It is based on the story of Thomas Becket and Henry II of England, and set in 12th century England. It opened at Her Majesty's Theatre London, 16 October 1975 to poor reviews and failed to make it to Broadway. The set was designed by Tim Goodchild. The musical was directed and choreographed by Norman Maen. The cast included James Smilie, Richard Johnson, Caroline Villiers, Martin McEvoy, and Dilys Hamlett.
Musical theatre is a form of theatrical performance that combines songs, spoken dialogue, acting and dance. The story and emotional content of a musical – humor, pathos, love, anger – are communicated through the words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an integrated whole. Although musical theatre overlaps with other theatrical forms like opera and dance, it may be distinguished by the equal importance given to the music as compared with the dialogue, movement and other elements. Since the early 20th century, musical theatre stage works have generally been called, simply, musicals.
John Towner Williams is an American composer, conductor, and pianist. With a career spanning over six decades, he has composed some of the most popular, recognizable, and critically acclaimed film scores in cinematic history, including those of the Star Wars series, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the Indiana Jones series, the first two Home Alone films, Hook, the first two Jurassic Park films, Schindler's List, and the first three Harry Potter films. Williams has been associated with director Steven Spielberg since 1974, composing music for all but four of his feature films––Duel, The Color Purple, Bridge of Spies, and Ready Player One. Other works by Williams include theme music for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games, NBC Sunday Night Football, "The Mission" theme used by NBC News and Seven News in Australia, the television series Lost in Space and Land of the Giants, and the incidental music for the first season of Gilligan's Island. Williams has also composed numerous classical concertos and other works for orchestral ensembles and solo instruments. He served as the Boston Pops's principal conductor from 1980 to 1993, and is currently the orchestra's laureate conductor.
Edward Anhalt was a noted screenwriter, producer, and documentary filmmaker. After working as a journalist and documentary filmmaker for Pathé and CBS-TV he teamed with his wife Edna Anhalt, one of his five wives, during World War II to write pulp fiction.
The story begins with a (Pilgrimage Procession), led by Queen Eleanor on her way to Canterbury through a wooded area where King Henry II has been pursuing peasant wenches. Henry tries to encourage his friend Thomas Becket to join him (Look Around You). Thomas meets Jennie, a peasant girl who wants to better herself even though it means yielding her maidenhood to Henry. Left alone, she expresses her insecurities (Am I Beautiful?). Thomas warns Henry that Jennie is an intelligent girl, but this fails to discourage Henry. Thomas reprimands him for his ribaldry and reminds him that it is the King's responsibility to leave the world a better place. Henry prefers to be remembered as a (Man Of Love).
Theobold, Archbishop of Canterbury, challenges Thomas' inability to reform Henry's ways, which leads to a discussion between Henry and Thomas as to the true nature of love (The Question). In the palace, Queen Eleanor finds Jennie on her way to Henry's bedchamber and she tries to make Jennie unattractive to Henry by dressing her in a royal manner. Thomas suggests that Eleanor will have done Jennie a favour in keeping her from Henry's bed but Jennie is now unable to return to her village and her previous way of life (What Choice Have I?).
At a council meeting, in a challenge to the Archbishop, Henry makes Thomas the Lord Chancellor, bridging the gap between church and state. This is seen by Henry as a way to build a better England (We Shall Do It!). A jealous Eleanor reminds herself that she can handle Henry as well as Thomas and Jennie who has, in a gesture of both lust and ambition, come to Henry's bed again and he finds that feeling of affection for the peasant wench is (Improbable As Spring). Eleanor is a woman of (Power) and masterminds a war against France. The Archbishop is killed and Henry is defeated. Eleanor is delighted. However, to gain popularity again with the people of England Henry decides to make Thomas the new Archbishop of Canterbury. Thomas pleads with Henry to reconsider, realising that Henry will expect him to speak for the King rather than for the Church. But Henry says that he will go ahead with his plan but Thomas pledges that he will speak for God (The Question - Reprise).
The second act opens with the (Consecration) of Thomas as Archbishop of Canterbury, but Eleanor is plotting to bring Thomas to trial for his past misdeeds. While Eleanor has been otherwise engaged Henry has fallen in love with Jennie ('Tis Love). Henry will not allow Thomas to be tried by the Church Court but Thomas defies him by supporting the right of the Church in this matter and he goes to Rome to see the Pope.
In Rome the Cardinals are not kindly disposed towards Thomas and privately plot to have him excommunicated (Sincerity). The Pope is afraid that if he sends Thomas to England, Henry will invade Rome, so, exile is the only solution. Thomas ponders the challenge and the dichotomy with which he is now faced (The Test).
Back in England, Jennie suggests that Henry forgive Thomas (Replay The Game) and that they should try to build their dream for England (A New Way To Turn).
Thomas returns to England and he agrees to obey Henry in legal matters but not on Church matters. Unable to compromise, Henry realises that he will have to destroy Thomas in order to keep his kingdom (Will No One Rid Me?). While kneeling in prayer, Thomas is murdered. Henry finds that it is in death that Thomas has achieved martyrdom and, from his grief, Henry vows to build their dream for England (So Many Worlds - Finale).
The musical (principal members) was recorded a few years after its West End production, with some of the original cast participating. Lewis Fiander sang the role of Thomas, with Michael Sammes as Bishop Foliot, Richard Day-lewis as Cardinal Rossini and Tom Saffery as Cardinal Resphigi.The album was recorded at PRT Studios, London 27/28 Aug 1981. The orchestrator for the musical was John Williams' regular collaborator Herbert W. Spencer.
Lewis Fiander was an Australian film, stage, and television actor.
Herbert Winfield Spencer was a Chilean-born American film and television composer and orchestrator.
Thomas Becket, also known as Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Thomas of London and later Thomas à Becket, was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 until his murder in 1170. He is venerated as a saint and martyr by both the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. He engaged in conflict with Henry II, King of England, over the rights and privileges of the Church and was murdered by followers of the king in Canterbury Cathedral. Soon after his death, he was canonised by Pope Alexander III.
Stephen Langton was an English Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and Archbishop of Canterbury between 1207 and his death in 1228. The dispute between King John of England and Pope Innocent III over his election was a major factor to the crisis which produced Magna Carta in 1215. Cardinal Langton is also credited with having divided the Bible into the standard modern arrangement of chapters used today.
Louis VII, called the Younger or the Young, was King of the Franks from 1137 to 1180, the sixth from the House of Capet. He was the son and successor of King Louis VI, hence his nickname, and married Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in western Europe. The marriage temporarily extended the Capetian lands to the Pyrenees, but was annulled in 1152 after no male heir was produced.
Theobald of Bec was a Norman archbishop of Canterbury from 1139 to 1161. His exact birth date is unknown. Some time in the late 11th or early 12th century Theobald became a monk at the Abbey of Bec, rising to the position of abbot in 1137. King Stephen of England chose him to be Archbishop of Canterbury in 1138. Canterbury's claim to primacy over the Welsh ecclesiastics was resolved during Theobald's term of office when Pope Eugene III decided in 1148 in Canterbury's favour. Theobald faced challenges to his authority from a subordinate bishop, Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester and King Stephen's younger brother, and his relationship with King Stephen was turbulent. On one occasion Stephen forbade him from attending a papal council, but Theobald defied the king, which resulted in the confiscation of his property and temporary exile. Theobald's relations with his cathedral clergy and the monastic houses in his archdiocese were also difficult.
Richard was a medieval Benedictine monk and Archbishop of Canterbury. Employed by Thomas Becket immediately before Becket's death, Richard arranged for Becket to be buried in Canterbury Cathedral and eventually succeeded Becket at Canterbury in a contentious election. Much of Richard's time as archbishop was spent in a dispute with Roger de Pont L'Evêque, the Archbishop of York over the primacy of England, and with St Augustine's Abbey in Canterbury over the archbishop's jurisdiction over the abbey. Richard had better relations with King Henry II of England than Becket had, and was employed by the king on diplomatic affairs. Richard also had the trust of the papacy, and served as a judge for the papacy. Several of his questions to Pope Alexander III were collected into the Decretals, a collection of ecclesiastical laws, and his patronage of canon lawyers did much to advance the study of canon law in England.
Robert of Melun was an English scholastic Christian theologian who taught in France, and later became Bishop of Hereford in England. He studied under Peter Abelard in Paris before teaching there and at Melun, which gave him his surname. His students included John of Salisbury, Roger of Worcester, William of Tyre, and possibly Thomas Becket. Robert was involved in the Council of Reims in 1148, which condemned the teachings of Gilbert de la Porrée. Three of his theological works survive, and show him to have been strictly orthodox.
Roger de Pont L'Évêque was Archbishop of York from 1154 to 1181. Born in Normandy, he preceded Thomas Becket as Archdeacon of Canterbury, and together with Becket served Theobald of Bec while Theobald was Archbishop of Canterbury. While in Theobald's service, Roger was alleged to have committed a crime which Becket helped to cover up. Roger succeeded William FitzHerbert as archbishop in 1154, and while at York rebuilt York Minster, which had been damaged by fire.
Reginald fitz Jocelin was a medieval Bishop of Bath and an Archbishop of Canterbury-elect in England. A member of an Anglo-Norman noble family, he was the son of a bishop, and was educated in Italy. He was a household clerk for Thomas Becket, but by 1167 he was serving King Henry II of England. He was also a favourite of King Louis VII of France, who had him appointed abbot of the Abbey of Corbeil. After Reginald angered Becket while attempting to help negotiate a settlement between Becket and the king, Becket called him "that offspring of fornication, that enemy to the peace of the Church, that traitor." When he was elected as a bishop, the election was challenged by King Henry's eldest son, Henry the Young King, and Reginald was forced to go to Rome to be confirmed by Pope Alexander III. He attended the Third Lateran Council in 1179, and spent much of his time administering his diocese. He was elected Archbishop of Canterbury in 1191, but died before he could be installed.
Who did Kill Thomas Becket in 1170? is a 2000 Channel 4 documentary concerning the murder of Thomas Becket, who was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 to 1770. He is venerated as a saint and martyr by both the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.
Gilbert Foliot was a medieval English monk and prelate, successively Abbot of Gloucester, Bishop of Hereford and Bishop of London. Born to an ecclesiastical family, he became a monk at Cluny Abbey in France at about the age of twenty. After holding two posts as prior in the Cluniac order he was appointed Abbot of Gloucester Abbey in 1139, a promotion influenced by his kinsman Miles of Gloucester. During his tenure as abbot he acquired additional land for the abbey, and may have helped to fabricate some charters—legal deeds attesting property ownership—to gain advantage in a dispute with the Archbishops of York. Although Foliot recognised Stephen as the King of England, he may have also sympathised with the Empress Matilda's claim to the throne. He joined Matilda's supporters after her forces captured Stephen, and continued to write letters in support of Matilda even after Stephen's release.
Becket is a 1964 Anglo-American dramatic film adaptation of the play Becket or the Honour of God by Jean Anouilh made by Hal Wallis Productions and released by Paramount Pictures. It was directed by Peter Glenville and produced by Hal B. Wallis with Joseph H. Hazen as executive producer. The screenplay was written by Edward Anhalt based on Anouilh's play. The music score was by Laurence Rosenthal, the cinematography by Geoffrey Unsworth and the editing by Anne V. Coates.
Hilary (c. 1110–1169) was a medieval Bishop of Chichester in England. English by birth, he studied canon law and worked in Rome as a papal clerk. During his time there, he became acquainted with a number of ecclesiastics, including the future Pope Adrian IV, and the writer John of Salisbury. In England, he served as a clerk for Henry of Blois, who was the Bishop of Winchester and brother of King Stephen of England. After Hilary's unsuccessful nomination to become Archbishop of York, Pope Eugene III compensated him by promoting him to the bishopric of Chichester in 1147.
Bartholomew Iscanus was a medieval Bishop of Exeter. He came from Normandy and after being a clerk of the Archbishop of Canterbury, was made Archdeacon of Exeter in 1155. He became bishop of Exeter in 1161. He was known as having excellence in canon law and theology and during his time as bishop visited all the parishes in the diocese to investigate how well-managed they were.
Robert Foliot was a medieval Bishop of Hereford in England. He was a relative of a number of English ecclesiastics, including Gilbert Foliot, one of his predecessors at Hereford. After serving Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln as a clerk, he became a clerk of Henry of Blois, the Bishop of Winchester and brother of King Stephen of England. He attended the Council of Reims in 1148, where another relative, Robert de Chesney, was elected as Bishop of Hereford. Chesney then secured the office of Archdeacon of Oxford for Foliot.
Robert de Chesney was a medieval English Bishop of Lincoln. He was the brother of an important royal official, William de Chesney, and the uncle of Gilbert Foliot, successively Bishop of Hereford and Bishop of London. Educated at Oxford or Paris, Chesney was Archdeacon of Leicester before his election as bishop in December 1148.
Events from the 1170s in England.
The Canterbury–York dispute was a long-running conflict between the archdioceses of Canterbury and York in medieval England. It began shortly after the Norman Conquest of England and dragged on for many years. The main point of the dispute was over whether Canterbury would have jurisdiction, or primacy, over York. A number of archbishops of Canterbury attempted to secure professions of obedience from successive archbishops of York, but in the end they were unsuccessful. York fought the primacy by appealing to the kings of England as well as the papacy. In 1127, the dispute over the primacy was settled mainly in York's favour, for they did not have to submit to Canterbury. Later aspects of the dispute dealt with concerns over status and prestige.
Time and Chance is a historical novel written by Sharon Kay Penman published in 2002 and is the second volume in the Plantagenet trilogy, preceded by When Christ and His Saints Slept and followed by Devil's Brood.
The Becket controversy or Becket dispute was the quarrel between Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and King Henry II of England, from 1163 to 1170. The controversy culminated with Becket's murder in 1170, and was followed by Becket's canonization in 1173 and Henry's public penance at Canterbury in July 1174.
Ranulf de Broc was an Anglo-Norman nobleman and royal official during the reign of King Henry II of England. He held two offices in the royal household as well as performing other administrative duties for the king. During the Becket controversy between King Henry and Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, de Broc supported the king and was granted the administration of the exiled archbishop's lands during the later half of the 1160s. This earned de Broc three sentences of excommunication from the archbishop because of de Broc's financial exactions from the estates. De Broc was with the four men who murdered Becket in December 1170, although he did not take part in the actual murder. At de Broc's death around 1179, he left behind a widow and five daughters, who were his co-heiresses.