“SIX, The Musical” Celebrates Women’s Freedom & Individuality—at BroadwaySF
Marlow & Moss Change Queens’ History to “HER-Story
by Kelly Mou
Fans of “SIX, The Musical” are crazy about the distinct rock n’roll personalities of the six wives of Henry VIII. These powerhouse royal singers belt their terrible stories in showstopping spectacular solos.
Before the show, my brain anticipates their familiar fates: “Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded. Survived.” Onstage, the six pop stars compete for the title of Henry’s biggest victim.
The flashing pink lights and pounding sound transfix us. Staged as a concert by six commanding singers, “SIX” transmits physical shocks. You can feel the vibrations in your skin—like a Lady Gaga concert in Vegas! Designer Gabriella Slade’s fantastic metallic costumes shine like armor under the flashing lights.
The band is all women, and they play onstage, emphasizing women taking control. Bassist Janetta Goines, guitarist Rose Laguana, drummer Paige Durr, and pianist Valerie Maze make “SIX” a tribute to woman power. The tragic Queens tells their stories in distinct styles. Their “Queenspirations” include Beyonce, Shakira, Sia, Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande, and Alicia Keys.
German royalty rockstar Queen Anna of Cleves (witty Olivia Donalson) sets the stage on fire with her catchy “Get Down.” Channeling Nicki Minaj and Rihanna, she asserts herself after Henry divorces her for “lack of beauty.”
As Jane Seymour, who claims to be the King’s “true love,” Jasmine Forsberg sings the emotional “Heart of Stone.” Forsberg, a mezzo-soprano, channels Adele and Sia with her silky tone and high belts.
The infamous Anne Boleyn (spirited Storm Lever), queenspired by Avril Lavigne, rocks pop-punk spike accessories and grungy green cuffs. Lever’s solo “Don’t Lose Ur Head” ends with a brilliant “beheading” in a circle of light. The lovely folksong “Greensleeves” creeps in to crown her achievement with her snake-like green sleeves cuffs—a fine touch!
Queen Catherine of Aragon (dominating Khaila Wilcoxon), inspired by Beyonce and Shakira, sparkles from head to toe. As the first divorced wife, she opens the show with her powerful “No Way,” showing off her incredible, resonant voice and commanding moves. Go, Khaila!
Queen Katherine Howard (exciting Didi Romero) borrows Ariana Grande’s signature high ponytail in hot pink. Romero touches us with her playful and raw “All you Wanna Do,” as anonymous hands explore her body. Her song escalates to terror as alluring Katherine exposes her lifelong abuse at men’s hands.
At first, I thought the ending was abrupt because the Queen’s songs take up most of the show, limiting the dramatic arc. However, I believe the songs intentionally highlight a women’s right to her space—to give time and to tell “Her-story.” And there’s a dramatic twist that goes beyond—into Sisterhood.
On BART back to Berkeley, another fan who just saw SIX for the second time, said, “I really love the songs and music!” I agree, the six singers’ vocal talents brings these strong women back to life. They remind us to be bold and adventurous.
“SIX, The Musical” by Toby Marlow & Lucy Moss, directed by Lucy Moss & Jamie Armitage, scenic design by Emma Bailey, costume design by Gabriella Slade, lighting design by Tim Deiling, sound design by Paul Gatehouse, by BroadwaySF, San Francisco. Info: BroadwaySF.com – to March 19, 2023.
Cast: Khaila Wilcoxon, Storm Lever, Jasmine Forsberg, Olivia Donalson, Didi Romero, and Gabriella Carrillo.
Banner photo: Khaila Wilcoxon (Catherine of Aragon) & Company. Photos: Joan Marcus