Pop concert meets Tudor history—or in this case, herstory—in the hit, Broadway-bound musical Six.
Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss originally created the show to fill a slot at the 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe with an original musical, but they had no idea how quickly the show would soon become something much larger.
“We can’t emphasize enough how much we weren’t expecting anything … Like nobody goes expecting anything. The most you ever expect is I think we were like, ‘Imagine if a London theatre wants us to do like a week run with this cast above a pub somewhere. Wow, that would be so amazing,’’’ Moss explains.
Now, with some vocabulary updated for an American audience, they are headed to New York where the show will make its Broadway debut. Six is the second show to open at the Citadel before continuing to Broadway—the other being Hadestown, which opened there in March of this year.
Daryl Cloran, the Citadel’s artistic director, says Hadestown played a part in bringing Six to Edmonton.
“I reached out to the U.K. producer [of Six], Kenny Wax, to say how excited we were about the show and how desperately we wanted to be part of bringing it to North America, and it helped that I was able to say, ‘And we’re the Citadel; we helped develop Hadestown,’ which was just about to open at the National Theatre in London,” he says.
Over 100 people from outside of Edmonton had already booked tickets to Six as of Oct. 31, according to the Citadel’s press package, with some coming from as far as the U.K. Others have come from across the country and from south of the border.
With so much hype, it’s easy to think that the performance itself might fall short of expectations, but it’s hard not to get swept up in it.
King Henry VIII’s wives are giving a rock concert, competing through song to see which of them had it the hardest being married to the hot-tempered monarch.
The songs are catchy, the performances are energetic, and the show is infused with humour, wit and girl power that hasn’t been seen since another British girl band took over the airwaves. But just as the Spice Girls co-opted the term “girl power,” without realizing Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna and Tobi Vail coined it as a kind of oxymoron, the queens of Six try to claim identities apart from being the wives of Henry VIII without ever managing to completely banish him from the conversation.
There’s a line in the show that goes something like, “Whenever the six of us get together, we just become Henry’s wives,” but the show never suggests any other reason why these women would be mentioned in the same breath.
The narrative does offer each queen the chance to clapback at her former husband, but just the fact that the six are on stage together makes it impossible to separate these women from the one man tying them all together.
That being said, the cast was amazing.
Beyoncé was one of the musical inspirations for Catherine of Aragon, according to the program, and Adrianna Hicks brings total Beyoncé vibes to her performance.
Andrea Macasaet, from Winnipeg, was perfect as Anne Boleyn, nailing not only her notes but all of her character’s comedic bits.
The Edmonton run is especially significant to Macasaet.
“It’s been so fun to have my family come to Edmonton and my friends come down from Winnipeg, and seeing my theatre friends in Edmonton, and having them being able to just be here and experience the wildness that this show is,” she says. “So it’s been super special for me.”
Abby Mueller captures Jane Seymour’s sweetness, while Brittney Mack contrasts brilliantly as the independent, fun-loving Anna of Cleves.
It’s difficult to describe what makes Samantha Pauly’s performance as Katherine Howard so arresting without getting into spoilers, but let’s just say she captures both her character’s highs and lows to portray a fully-rounded character.
And last, but never least, Anna Uzele as Catherine Parr is inspiring and a thrill to listen to.
A shout out is also due to the queens’ ladies in waiting, that is the band, who play live on stage throughout the performance for an authentic rock-pop experience.
Tickets to this are going fast, so if you want your chance to see this hit musical before it hits Broadway, best act now.
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