“Divorced, beheaded, died, / Divorced, beheaded, survived” is one of the many jingles fans have had stuck in their head after watching the hit Broadway musical “Six.” I, along with a group of others from Ramapo, joined the ranks of these viewers after another Center for Student Involvement-sponsored trip on March 25.
The musical opened in 2019 across the pond at the Vaudeville Theatre in the heart of London’s West End. It has since opened on Broadway in Australia and on several national tours across the US and UK. Currently, its New York City home is in the Lena Horne Theatre, where I got to enjoy the modern and upbeat retelling of King Henry VIII’s six wives.
After seeing the beloved musical, I’ve come up with six reasons why I believe “Six” is a must-see show:
“Six” is a concert-style musical. The show had a quick rise to fame due to its unique format that’s unlike a standard book musical. This is important to note because similar to a concert, the actors on stage can feel free to interact with their audience without breaking character.
The music is a breath of fresh air. The Broadway fanbase stretches far and wide from avid theater kids to those who fell in love with it because of a book or a movie and so on. What this show does differently due to its concert style is that it draws from the style of iconic pop artists, such as Alicia Keys and Beyoncé. It produces a variety of catchy songs that audience members are encouraged to sing along and dance to, which is definitely something you don’t often see in a Broadway theater, and it won the show Best Original Score at the 2022 Tony Awards.
The casting is incredibly diverse. The entire production consists of six leading ladies, four understudies and a four-person band that is entirely female. Because of this diversity, there is also a lot of flexibility within the casting, which gives the casting team the opportunity to cast any actress in any role, regardless of their looks.
It’s an original story. Over the past several years, we’ve seen many adaptations making their way to Broadway, whether that be classic TV shows like “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “The Addams Family” or movies such as “Pretty Woman” and “Back to the Future.” It’s a lot harder to find originality in musicals in the 21st century, so having a show such as this one is a step in the right direction in the eyes of many viewers.
The message of the story, instead of focusing on King Henry VIII, introduces audience members to his six wives and how their stories intertwine with one another. At first, it seems that they are battling out who has endured more hardships in life between Anne Boelyn, currently played by Leandra Ellis-Gaston, repeatedly explaining how she got her head chopped off and Jane Seymour, played by Bella Coppola, repeatedly remarking about how she died and left her son behind. It was the unlikely sixth wife, Catherine Parr, currently played by Taylor Iman Jones, who realized that without Henry, their stories wouldn’t be known in history, so they then decided to no longer partake in a competition but come together, rejoice and share their own stories.
Lastly, this show is a fun night out. In New York, there is a wide variety of shows out there from the classic musical style seen in “Wicked” to operatic shows like “Phantom of the Opera.” But this one is different. It has a catchy pop-rock concert vibe. Additionally, the show is a lot shorter than most on Broadway, running for a brief 80 minutes without an intermission. This is an advantage because, like a concert, it is never ending and doesn’t stop for an interval that breaks the party up.
With its energetic music and engaging story, this is a great choice for families. For fans of music, history and theater, this is an excellent show that will have you humming along and sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next.
Featured photo courtesy of @SixBroadway, Twitter