SIX The Musical: A female reformation set to an invigorating beat
Many times over, historic stories are told by others. Whether it is the winners, the loudest voice, or just the reigning power, the perspective is just one narrative. When people think about Henry VIII and his reign, one story told is of English reformation and the other focuses on his many wives. Although one man might unite those women, it is time to re-tell that story from the queens’ point of view. SIX The Musical strikes a chord by putting her-story to a memorable beat.
The musical genre has evolved over the years. While some Broadway fans revere the classic songbooks where characters unexpectedly break into song after spirited dialogue, other audience members prefer a modern take on the stage performance.
With SIX The Musical, the full female cast gives an energetic performance that is powerful, invigorating, and introspective. Although many people might be familiar with the opening number that uses particular adjectives to designate the six wives, the single-act musical is more than just the wives’ particular fates. It is both a cautionary tale about female bickering and a triumphant of women empowerment.
Across stage and film, much has been said about women’s roles and their representation. Given that this particular musical is all women, there should be a moment of celebration. Although it does not gloss over the fact that one man unites them or the occasional cattiness, there is a moment to celebrate and belt out that high note.
Given the popularity of this musical, much has been said about the songs, characters, and influences. While few people sit in a theater hoping for a history lesson, the method of blending facts with witty banter could lead a few people to open a book or two.
More importantly, it is the music and its references to current pop influences that make this musical relatable to a younger audience. Although some musical fans might not instantly see the connection to Queen B or a pop princess, the beat and even vocalizations bring that touch of familiarity.
Overall, the performances from the Aragon Tour of SIX The Musical are impressive. Each queen captures her persona and engages the audience. While the big personalities of Catherine of Aragon (Khaila Wilcoxon) and Anne Boleyn (Storm Lever) might play to the audience, it is the quiet moments from Jane Seymor (Jasmine Forsberg), Katherine Howard (Cassie Silva), and Catherine Parr (Gabriella Carrillo) that get the audience to lean into to the women’s her-story.
While the big musical numbers can get the audience clapping and excited, the words need a moment to ponder. Anna of Cleves (Olivia Donalson) proving that the Queen of the Castle does not need a man to live her best life might be a takeaway that more people need to embrace.
Even more importantly, Catherine Parr (Gabriela Carrillo) gives a lesson on women lifting each other up versus the negativity that can overtake their interactions. Although a man might have been a thread of commonality, it is only one part of their her-story.
At its heart, the story implores the audience to appreciate that these flawed women need to be celebrated not for their faults or final outcomes but for their moments of strength. From wanting to stay true to their faith, longing to be a mother, or learning that men might not mean what they say, the lessons learned are far greater than the ring that once adorned their finger.
Although this musical is more of a concert setting than a traditional musical storyline, the idea can invite a wider audience to the theater. Given that musical theater continues to evolve, SIX The Musical proves that the traditional Sondheim book can give way to a stage show full of impressive lightning and energic dance moves. As another popular modern musical sings about others who live to tell a story, this songbook has successfully re-written her-story.
In the end, SIX The Musical is an infectious, humorous, and uplifting one-act musical. Instead of the description of the ex-wives of Henry VIII, the other take could be a celebration of six women who brought their own form of reformation to English and theater history.
SIX The Musical, the Aragon Tour, played Dr. Phillips Center in Orlando to sell-out crowds. This cast continues throughout Florida and other dates through the end of the year. In addition, the Boleyn Tour is performing shows in other locations.