The North American Tour Company of SIX. Photo by Joan Marcus

SIX: The Musical 

By Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss

A review by Tory Parker 

Entire contents are copyright © 2024 by Tory Parker. All rights reserved. 

Flash back with me, if you can, to 2018. Trump is in office in the US, but there’s a resurgence of protest against him around the midterm elections, specifically amongst the Pantsuit Nation and white women voters. There’s no global pandemic yet, and Brexit is the hottest of hot-button issues in Britain. Saudi Arabia has just legalized the right for women to drive, and Hamilton, which won every possible Tony in 2016, still has contemporary musical theatre in a chokehold. 

It’s from this that we get SIX: The Musical, an 85-minute fugue-state pop concert in which the famed six wives of British monarch Henry VIII (1491 – 1547) vie for the title of Best (?) as selected by the audience by singing a song about who they are and why their life sucked the most. It’s worth noting that this is the same premise as Andrew Llyod Webber’s CATS, but people don’t seem to like it when I point that out, even if I’m right. 

It feels important to say, right at the top, that the show is really fun. Like I said, this is a pop concert! The program even helpfully lists which Queen is meant to align with which legendary music diva. This feels like overkill, but that’s kind of their thing, so why not?    

SIX is REEEALLLY determined you know that it’s feminist, and through repetitions of the cursed phrase “her-story” and the switcheroo around the premise at the end, I got the sense that it’s very committed to “Appearing” so in a chic, 2018 way. The information we learn about the queens is very base-level stuff. I might not be a fair judge (because these women were one of my childhood special interests. Yes, I’m an only child, obviously) but there’s very little in here you would not have already picked up from living in the Western world, give or take some tidbits. 

Here’s what SIX does do well–it is an incredible vehicle for the insanely talented, beautiful, versatile triple-threat BFA and MFA Musical Theatre graduate girlies looking to cut their pearly white teeth and flash those absolutely KOOKY crazy vocals on a show that packs houses across the country. And the show rightfully makes time for each woman, all on stage for the entire 85 minutes, to be a star. We also see a sexy, amazing mix of body shape, skin tone, AND vocal tone, blending beautifully together, but carrying a specific and distinct energy to each of their songs. These women are the peak of what American musical theatre has to offer and we are BLESSED to get to see them in a show that embraces that! 

Gerianne Perez has been in this game, and she’s clearly our Mother as Katherine of Aragon. You need a boss like this to kick off the show. Zan Berube as Anne Boleyn is sparky and dangerous, never quite a friend, but the easiest enemy to root for. Amina Faye as Jane Seymour rattled the rooftops with her park and bark moment, a true emotional well amid a lot of surface sparkle. Terica Marie found the humor in Anna of Cleves and hooked the audience with it, line and sinker. She was a fan favorite in my row specifically (with the lesbians). Aryn Bohannon, the smallest girl in the world and the show’s dance captain, went on as our Katherine Howard. As expected as a dance captain, her physical storytelling HIT, but her vocal was nothing to sneeze at either. And Adriana Scalice as Catherine Parr fooled us with a quiet, girl next door, everywoman trap, only to drop some of the dopest riffs of the whole damn thing right at the end. 

The songs themselves are catchy and pithy. Lyrically they range from temperate to full-body cringe (God rest Anne Boleyn, as if she was not put through enough, must we force upon her eternal memory “Sorry Not Sorry”?). It is a strange dichotomy that the show claims to be giving these women their voice, letting them tell their own stories, setting the record straight, and then it gives each of them approximately 4-5 minutes to sing a pop-song version of the Wikipedia highlights. 

But the other dichotomy is that my friend and I had a freaking blast! Would a 2.5-hour lyrical opera about the childhood traumas of Katherine Howard from “In the Green” by composer Grace McClean probably move the emotional needle on my understanding of womanhood in 1540s England MORE? Sure. But it’s harder to shake my ass to that than it is to the unbearably hot Terica Marie singing/rapping a 4-minute track about being a boss divorcée bitch in Henry’s court. 

SIX is imperfect, and it does and it doesn’t live up to the promise of the premise. It dates itself lyrically, with the references to “profile pictures” and “swiping right,” and it does a lot less to teach us about these actual real-life historical living and breathing women than it claims it wants to. But it also puts six insanely talented women on stage, with a SICK all-women band, and lets them go to town on some catchy pop songs for 85 minutes without a man in sight. It’s fun and sparkly and it makes you want to dance with somebody. Feel the heat with somebody. 

And if it’s not everything you dreamed it would be, chill out. It’s not worth losing your head over it. 

Featuring Gerianne Perez, Zan Berube, Amina Faye, Terica Marie, Aline Mayagoitia, Adriana Scalice. Alternates: Aryn Bohannon, Wesley Carpenter, Jana Larell Glover, Taylor Pearlstein, & Kelly Denice Taylor. 

SIX: The Musical 

April 9 – 14, 2024 

Broadway in Louisville
Kentucky Center for Performing Arts 
501 W Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202

Tory Parker, originally from West Virginia, is now a proud Kentuckian as well. In Louisville, she’s worked and/or performed with Actors Theatre of Louisville, Claddagh Theatre Company, the Chamber Theatre, Bellarmine University, Wayward Actors Company, Derby City Playwrights, Company OutCast, SHOTZ, Highview Arts Center, and director Emily Grimany. She is a co-founding artist of the queer theatre collaborative, three witches shakespeare, and of Untitled Louisville Theatre Company. As a playwright, her full-length drama, Recommended for You, appears in Stage It and Stream It: Plays for Virtual Theatre, and her original works have appeared in the National Women’s Theatre Festival Fringe Festival and Quick Quills Play Festival at Highview Arts Center