Saturday, April 29, 2023

SIX: The Musical

One of the great things about a Vegas trip is all the opportunity for surprises. Not bad surprises, like the bell desk lost your luggage or you just checked in and there’s a used prophylactic in your sheets.Good surprises, like a jackpot, or a delicious new drink, or finding out that random restaurant you decided to try has the best food ever.

On my most recent trip to Vegas, I got to experience one of those good surprises when we decided to check out SIX: The Musical during its limited residency at the Venetian. (An aside: I think that I’m a little more tapped into the theater scene than the average straight American male. This is due to a rather diverse resume that includes a non-zero amount of time working backstage in professional theater.  So I still hear stuff from friends in the entertainment industry.  But this show was not on my radar at all.)


Part of the reason for this is that SIX: The Musical is a relatively new show.  Conceived in 2017 for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, SIX quickly made its way stateside, where it had an unfortunately-timed Broadway debut in March of 2020.  Once it was able to actually open, it was a smash hit. In the 21/22 Broadway season, it received multiple awards, including the Tony Award for Best Original Score.The “SIX: Live on Opening Night” album also debuted at #1 on the Billboard cast album charts.  While the show plays on Broadway, there are also two touring productions traveling the US right now.

But didn’t know any of this when we sat down to see the show.

The premise is a sort of time-bending pop concert, where the six wives of Henry VIII are having a competition to see who was the most wronged by him, and who, therefore, should lead the “band.” The band is an all-woman four-piece rock/pop band who back up the six all-female cast members. Each queen gets a chance to say and sing her piece, arguing why each “she” was hurt the most by her marriage to Henry VIII.

To keep things interesting, the show creators gave each queen a “Queenspiration,” or a real pop star or two that their historical character and song style is modeled after.  For instance, Catherine of Aragon is styled after Beyonce and Shakira, while Jane Seymour is styled after Adele and Sia.  All of the music is modern styled, like Hamilton. You won’t find any lyres or harpsichords here. Unlike Hamilton, the costumes are also modern, but still manage to evoke Renaissance era England.

Damn, Jane! I want to see more!

The result is a unique and entertaining show that moves along on at a decent clip. The Broadway production is only 80 minutes long, so the Venetian production didn’t have to remove anything to accommodate Vegas audiences (or more accurately, casino bosses who would prefer show patrons be out of the theater and gambling.)

I found SIX: The Musical to be immensely entertaining. The performers are all extremely talented, and have gorgeous voices that compliment their “Queenspirations” and ensure that each of the songs have their own distinct sound. There were enough great tunes that we found ourselves streaming the soundtrack in the car next day. It’s also a funny show; especially Anne Boleyn repeatedly asking all the other wives how they could have possibly had it as bad as her when they have their necks intact.

During the remainder of its Vegas run, SIX: The Musical will be at the Palazzo Theater.  It’s a large, well kept theater. There is no drink service during the show, but there is a bar in the theater lobby.  Note that the exit for most patrons forces you through a single staircase, so it’s a little slow getting back out.

Things might get a little funky...

The Audience Fuckery Factor for SIX: The Musical is virtually zero. There’s some calls out to the audience for cheers or to get on your feet like you’re at an actual concert. No one in the audience is getting picked on or called onstage.

Performances are Tuesday through Sunday, up until May 7, 2023.  Tickets start at $78.

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