ELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times
As some of you know, I wrote a preview story for this page a few weeks ago about the national tour stop of the show “SIX” in Wichita and earlier this week, I got the chance to actually see the show with my mom. It was a show I didn’t really know a lot about (save for the music, thanks to the cast recording being available on Spotify) and we ultimately ended up coming out of the show with a big grin on my face.
For those who are unfamiliar with the show, it is a modern retelling of the lives of the six wives of Henry VIII, presented in the form of a pop concert. Throughout the show, each of the wives (Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard, and Catherine Parr) take turns telling their story through song to determine who suffered the most from their common husband.
To start, the show overall has enough energy to power an entire city beginning with the opening number, and there’s very little slowing down throughout the show’s 80-minute runtime. I was drawn in right away and I couldn’t wait for each of the subsequent songs to get started as the show went on. If I had to pick my absolute favorite song from the show, I’d have to have it as a tie between “Don’t Lose Ur Head” (Anne Boleyn’s number) and “Get Down” (Anne of Cleves’ number). I loved how each Queen’s song had its own individual sound and influences, and given how one of the main themes of the show is how the ladies seek to tell their story apart from their connection to their shared ex, it’s awesome hearing it all come together. And while the show might not fully appeal to history purists, the songs actually do give a good outline of the ladies’ lives and what they endured during their marriages to Henry VIII, so the show is entertaining as well as somewhat educational.
The cast of the show did an AMAZING job and they each deserve their own praise. Gerianne Perez was fantastic as Catherine of Aragon and she captures so well the hurt and humiliation the real Catherine of Aragon must have endured throughout her life from losing her first husband to her marriage to Henry VIII and his eventual affair with Anne Boleyn. Zan Berube was also perfect as Anne Boleyn and her comedic timing throughout the show nearly brought me to tears multiple times, particularly during her solo number, while also showing a couple moments of vulnerability. Amina Faye was the epitome of sweetness and light as Jane Seymour and her solo number “Heart of Stone” captured that extremely well as the show’s most emotional song. Terica Marie, who also had some great comedic time, definitely brought the party as Anne of Cleves with her solo number and I could tell she was having an absolute BLAST onstage. Aline Mayagoitia also did a great job as Catherine Howard and during her solo number, “All You Wanna Do,” you can hear how stressed and uncomfortable she becomes as she recounts how almost every man she encountered in her life just wanted to use her because she was pretty. I also really enjoyed Sydney Parra as the final Queen, Catherine Parr, and her solo number is quietly fierce because unlike the other Queens, she spends her time talking about her personal accomplishments separate from just her connection from Henry VIII. She’s actually the one who brings everyone together at the end and helps them realize they need to write their own stories and be known on their own, and the overall effect is emotional yet awesome at the same time. The ladies all had such great chemistry onstage and it was almost like they’ve been performing together in this show multiple years. I also have to give praise to the backing band, or the “Ladies-In-Waiting,” because they also had a hand in keeping the beat going and keeping the show’s overall rock concert vibe going throughout the show. They all sounded amazing and were just as fierce as the Queens they were accompanying onstage.
The overall technical aspects of the show were also done very well and while everything is overall rather minimal in scale, the team makes the show look like it’s much bigger. The lighting effects are also super intense and help set the rock concert tone for all the numbers – however, for those who are photosensitive, there are multiple points in the show that feature strobe effects, so that is something to keep in mind if you have plans to see the show somewhere in the future. With the lighting that was used, there were actually a few points where I was reminded of the last Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert I went to. The lighting design also helps bring the set to life for each individual song and while there’s only one set onstage for the show, the lighting design would make one think there were multiple sets, and the overall effect is quite stunning. The choreography throughout is also super sharp and precise with every move, from the hand gestures in the opening number to the group dance numbers throughout the show – and EVERY Queen was wearing heels of some sort, so that makes them superheroes in my book. The costumes of all the Queens were also very cool and very fun-looking and would fit in at almost any party.
Overall, I very much enjoyed “SIX” and I would definitely give it an “A” grade. The cast and musicians all did a great job and the Queens’ individual songs are catchy and fun. The technical aspects of the show are also very well done and I have to give praise to the lighting crew because they are a creative bunch and were able to create so many awesome effects. Overall, if you’re a musical fan and have the chance to see “SIX” onstage at some point, I highly recommend going to see it.