Metro Weekly

Editor’s Pick: “SIX” at The National Theatre

Fresh off its Tony win, the imaginative and original "SIX" has settled into the National Theatre for a two-month run.

SIX -- Photo: Joan Marcus
SIX — Photo: Joan Marcus

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.

SIX -- Photo: Joan Marcus
SIX — Photo: Joan Marcus

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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