Review: ‘Six’, National Broadway tour at the Orpheum (****1/2)


Oliiva Donalson as Anna Cleves belts it out of the ballpark in “SIX” Photo Credit: Joan Marcus.
Reviewed by a voting member of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle.

To say that “Six” is a BLAST from the past is an understatement.

In this production, the fabulously famous six wives of England’s King Henry the VIII hit the Orpheum stage with enough Girl Pop energy to shake the rafters and rattle the bones of the venerable old house. His story gives way to her story in this marvelously entertaining musical.

The word to describe it all is FUN. It seems almost incidental to add that the show won a Tony for Best Original Score. But it did, and it was well deserved. I should also mention that it won an additional Tony for Gabriel Slade’s wonderful costume design. And more than 20 other awards as well.

There is a serious side to this presentation: the writers and performers very much want us to understand that history from the viewpoint of the six wives is gonna be different than the viewpoint of Henry VIII.

The premise of the show is that the six wives are competing with each other to prove who was the most victimized of Henry’s wives. Obviously, the winner’s victory will be Pyrrhic at best. It’s a good point about victimization and worthy of some thought, but it is not the main point of the show.

The main point of the show is: “LET’S GET DOWN.”

And this amazing cast knows how to do it. The songs pop with excitement and melodic invention, the performances are over the top diva style extravaganzas. The polished, precision, Fosse-influenced choreography of Carie-Anne Ingrouille is non-stop mind-boggling eye-candy and must leave any audience wondering how it is even possible for six actresses to generate this much movement and excitement.

Well, they do it, because they have star quality; each of ’em, without a doubt. There are no weak sisters here!

On opening night, audience members were shouting, jumping, dancing, weeping, laughing and celebrating from beginning to end.

It’s that kind of experience.

If you have any affection for girl pop whatsoever, you just gotta go.

Have a blast! And get a history lesson to boot.

“Six” runs through March, 19, 2023. For further information, click here.


Rating: ****1/2 (For an explanation of Theatrestorm’s rating scale, click here.)


“Six” , by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss. Co-Directors: Jamie Armitage and Lucy Moss. Choreographer: Carie-Anne Ingrouille. Set Designer: Emma Bailey. Costume Designer: Gabriella Slade. Sound Designer: Paul Gatehouse. Lighting Designer: Tim Deiling. Orchestrator: Tom Curran. Music Supervisor: Roberta Duchak. 


Catherine Parr: Gabriella Carillo. Anna of Cleves: Olivia Donalson. Jane Seymour: Jasmin Forsberg. Anne Boleyn: Storm Lever. Katherine Howard: Didi Romero. Catherine of Aragon: Khaila Wilcoxon. 

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