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Broadway history was made last night as Six, a musical that started life as a student show in a makeshift venue at the 2017 festival has become the first new musical to open post pandemic in New York’s theatreland, Broadway.
The musical that has become a global juggernaut was originally due to open in New York on the night that all Broadway theatres were locked down for 18 months ago.
The rock musical by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss started life four years ago in a 100-seat room at Sweet Venues and has since become a global phenomenon, finally opening at Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre last week where the six queens wowed New York’s critics.
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Described as a history lesson the likes of which any school kid could but dream, the concert musical tells the stories of the six wives of Henry VIII; Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anna of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Catherine Parr arrive on stage, each determined to be crowned the most tragic of the infamous monarch’s unfortunate wives.
Co-author and co-director Lucy Moss, who becomes the youngest ever female director of a Broadway musical, says, “It feels so wonderful to be finally opening on Broadway. The last 18 months have obviously been heartbreaking, knowing our Queens, our band, and our amazing team could not do what they love. So it feels extra special to be opening tonight and we feel so unbelievably grateful they’re all back where they belong.”
Producers Kenny Wax, Andy and Wendy Barnes and George Stiles add, “When our Opening Night was cancelled just four hours before curtain up on March 12 2020 we expected to be shut for four to six weeks. As the pandemic deepened, we feared we might never reopen. So to be standing at the back of the Brooks Atkinson theatre and seeing the spontaneous standing ovation 18 months after that shutdown, is humbling.
“For Six was the little show we discovered as a student production four years ago. What an incredible journey it’s been. We’ve had our ups and downs but Six is a plucky, resilient show.”
The delayed opening night was the first Broadway first night in 18 months and attracted Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, Kristin Chenoweth and Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon to the purple carpet outside the theatre.
After the show, Entertainment Weekly proclaimed, “Broadway’s high-energy history remix reigns supreme replete with sparkly costumes, vocal runs that defy the laws of physics, and synchronised choreography tighter than a 16th-century corset. Six truly is the top ticket to celebrate the return of the live stage show. If you’re up for a euphoric celebration of the musical medium, Six is queen of the castle. Long may it reign.”
Reviewing the 2018 return of the show to the Fringe, I wrote, ‘With verve and vivacity, and clearly loving every barbed quip and harmony, they carry the audience on a wave of infectious energy. There’s a serious point too and it's done through perfectly pitched dark humour before the evening ends, as it started, with the audience roaring their approval.
‘Be prepared to lose your head for tickets.’
It seems like New York critics agree.