Two-minute review: SIX the musical

There’s a short rhyme about the grim fates of Henry VIII’s six wives. 

“Divorced, beheaded, died. Divorced, beheaded, survived.”

 But what comes after that? “SIX The Musical” can answer. 

About the show

“SIX the Musical” debuted on Broadway in 2017 and become quite popular in the following years, with one of its songs going viral in a TikTok trend. 

The premise of the musical is enough to let people know they’re in for more than just a history lesson. Henry VIII’s wives, or rather ex-wives, have an argument to settle. 

Which one of them had it the worse? And how will they settle it? Through song, of course.

My favorite song on the soundtrack is “Don’t lose your head,” sung by the character Anne Boleyn. Anne was the first wife to be beheaded by Henry VIII, but she wasn’t the only one. I expected this to be a somber number, but instead, “Don’t lose your head” is one of the more upbeat, fun songs on the soundtrack. It also has the most back-and-forth between Anne and the background singers. 

Despite the story taking place in the 16th century and having a very grim conclusion, the whole song feels like a woman getting on Instagram Live to “spill some tea,” or share an interesting story. Overall, it was very fun and enjoyable. 

“SIX” feels a bit more like a concert than a play, mostly made up of musical numbers, banter and fourth-wall-breaking without a clear plot.

The actors use handheld microphones rather than the headsets that are used in most Broadway shows. 

Between this and the constant choreography, it was sometimes difficult to make out the singers’ words. 

Also, I wish the show were longer. This could just be my deep enjoyment of the show, but I wish it were a bit longer. 

And lastly, despite the music and topics dealing with mature subject matter like sex, adultery, and beheadings – the soundtrack opts to censor some of the songs’ cursing. I wish this were different.

The genres surprised me the most.

Each of the characters in “SIX,” all of whom are one of the ex-wives, have their own solo. Going into the show, I was worried the music would be repetitive. I expected each woman to share a  tale of woe through the same musical style; what I got was the exact opposite. 

Each song is represented a different musical genre. What works about this is that each genre makes sense for the character singing. 

SIX cast. (Photo credit: John Marcus)

Catherine of Aragon, a character from Spain, sings a fast-paced song with a Latin-pop sound to it. Meanwhile, Anne of Cleves, a character from Germany, sang a song set to HAUS music, a type of German electronic music. There’s also a ballad and R&B-type song. 

The constant changes in music felt exciting. I enjoyed anticipating which type of music would come in the next number. 

The themed drink for this show is the Crown Jewel – made with Crown Royal, Peach Schnapps and cranberry juice. 

With the crown being a pretty strong base, the schnapps and cranberry juice help give it a little bit of sweetness without going overboard. 

“SIX the Musical” is a very good time. This is one of few shows where I found myself paying close attention to the costumes, which combined styles of the Tudor era with flashy, sparkly popstar outfits. 

The live band on stage adds to the concert atmosphere and encourages the audience to be very interactive with the performances by cheering and clapping along to the beat. 

Despite dealing with some heavy topics, “SIX” is still fun for the whole family and is even quite educational for those who don’t know much about Henry VIII’s wives beyond the old rhyme.

Between this show, “Hamilton,” and “1776,” America might want to start teaching history exclusively through Broadway. 

If you go

  • Location: Belk Theater
  • Dates: July 6 – July 16
  • Price: $36 – $146
  • Purchase tickets here.

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