Hey — COVID-19 take this! That’s pretty much what the newest Broadway musical, “Six” told the worldwide pandemic while they wagged their proverbial “thumb” because of that pesky germ this show was shut down mere hours before its scheduled open in the night.
And much much like the royal characters — a cheeky sextet of the spouses of King Henry VIII these women are still standing metaphorically speaking.
These women are been waiting for centuries to roar, and tell their story and in the bargain to provide some perspective. Clearly, it’s not much fun being a footnote in history but their fates were so dramatic that it turned itself into a children’s nursery rhyme the world over. You know it. Sing along: “Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived.” And you think modern women have it bad because of “swipe left, swipe right”.
If it isn’t clear this new music — “Six” — is imported from England and along its journey across the pond’s West End (wink) it’s amassed, passionate followers.
Great news, the show is fast-paced clocking in at 1 hour and 20 minutes and it feels like a pop concert meets a competitive reality series. The musical is created by twenty-somethings Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss and directed by Moss and Jamie Armitage.
Here the wives are judged and the criteria is who’s suffered the most and it’s the level of tragedy that makes the lead singer. This is a sassy, cheeky show with a special high-five for the power of sisterhood. Naturally, there is a lot of biographical exposition but it’s easily digested in a snap and a rap. I’m not suggesting that they “copied” “Hamilton” but there is great power in using modern musical styles to review historical lives. In short — this is #herstory
It’s energetic pulling from musicals includes Rihanna, Adele, Britney, and Beyoncé, all mixed like a bowl of fun, party nuts. Kudos to choreographer Carrie-Anne Ingrouille and costume designer, Gabriella Slade because this woman is not intimated by bling. The visual treats continue with a concert court set by Emma Bailey, illuminated by Tim Deiling’s inspired lighting. And to keep the music going — a sizzling, all-female band. Musically each of the ex-wives gets to bring their fire via a solo that reflects their passion, perspective, and story.
Catherine of Aragon (Adrianna Hicks) brings the thunder with the pop-inspired song“No Way.” Anne Boleyn (Andrea Macasaet ) belts with the song (wink) “Don’t Lose Ur Head.” Anna of Cleves (Brittney Mack) delivers the jazz-inspired song “Get Down” which details the perks of a prenup. And Jane Seymour (Abby Mueller) — Henry’s only loving wife —delivers a power ballad, “Heart of Stone”.
What makes the minutes fly is the creative teams understanding that this generation’s attention span reflects social media and the performances are solid. The dark side is there and it shows itself in the song “All You Wanna Do.”
As the emotions brew Catherine Parr (Anna Uzele) the Kings’ final wife decides to step out of the game, giving the show a deeper dive into the power of history with “I Don’t Need Your Love” designed to inspire the other wives to see themselves in their light, not Henry’s.
“Six” now playing at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, 256 West 47th St. 212-719-4099. 80 minutes, no intermission.
Starring Adrianna Hicks, Andrea Macasaet, Abby Mueller, Brittney Mack, Samantha Pauly, Anna Uzele. Music By Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss.