In Six, Henry VIII's wives come back as pop divas | Theater Review | Chicago Reader

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In Six, Henry VIII's wives come back as pop divas

Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived—and slaying.


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History hasn't been this much fun since Hamilton. With its high-energy score, stadium lighting, and angular, bedazzled Tudor costumes that evoke a set of futuristic playing cards, Six, now in its North American premiere at Chicago Shakespeare, is more concert than musical.

Writers Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss (who also codirected with Jamie Armitage) kick the standard "marginalized women reclaiming their narrative" plot into overdrive with a crisp, electric book and a score that magically makes clunky plot summary uproariously hilarious. Each of the wives of Henry VIII sings the story of her—in most cases tragic—fate (divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived) and each is inspired by a pop diva, ranging from Beyoncé to RiRi to Britney. Backed by a killer all-female band, every song in the show is a legit banger, and each member of the extremely diverse cast (more than one woman of color!) is a triple threat; dancing, singing, and slaying the entire audience into laughter for the hardest-working 80-minutes-no intermission show now onstage in Chicago.

Every actor is top-notch with megawatt personalities and voices fit for The Voice. A tiny sampling of the numerous standout moments include a delightfully magnetic and funny Anna of Cleves (Brittney Mack), snubbed by his highness, and all the better for it; a peppy number from Katherine Howard (Anna Uzele) that takes a powerful and unfortunately relevant turn; and a perky ditty from everyone's favorite unapologetic bad girl Anne Boleyn (Andrea Macasaet) with riffs and runs for days. This candy-coated confection is one of the must-see shows of 2019. #SorryNotSorry   v

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