Last month, Toby Marlow became the first openly non-binary composer/lyricist to snag a Tony Award, winning Best Original Score with Lucy Moss for the musical SIX.
The British Gen Z duo originally conceived of a staged work riffing on the infamous six wives of Henry VIII a little over five years ago while still in college.
Billed as “an exuberant celebration of 21st-century girl power,” SIX offers a retelling of that particularly sordid chapter from history with a focus on the women, their stories, and their fates — all sympathetically viewed from a thoroughly modern and feminist vantage point.
In developing SIX, Marlow and Moss found inspiration in sources as varied as the musical Hamilton and the documentary-style concert films of Beyoncé — although Queen Bey is ultimately but one among roughly a dozen contemporary female pop stars on whom the creators modeled the show’s principal characters.
The result is an original musical structured as a modern-day pop concert starring the former 16th-Century Queens, who take turns singing and telling their individual stories — emphasizing the extent of their suffering at the hands of the King — as part of a competition to determine the biggest martyr.
After its original run in 2020 was thwarted by COVID, SIX officially opened on Broadway last October. In addition to that still-running Broadway production, which scored eight Tony nominations and two wins (the other went to Gabriella Slade for Best Costume Design in a Musical), this fall will see the launch in Las Vegas of a second national tour of SIX, known as the Boleyn Tour after Henry VIII’s second wife Anne Boleyn.
That production will run concurrently with the first U.S. Tour, named the Aragon Tour after Wife #1, Catherine of Aragon, which has now settled in for an exceptional two-month-long run at D.C.’s National Theatre, only the second stop after a three-month debut in Chicago.
Co-creator Moss serves as co-director with Jamie Armitage of all productions. The Aragon Tour stars Khaila Wilcoxon, Storm Lever, Jasmine Forsberg, Olivia Donalson, Didi Romero, and Gabriela Carrillo as the six wives.
The all-female cast is backed by an all-female band, amusingly dubbed The Ladies in Waiting.
Now to Sept. 4 at The National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $65 to $150. Call 202-628-6161 or visit www.broadwayatthenational.com.
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