Michael Kunze’s libretto opens in 1930s Monte Carlo, where “Ich” or “I”, as du Maurier’s self-effacing and apparently nameless protagonist is identified in the programme, gets swept off her feet and married by the widowed Max de Winter while she’s working as a rich American’s companion-cum-skivvy. Then it’s off to Cornwall and Manderley, where poor Ich succumbs to the insidious malice of the housekeeper, Mrs Danvers. Until Max’s confession of murder she believes herself a worthless replacement for his first wife, the superficially gorgeous, quietly evil Rebecca. With its blend of romance and high-toned melodrama, plus opportunities galore for spectacle, the novel would seem custom-built for musical reworking. And so it proves. Forgivably, the musical’s ending is a bit more upbeat than the novel’s. There’s a terrific central song, a soaring, grieving tribute to her late mistress, friend and (perhaps) lover by Mrs. Danvers, a haughty obsessive who fingers Rebecca’s art objects and cradles her lingerie as she glides like a black-clad, white-faced Hecate beneath Manderley’s chandeliers or through its lacy bedrooms.
(From a review by Benedict Nightingale/ The London Times)
The New York Times
July 12, 2011
ArtsBeat: 'Rebecca' to Sing, Manderley to Burn on Broadway