Review: SIX: THE MUSICAL at Hollywood Pantages Theatre

Kicking it with the Queens of England

By: May. 20, 2023
Review: SIX: THE MUSICAL at Hollywood Pantages Theatre

Express, queens!

That's what those half-dozen long unheralded wives of King Henry VIII are doing in SIX: The MUSICAL, the rock concert/rave created by Lucy Moss and Toby Marlow. We're in some kind of afterlife and the sextet of long-deceased queens of England are back, bitter, bitchy, reunited and ready to...

To what? Well, to kick it certainly. Also to gripe and to air their respective beefs about their treatment at the hands of Hank 8 and also - to some extent - with each other (a lot of them were well-acquainted, what with Henry's habits of dispensing with one wife and then hooking up with her lady-in-waiting). What starts out as an unofficial contest where each of the six makes her rocking case to be crowned the most abused of them all, concludes (unsurprisingly) in a show of sisterhood. As in, we are the Queens. We never needed him. We need ourselves. We need us.

Well and good, your highnesses and rock on. A hit in London and on Broadway (where it took the 2022 Tony Award for Best Score), SIX continues the recent trend of reexamining, recasting and Red Bull-ing of historical events for live entertainment purposes. The tour at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, directed by Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage, is 90 minutes of partying with performers Khaila Wilcoxon, Storm Lever, Natalie Paris, Olivia Donalson, Courtney Mack and Gabriela Carrillo as killer - or maybe make that killed? - MCs. It ain't particularly cerebral, but it's a lot of fun.

Some might recall the grammar school rhyme designed to help people keep straight the queens. Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived...AKA Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anna of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Catherine Parr. Well, these ladies lean into their infamous legacies big-time, particularly Lever whose Anne Boleyn lays on plenty of comic snark when reminding people that it doesn't get much worse than losing one's head. Paris's comparatively demure Seymour owns the fact that, yeah, she actually loved the royal bastard and suffered plenty over having died in childbirth, thereby never getting the chance to watch her son, Prince Edward, grow up.

Stylistically and musically, each of the Queens has a modern-day pop influence. Catherine of Aragon (played by Wilcoxon) is channeling Beyonce and Shakira; Anne Boleyn (Lever) has a sex-kitteny Lilly Allen/Avril Lavigne vibe (which plays aptly in the rendition of "Don't Lose Ur Head"); Faithful and sorrowful Jane Seymour (Paris) suggests Adele and Sia; Anna of Cleves (Donalson) is a mix-up of Rihanna and Nicki Minaj; Katherine Howard is a Britney Spears/Ariana Grande hybrid and Catherine Parr (Carrillo) is Alicia Keyes and Emeli Sande. Everyone gets exactly one solo and there are three group numbers. Whether they are singing together or individually, the ladies have plenty of diva-driven muscle.

Which, let's face it, is entirely what's needed for a performance that wants its audience screaming in sisterly solidarity every time Valerie Maze's four-person Ladies in Waiting band fires up the music. Tim Deiling's lighting and Paul Gatehouse's sound design are great vibe enhancers, and while Gabriela Slade's disco-glam costumes brought home Tony Award glory, I experienced an uncomfortable flashback to the late '80s and the disco trains fashioned by John Napier for STARLIGHT EXPRESS.

Otherwise, pure and simply, these queens rock.

SIX THE MUSICAL plays through June 10 at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre

Photo of Storm Lever and the Queens by Joan Marcus.


 Inaugural Hollywood Fringe Adjacent – Festival of Solo Shows Opens With E Photo
Inaugural Hollywood Fringe Adjacent – Festival of Solo Shows Opens With Encore Performance of BRICK-BY-BRICK

The Inaugural Hollywood Fringe Adjacent – Festival of Solo Shows opens on June 21, 2023 with an encore performance of BRICK-BY-BRICK starring Amanda Casarella at 8 PM, followed by the world premiere of PANTEA (Everything) in Exile starring Pantea Ommi at 9:15 PM.

Open-Door Playhouse Debuts THE SUBSTITUTE in July Photo
Open-Door Playhouse Debuts THE SUBSTITUTE in July

Open-Door Playhouse continues to present short plays in podcast form. Its upcoming play, The Substitute, will debut on July 26, 2023 online.

Los Angeles Womens Theatre Festival Presents HOT OFF THE PRESS On June 24 Photo
Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival Presents HOT OFF THE PRESS On June 24

Hot Off the Press is a program of new solo writings presented by talented scribes in staged readings. The show will be presented at 6:00 p.m. PDT on Saturday, June 24, 2023.

AMERICAN GIRL LIVE! IN CONCERT Will Embark on National Tour Photo
AMERICAN GIRL LIVE! IN CONCERT Will Embark on National Tour

American Girl, one of the nation's most storied children's brands and a cornerstone in Mattel's (NASDAQ: MAT) portfolio of purposeful products, today announced a new live concert experience for the whole American Girl fan community to enjoy.


#repshow# in[i]# For the Love of a Glove: An Unauthorized Musical Fable About Michael Jackson As Told By His Glove
Carl Sagan And Ann Druyan Theater (5/05-7/01)Tracker PHOTOS VIDEOS
#repshow# in[i]# Gunhild Carling Big Band
Catalina Jazz Supper Club (6/14-6/14)Tracker VIDEOS
#repshow# in[i]# Celebration Theatre presents A New Brain
Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center (4/29-6/24)Tracker
Coachella Valley Repertory (6/15-6/15)
#repshow# in[i]# ¡FIESTA!
Bob Baker Marionette Theater (4/01-6/25)
#repshow# in[i]# Waking Up to All of Me
Zephyr Theatre (6/03-6/18)
#repshow# in[i]# Rent the Perfect Sports Car Show
Breathing Storytellers (4/28-5/03)
#repshow# in[i]# Trsut Me, I'm from Essex
Broadwater (6/09-6/24)
#repshow# in[i]# A Midsummer Night's Dream
Theatre 29 (6/16-6/25)
#repshow# in[i]# How to Be An Ending
Hudson Guild Theatre (6/01-6/24)

Recommended For You