Kyle Monda previews the hit Six: The Musical, running at the Citadel until November 24
Six: The Musical will be making its Canadian premiere at the Citadel Theatre on November 1st, staying until November 24, followed by one last stop in Minnesota before its Broadway debut in 2020.
Headlined with the tagline “Divorced. Beheaded. Live in concert,”Six tells the story of the wives of King Henry VIII, who have joined forces in the afterlife to form a classic British pop girl group, in the style of the Spice Girls or Little Mix. The women decide to compete to see who had the worst time with Henry to be crowned leader of the group.
The set and costumes are designed like they would be for a pop concert, alluding to British pop competition shows like The X Factor and Popstars. The lyrics follow the real-life history of the six, mixed in with contemporary cultural references. Six is co-production between the Citadel and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, where the British show made its North American debut.
Six was written by two Cambridge University students, Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, who conceived it while studying for their final exams in English and history respectively. They staged a student production at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2017. It was an instant hit, sending the production to a limited Off-West End run in London to showcase the show to potential producers.
It went on to successfully tour the UK starting last year, where it is still booked through July 2020. This was followed by a big London West End debut in January, where it has been extended until July 2020. The show has been a critical and popular success since its inception, with The Guardian branding it a “global hit” and Jesse Green of The New York Times describing the show as “wickedly smart.”
The show has rapidly grown a large fan following, with a fandom branded the Queendom, who have made it one of the most streamed musical soundtracks on Spotify, with over 700,000 monthly listeners. This has sparked demand for sing-along performances in the UK, further blurring the line between the musical and the pop concert sensibilities of the show. While we won’t be treated to any karaoke-style performances here in Edmonton, this is a fantastic opportunity to see the production before the cast heads to Broadway next year.
The show is co-directed by creator Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage, who directed the West End production. The rest of the creative team also previously worked on the West End production.
The cast features only one Canadian, Andrea Macasaet, who plays Anne Boelyn and will be reprising the role on Broadway. Andrea, a recent graduate from Victoria, B.C., landed the part after responding to an open casting call and auditioning in Toronto.
Abby Mueller, who is best known for her time as the titular role of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway and their U.S. tour, will be playing Jane Seymour. Adrianna Hicks will be Catherine of Aragon, who was previously on Broadway as part of the cast of The Color Purple.
Catherine Parr will be played by Anna Uzele, who was also on Broadway as Andrea in Once On This Island. Samantha Pauly, who is best known for her portrayal of Eva Peron in Evita in London, will be Katherine Howard. Brittney Mack will be playing Anna of Cleves, and will be making her Broadway debut with Six in 2020.
I first discovered Six on TikTok, the video sharing app, where songs from the soundtrack became a popular meme for users to lipsync along to. Users have posted over 1.5 million videos featuring the track “Don’t Lose Ur Head” alone. One listen and it’s easy to hear why, as the pop-driven production and sassy lyrics are instant earworms.
Each song is influenced by a different genre of mainstream pop hits, from the hip hop inspired “Get Down” that calls out Beyonce’s landmark track “Formation” to “All You Wanna Do” which is reminiscent of Christina Aguleria. The show’s program lists the influencing artists for the music from a broad range of women, including Lily Allen, Adele, and Nicki Minaj. This musical is a must-see for anyone who loves pop music, or is just looking for a light-hearted and entertaining night out.
Six: The Musical
Citadel Theatre until November 24, 2019