On Sunday evening… hopefully… each single finger crossed (clearly together with Anne Boleyn’s alleged sixth fingernail) will mark one of many sweetest—in a karmic manner—Broadway opening nights since reveals restarted. On the evening of March 12, 2020, Six, which sees the six wives of Henry VIII loudly and emphatically reclaim their very own histories, was on account of open. However that afternoon, Broadway’s pandemic shutdown was introduced, and Six by no means had its opening evening—till Sunday evening, when the unique Broadway forged returns to lastly, officially open the show at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.
In fact it’s definitely worth the wait. In fact anybody planning their very own return to Broadway can buy a ticket. It is likely one of the cleverest, wittiest, flashiest musicals on the town—and units up dwelling in New York after rave opinions wherever it has performed, together with the Edinburgh Pageant Fringe, the place it started life in 2017, and London’s West Finish. On Sunday evening, over 18 months later than anticipated, Six has its lengthy overdue, a lot deserved second to shine.
Welcome again to this uniformly glorious forged: Catherine of Aragon (Adrianna Hicks), Anne Boleyn (Andrea Macasaet), Jane Seymour (Abby Mueller), Anna of Cleves (Brittney Mack), Katherine Howard (Samantha Pauly), and Catherine Parr (Anna Uzele); and likewise the exceptional on-stage band: Julia Schade (conductor/keyboard), Michelle Osbourne (bass), Kimi Hayes (guitars), and Elena Bonomo (drums).
In case you haven’t already heard, the musical Six—by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss and directed by Moss and Jamie Armitage—sees the “queens” gathered on stage initially in a form of musical woman band loss of life match. Their intention is to compete, by means of track, who suffered essentially the most on the legendarily priapic Henry’s merciless hand: “The queen who was dealt the worst hand… shall be the one to guide the band.”
However the actual intention of the present is to disclose how all the ladies are rather more than their grouping within the propulsive group opening quantity, “Ex-Wives,” and their notorious descriptors: “Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived.” It’s telling that the construction of the present means every queen will get a solo, and when she does, all the opposite queens help her as backup singers and dancers.
The costumes (Gabriella Slade) and background lighting (Tim Deiling) marry Tudor styling and pop raunch; assume regal armor and breastplates meets “Child One Extra Time.” Every queen has a track, and every of these songs is enthusiastically applauded. The influences for every of these solos is listed in this system: Beyoncé, Shakira, Lily Allen, Avril Lavigne, Adele, Sia, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Ariana Grande, Britney Spears, Alicia Keys, and Emeli Sandé. The weaving collectively of songs, actual historical past, and the experiences of the ladies is playful, hilarious, and ingenious.
The onstage conflict of historic character and mores with fashionable music and storytelling—and queens whose grip on slack-jawed irony is unquestionably extra Gen Z than 1543—is essentially the most giggle-inducing historical past lesson you ever had. The orchestrations (Tom Curran) and choreography (Carrie-Anne Ingroulle) are girl-band misleading—sugared tablets with depth.
Anne Boleyn (track: “Don’t Lose Ur Head”) carries along with her the peeved, diva-ish impatience of the one who historical past/everybody remembers, in addition to being certainly one of two who was beheaded.
Any time anybody tries to one-up the group on perceived ache, Anne is there to remind them at the very least they saved their heads. Whereas the preliminary battle is on, something is honest sport as they argue by means of and between songs about why, for instance, miscarriage trumps dreary outdated adultery.
The least memorable wives are known as out for exactly that by the better-known ones, as a result of what’s historical past and the passage of time if not a ruthless measure of energy and efficient public relations? The songs—besides Mueller’s energy ballad “Coronary heart of Stone” for Jane Seymour, a form of newer, shinier “I Know Him So Properly”—are ground stompers and fists-in-the-air dance-floor fillers.
The collectively sung “Haus of Holbein,” a meditation on magnificence beliefs set to Euro home, is so suited to Girl Gaga, you assume both it sprang from her otherwise you hope the queens carry out it along with her someday. Then Anna of Cleves gleefully rips up the stage, and disrobes, to “Get Down,” which as a substitute of complaining about her lot with Henry boasts about how a lot enjoyable she had as a palace spouse. Regrets: She didn’t have any.
Historic info are made into bitchy one-liners, or pithily recited to remind the viewers that no, this isn’t only a enjoyable musical evening out however a feminist reclamation made essential by a patriarchal framing of historical past that nullified, at the very least within the widespread creativeness, the precise lives and minds of the six girls.
Threaded between the twangs of electrical guitar and bish-bash-bosh of drums, we hear about not simply the travails of residing with Henry but additionally the Reformation, Thomas Cromwell, Catholicism, Protestantism, and the ladies’s beliefs and emotions too. Six is its personal Bechdel check of discovering a solution to situate the six wives in their very own lives, wishes, ambitions, frailties, losses, triumphs, and strengths.
By the top, the musical cleverly takes the queens down a seemingly unattainable and intriguing cul-de-sac. What are they if they’re greater than Henry’s six wives? Why ought to they compete for something? After which there’s the banner downside that they’re all the time outlined in relation to him, together with by them in entrance of us proper now. They’re by no means allowed their very own voice.
Subsequent, the musical, with a big wink, spiritedly dishes its personal twist, which has been in plain sight all alongside in Six’s philosophical underpinnings. By the point a climactic burst of golden confetti rains down, chances are you’ll really feel you’ve had a riotously good time, seen six girls frozen in acquainted historical past thrillingly reanimated—and likewise been reminded that historical past and its forged of characters, huge and small, needn’t be set in stultifying stone.
Queens, you all have a beautiful evening.