DIVORCED BEHEADED SURVIVED, THE REAL QUEENS OF BROADWAY HAVE ARRIVED
‘SIX THE MUSICAL’ HAS THE HUMOR AND SASS OF A SPECIAL SISTERHOOD AND A HISTORIC CONCERT CELEBRATION
Review by Vince Mediaa
The Royals have arrived to warm our cold winter in San Francisco as BroadwaySF presents the National Tour of SIX. The Aragon company is now on stage at the Orpheum Theatre through March 19th. Set in a concert setting, 500 years past as the six queens profess their tale of living with Henry the VIII. SIX features Khaila Wilcoxon as Catherine of Aragon, Storm Lever as Anne Boleyn, Jasmine Forsberg as Jane Seymour, Olivia Donalson as Anna of Cleves, Didi Romero as Katherine Howard, and Gabriela Carrillo as Catherine Parr. The cast also includes alternates Kelsee Kimmel, Erin Ramirez, Cassie Silva and Kelly Denice Taylor. The SIX ex-wives open the 80 minute concert with the rousing banner song “Ex-Wives”. The opening night audience was hyped for this opening as they cheered through the opening number. All six women have perfect rock voices that lift you out of your seat.
The young writers Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, after meeting during their years at university, decided to write a musical about the six wives of Henry VIII. Their inspiration came from a short poem "Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived." It has become the basis of a megahit musical that tells the story of the lives of Henry's wives. The musical, directed by Moss and Jamie Armitage is sharp and loud as a stiletto heel.
This import from London's West End was about to open that famous March month in 2019 - The day before their opening Broadway New York went dark. As the curtain rises in San Francisco the six women whip the sold out opening night crowd into a frenzy as fans of the show explode into cheers and applause. During the covid years the show trended on various platforms. Including Tik Tok and Instagram and a few clever Zoom productions made the nine musical numbers featured in the show iconic.
The SIX gueens have teamed together to let audiences vote for who had it the worst among them. Their famous husband had his way with many women even while married to each wife. Each former Queen sings a power solo based on the wrongs of her story. “Don’t Lose Ur Head” song by Storm Lever as Boleyn, reminds us that three of the women were beheaded by Henry. Each queen sings her soul out in classic R&B pop songs. Catherine of Aragon belts out a tune similar to Rihanna in her song “No Way”. A power ballad stops the show as Jasmine Forsberg is Jane Seymour discusses her death after she bares a son for Henry in the song “Heart of Stone”. Catherine of Aragon, Khaila Wilcoxon sets a solid tone for the concert as her gifted singing engages the audiences.
Forsberg is a magnificent as Jane Seymour who allows audiences into her emotions. Donalson as Anne of Cleaves, ignites the audience to cheers with powerful vocals, and dancing. She doesn't ask for attention but demands applause, and the audience is more than happy to give it to them. Romero is a phenomenal Katherine Howard, as she delivers the zingers and one-liners with sizzling enthusiasm. One of the night's favorite lines, Romero, says "I think we can all agree, I'm the ten amongst these threes." Finally, Carrillo as the tough Catherine Parr is pwerfect and beautiful as the song takes a turn when she doesn't sing about Henry VIII but instead a scorned lover.
You might call the 7th queen the costumes designed by Gabriella Slade, who received a Tony Award for her designs. The costumes celebrate the show, during its premiere workshop at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the six wore prom dresses. Now they are in glitter proof skirts and pointy tops that allow easy dance moves, kicks, and turns that highlight women's power. The all women cast are supported by an on-stage band who the royals call their “ladies in waiting” an onstage band that at times steals the stage from the queens. The rock concert lighting designed by Tim Deiling highlights each number and is electric. The lighting never lets us forget that we are at a rock concert.
These ladies have been waiting for centuries to present their footnote in history; they are not just ex-wives of one greedy man but they are individuals. “Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived” The SIX break free of their past and start to change the course of history. They rewrite their happier ever-afters. Historian buffs grump about the decision to shift the spotlight away from the crown, but there’s too much to admire and celebrate about these amazing women. SIX is a TEN. BroadwaySF has reopened their third balcony seats for this run as the demand is back to fill seats at Bay Area stages. 40.00 rush seats are always a best bet and details are below. Don’t miss these real Queens of Broadway and be ready to cheer and dance with the cast at the end of the show.
The Chicago Shakespeare Theatre Presents
SIX THE MUSICAL
Directed by Moss and Jamie Armitage
Through March 19th
Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market St., S.F.
80 minutes no intermission
Photo Credits: Joan Marcus
CLIP FROM SHOW
IN-PERSON RUSH TICKETS