BWW Preview: SIX at Citadel Theatre is a Broadway-Bound Royal Treat
25-year-olds Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss never expected to pen a smash hit musical. Juggling 20 days of writing with rigorous Cambridge classes, the duo created what they hoped would be a fun opportunity to showcase friends' theatrical talents. Neither Marlow or Moss were prepared for their whimsical result to rule the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival before strutting onto the world's stage. An ebullient blend of catchy pop anthems and concert-like aesthetics, Six is a 75-minute musical extravaganza casting the spotlight on the six wives of the notorious King Henry VIII. Currently reigning over London's Arts Theatre and enjoying a triumphant recent Chicago run, Six will rule Edmonton's Citadel theatre until November 24th. The jewel on the crown? The spurned queens will soon make their royal residence at Broadway's Brooks Atkinson Theatre starting in February 2020.
"Things have kind of gotten out of hand," muses Moss at the Citadel's recent press conference, garnering appreciative applause and laughter.
So, what exactly is the key to Six's popularity? Dubbed by some as the industry's next Hamilton, this vibrant mega-hit forgoes doleful ballads in favour of infectious pop songs, drawing inspiration from 21st century divas including Beyonce, Rihanna, and Ariana Grande. Steampunk-inspired getups replace stifling gowns and corsets while the effervescent songs' lyrics sparkle with sass and slyness as the queens recall their respective scandalous lives. The infectious nine-song score includes zany opener Ex-Wives and Anne Boleyn's mischievous toe-tapper Don't Lose Ur Head. Arguably one of musical theatre's catchiest scores, it's almost impossible not to download the Spotify album ASAP or, at the very least, get the bright beats stuck in your head.
The dynamic score and pulse-pounding concert vibes create an intoxicating on-stage playground for the show's six stars. The queens in question not only appear to have the time of their lives onstage but effortlessly promote a one-of-a-kind audience experience, even occasionally daring to "...may or may not break the fourth wall..." according to Brittney Mack (a.k.a. Anna of Cleves, Henry's fourth wife).
Edmonton has an impressive history of promoting world-class performers, and the ladies of Six are among the most renowned talents to grace the Citadel's stage. The production stars Adrianna Hicks (Broadway's The Color Purple) as Catherine of Aragon, newcomer and proud Winnipegger Andrea Macasaet as Anne Boleyn, Abby Mueller (Carole King in Broadway's Beautiful: The Carole King Musical) as Jane Seymour, Off-Broadway and TV actress Brittney Mack as Anna of Cleves, West End Evita alum Samantha Pauly as Katherine Howard, and Anna Uzele (Broadway's Once on This Island) as Catherine Parr. Sharing upbeat rapport both on and offstage, the girl group bonds daily whether sharing pre-show laughter or enjoying each other's unique onstage antics.
"We're like a whole constellation of stars," says Uzele, drawing a chorus of awws from her cast mates.
Indeed, Six's stardom has only just risen in North America but shows no signs of stopping. An exuberant celebration of girl power, it is a bona fide hit that may or may cause Edmonton audiences to lose their heads.
Six plays the Citadel's Shoctor Theatre until November 24th.