By Jennifer Mustoe, with Alisha Hagey
With all the glitz and glamour of a Vegas show and with the fierce and hard-hitting hip-hop choreography, SIX is a tour de force. Everyone on stage just crushed it. Their energy is contagious, and their talent is phenomenal. It is a pleasure to sit in that audience and to allow the music and spectacle to envelop you.
Even as a rather fierce snowstorm clamored outside, crowds poured into The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater to get a history lesson with all kinds of pop. Written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, the premise of SIX is that all six wives of Henry VIII vie for the title of “the wife with the most pathetic story” and leader of the SIX girl band. We, the audience, are asked to make this judgment–which wife indeed got the worst deal? Though this could be a rather morbid contest, because SIX is filled with music, and lights, and dancing, and super cool costumes, interesting and glitzy updates on 1500’s fashion, and comedy that is only slightly ribald at times (and will not be understood by most children) audiences are in for a thrilling experience.
Directors Moss and Jamie Armitage give us a panorama of spice and fun, to be sure. But the actual stories of this women are authentic, and for some people, not well known. Do you know why Henry chose and then dumped Anne of Cleves from Germany? Do you know which wife was Henry’s favorite? SIX will tell you that–and much more.
The wives in order: Catherine of Aragon (Germaine Peréz), Anne Boleyn (Zan Berube), Jane Seymour (Kelly Denice Taylor), Anne of Cleves (Terica Marie), Catherine Howard (Aline Mayagoitia), and Catherine Parr (Adriana Scalice) pitch their reason why they are The Saddest Henry Wife, and believe me, they all seemed to have some significant struggles. But each woman tells their tales so convincingly, often so poignantly, so delightfully, so amusingly, we forget the “contest” and fall in love with each woman.
Gabriella Slade‘s costumes with their punk/rock flair, all glamour and sparkle and super chic, glitter the stage. If there was a contest about which wife looked the finest and in vogue, they’d all win. SIX takes place on a rock concert stage with some levels, and Scene Designer Emma Bailey gets us ready for one heck of a show. Combined with lighting by Tim Deiling, it’s legit. The lighting is fantastic, but if you haven’t been to a rock concert in a while, note that you will have a lot to see and at times it’s pretty bright. And awesome.
Each Queen tells her story with her own song, and Music Director Jane Cardona, Sound Designer Paul Gatehouse, Music Supervisor Roberta Duchak, and Orchestrations by Tom Curran bring SIX‘s fantastic music to life. What I loved was the variety of songs that matched each wife’s story. A ballad, some funky pop, disco, and more. And each wife pled her case for living the lousiest life by encouraging the audience to vote for her by enthusiastically asking us to clap loudly. Six has a lot of applause from patrons. Live band members, the Ladies in Waiting, led by Cardona are Bass played by Sterlyn Temine, Guitars played by Rose Laguana, and drums by Kami Lujan. The music twanged and twisted and we were overtaken and overwhelmed with the music in each wife’s soul.
Choreographer Carrie-Anne Ingrouille and Assistant Choreographer Eliza Ohman have created a panorama of funny, sexy, darling, high voltage steps that not only identify each Queen, but give the audience far more to enjoy. The genres blend, while still staying specific to each character. The dance moves are accentuated by the very non puffy skirts the women wear. It was rather mesmerizing, at least to me.
As the musical progresses, I found that I was completely uninterested in which wife would “win”, because, as was pointed out in the musical, none of these women really had a choice about being Henry’s next bride, and except for one, their marriages were rather miserable, at least to a point. Instead, we see how the wives begin to bond, casting away the idea of a competition where each is pitted against the others and begin to embrace their sisterhood. And this is where I psychically bonded with each woman in that big, beautiful theater. The wives’ stories, in some small way, are our stories. It diminishes SIX to say it’s a girl group pop concert dance and music fest. It isn’t. With all its glamour, movement, and comedy, it is a commentary on how different it was back in those difficult times. Or is it that different? Some things never really change. In fact, in “All You Wanna Do”, Katherine Howard’s song, she shares how each man she loves has ended up a cad. (Sigh.) I’ve known a few cads in my life. Have you? These women realize they have had no choice, usually no love, and much humiliation with Henry’s flagrant adultery. A few of these women were beheaded after being shamed and rejected. I mean, talk about having no choice. Would any woman willingly marry a man who had beheaded Wife two, Anne Boleyn?
Even if you aren’t a history buff, you will love SIX. And if you are a fan of the Tudors, there are enough Easter Egg puns and gags to keep you laughing in your seats. This is a pop-rock concert of joy and estrogen that I am all in for. The actors are incredible. I wonder how they maintain that intensity throughout the musical (especially since they rarely leave the stage).
The anachronisms made the show a true delight. SIX is the best spectacle with incredible talent to give just another nudge up to an 11. High octane, spectacular vocals, plus a killer band make SIX the hot-ticket item you might not know you want, but it is the experience you need to perk up this stormy New Year.
Zions Bank/Broadway at the Eccles Presents: SIX by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss.
The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater, 131 Main St, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
January 10-21, 2024, times vary
Contact: 801-355-2787 (ARTS)
Broadway at the Eccles Facebook Page
SixUSTour Facebook Page
SIX promo video
SIX Tony Awards performance
SIX YouTube Mix
There is no intermission.
OPEN CAPTIONED: Saturday, Jan 13, 2024 at 2:00 PM & Thursday, Jan 18, 2024 at 7:30 PM
During our captioning performances, we offer a screen near the stage that will provide live captions throughout the show. Patrons who are interested in the captioned performance should select seats located at Orchestra Right on the Main Floor (excluding Orchestra Pit seating).
AUDIO DESCRIPTION: Friday, Jan 12, 2024 at 8:00 PM
The spoken narration of the performance’s key visual elements. This option is available on the following performances. Devices are available at the Patron Services window in the main lobby.
ASL INTREPRETED: Saturday, Jan 20, 2024 at 8:00 PM
Patrons who are interested in the ASL performance should select seats located Orchestra Left on the Main Floor (excluding Orchestra Pit seating).
A talkback will take place after the Wednesday, January 17 performance.