I was invited to the opening night of “Six” at The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando. “Six” imagines a world where King Henry VIII’s six ex-wives form a power rock and pop singing girl group, currently touring the world.
The ex-wives argue amongst themselves about who deserves to be the queen of queens and each sing a song that explains their personal story of woe. The queens (Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard, and Catherine Parr) tell their stories through modern lenses, using current pop culture and references, such as allusions to dating apps and underground raves to make their lives relatable to modern audiences.
The show moves briskly through its single act, with each queen getting their own song as well an opening and closing number, and singing backup for each other. The music is all high-energy power rock and pop ballads sung by the cast and performed by the all-woman band “The Ladies in Waiting,” who also appear on stage for the duration of the show.
“Six” is a true ensemble number with each performer getting the chance to shine, both through their impressive singing abilities and witty banter with each other. Characterizations are crisp and distinct and add a lot of depth to the performances.
Standouts during the performance we saw included hometown girl Jasmine Forsberg as Jane Seymour, who’s soulful song “Heart of Stone” brought my theater companion to tears. Storm Lever is Anne Boleyn, who needs to remind everyone that she in fact lost her head even if she’s “Sorry not Sorry” for the reasons. Olivia Donalson’s Anne of Cleves’ song “Get Down” reminds everyone she’s queen of the castle! Though really, the entire cast deserves so much praise for their stunning vocals, never ending energy, and comedic chops. Even during its more moving numbers and moments, the show never drags and continues pushing forward all the way to the end.
It might be easy to dismiss “Six” as just a collection of rock and roll pop songs and amazing performances, but it really delivers its ultimate message of empowerment. “Six” asks the audience to consider why we know who these women were and why we remember them. It asks us to not just think of women as the wives of men, but to see them as protagonists in their own right, taking control of their narratives, and that, like them, we need to take ownership of our own stories. “Six” might not be a true story in the literal sense, but it’s true in its emotions, its energy, and its message. In other words, it’s true in all the ways that matter.
“Six” is open now at The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando Florida, and runs through Oct 9, 2022. For tickets and visit drphillipscenter.org. To learn more about “Six” and find out when the tour is coming to a city near you, visit SixonBroadway.com.