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Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss’ “Six The Musical” At Lena Horne Theatre, Saturday, 3pm, February 17th, 2024, Reviewed

The UK transplanted musical still on Broadway despite a two year break for the pandemic has one idea I hadn’t thought of. Henry VIII wouldn’t have been the only Tudor we all remember if he hadn’t been married six times (divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived) so while in this metoo revisionism of history they have a very valid point: we might not have remembered the six Queens at the center of “Six” without Henry VIII, we also wouldn’t have remembered King Henry if it wasn’t for the six wives of his. How many other 16th century royalty do you remember? Me? I remember a few but 21st century teens? Not so much.

That question is at the center of Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss’ musical. The duo met at Cambridge and presented “Six” with fellow students from the University, first at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2017 to huge success before being transplanted to the West End and then the world. It is hugely successful and, like “Hamilton” before it plays cut and paste with history to recurrent women for teen girls to respect and emulate. That’s alright with me, after all they went through why not make a rock concert that seconds as a reality show contest to decide the lead singer who suffered the most from Henry’s mistreatment?And then turn it on its head. My feeling is the two who were guillotined, Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard, should have been the finalists and of those two Anne because Henry broke with Rome for her and he still chopped off her head, should’ve won.

At “Six” though there is a different, more important, skill necessarily. The ability to stop a concert in its tracks and in this case the award goes to… wife number one, Catherine Of Aragon as portrayed by Khaila Wilcoxon. While all the Queens are well sung (this is Broadway not the High School gym even if it looks like it), Khaila is dynamite and should think of a career in pop. The rest is fine singing and dancing to bland disco pop with big ballad “Heart Of Stone” the bottom of the barrel.

The problem is, it has bad songs and zero musical theatre staging. It has a four piece band performing straight up disco variants and if you think Little Mix (not Destiny’s Child) are all that (or if you’re thirteen years old) you might get off on second rate UK pop but in a world where Beyonce and Robyn both do dance pop, it is shoddy in the extreme. So you have nothing to get you off, not the music, the book isn’t awful but the staging is pathetic for a Broadway musical. If they wanted to lower their prices to $40 one side fits all, well, alright, but Broadway prices for a show that should be performed at Arlene’s Deli? An 80 minute show at that. What a ripoff. The kids are being hyped

Grade: C-

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