The KeyBank Broadway Series “Six: The Musical” rocks the Palace
For those planning to attend the touring Broadway production of “Six: The Musical” I would strongly suggest you bring a good pair of ear plugs. Not only is the sound level from the stage at a high decimal level, the same can be said from the audience side. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It is one of those energetic shows that older teen and twenty-something ladies love to scream at. For you oldsters out there, think of a Spice Girls +1 concert.
Written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, the show had a wayward journey to Broadway having started out as a student project that first saw stage light at Scotland’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It went on to London’s West End, took a trip over to Chicago for a pre-Broadway tune-up then off to sea aboard three Norwegian Cruise Line ships. It landed on Broadway on March 12, 2020 but was soon closed due to Covid. It reopened over a year later as the first show to re-open post Covid on the Great White Way. It was met with rousing success and rave reviews. It is still running to mostly sold out audiences.
The premise is the gathering of the six wives of Henry XIII for a contest. Which of the royal “vixtims” had it the worse. The show begins with the nursery rhyme mantra of “Divorced-Beheaded-Died-Divorced-Beheaded-Survived” also used in college classes to teach the fate of Catherin of Aragon (Gerianne Perez), Anne Boleyn (Zan Berube), Jane Seymour (Amina Faye), Anna of Cleves (Terica Marie), Katherine Howard (Aline MayaGoitia) and Catherin Parr (Sydney Parra).
The show begins with smoke and strongly backlit figures as the sextet launches into their opening number “Ex-Wives” as we get a pop history class on ancient British royal history...or her-story. Henry was a bit obsessed with wanting a male heir and went through a half dozen breeders with nil results. He was seceded eventually by Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of Anne Boleyn. Sorry Henry.
Following the opening number each Queen is allowed to present their case to the audience with hints that there will be votes tallied at the end. Following each solo (with a little singing and dancing help from the other royals) the other girls trash talk the latest singing queen as to how easy she had it by comparison. In the end, the six decide that they have had enough of Henry singing “I Don’t Need Your Love” and a truce is declared as they get down with the finale “Six”.
This is a fast flowing 90 minute production flies by at a break neck pace with hardly a breath between numbers. At the end they do a mini-concert of the show’s tunes to end the show in a shower of gold confetti as the audience claps (and screams) along.
The queens are fantastic with each one exhibiting a unique singing style. The choreography by Carrie-Anne Ingrouille is very hip. Tim Deiling does a sparkling job with the lighting and the set design by Emma Baily is mind blowing to say the least. Paul Gatehouse handles the sound design that while loud is crisp. Lastly, the costuming by Gabriella Slade can only be described as royal steam punk that is very sexy. Jamie Armitage creates a fast moving production as director that rolls along flawlessly.
As for the band, the Ladies in Waiting are dressed for the part and consist of Sterlyn Termine (bass), Liz Faure (guitars), Caroline Moore (drums) with Katie Coleman conducting and on keyboards. They perform on stage and are a wall of sound.
While I only heard half of the show as my finger was firmly planted into my right ear during the entire show due to the vocal exuberance of some young “ladies” seated nearby it was in fact an exciting show that lasts just long enough. It’s a history lesson concert put to a driving beat that will have many screaming and dancing in their seats. You will love it but don’t forget the ear plugs.
The KeyBank Broadway Series of “Six: The Musical” will be on stage in the Connor Palace Theatre through Sunday, September 10, 2023. For more information and tickets go to www.playhousesquare.org or call (216) 241-6000.