REVIEW: SIX queens give a royal performance at Eccles TheaterJan 10, 2024 11:48AM ● By Peri Kinder
Terica Marie as Anna of Cleves (center) in the North American Tour Boleyn Company of SIX. The musical runs through Jan. 21 at Eccles Theater. (Photo: Joan Marcus)
It could be described as a mash-up between “The Real Housewives of the House of Tudor” and a high-energy pop concert, but the musical SIX has to be experienced to be appreciated. With six powerhouse performers representing each of Henry VIII’s wives, and an all-female band accompanying them onstage, history, or her-story, is revised in the brightest of ways.
After the explosive opening number “Ex-Wives,” the women decide to have a trauma-contest, deciding which wife has the most tragic tale to tell.
Henry’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon (performed by the incredible Gerianne Pérez), starts off the contest singing “No Way.” The song explains her loyalty to Henry, even when he has multiple affairs, tries to get their marriage annulled and even breaks from the Roman Catholic Church to form the Church of England so he can get a divorce.
Zan Berube plays the next queen, Anne Boleyn, with lots of energy and humor. Her performance of “Don’t Lose Ur Head” is straight-up pop music fun as she tells her story from gaining Henry’s favor to being famously beheaded.
Jane Seymour is the third wife to tell her tale of woe. Kelly Denice Taylor portrays Seymour as a woman who was the only true love of Henry’s life, and explains her sorrow when she died right after her son was born, never having the chance to see him grow up. Her Adele-inspired performance of “Heart of Stone” was a beautiful change-up in the high-energy musical.
When Terica Marie takes command of the stage for her depiction of Anna of Cleves (Henry’s fourth wife), she brings the house down with her Rihanna-inspired performance of “Get Down.” The choreography is fantastic as she revels in her fortune to be divorced from Henry with her own castle, her own cash and her own life.
Katherine Howard is up next, as the fifth wife and the second to be executed. Aline Mayagoitia plays the role in the image of a sexualized popstar, which is highlighted in her song “All I Wanna Do” which describes the times she’s been abused and traumatized by men.
Henry’s sixth wife, Catherine Parr, is played by Adrianna Scalice. Parr outlived Henry but sacrificed her own hopes and dreams to marry the king. Her song, “I Don’t Need Your Love” is a love letter to the man she left behind.
In the end, SIX is a piece of revisionist history that allows the wives to take back their stories and stand as something more than just one of Henry’s wives. The show runs just under 90 minutes with no intermission, which is a nice break from musicals that run more than two hours.
Cambridge University graduates Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss wrote the musical which won the 2022 Tony Award for original score and costume design. The stage and costumes have a space-age feel, maybe an ode to time travel as the wives come back to tell their stories.
The SIX Boleyn Tour runs at Eccles Theater through Jan. 21. Visit Broadway-at-the-Eccles.com to view the SIX performance schedule and ticket availability.