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SIX: the MUSICAL Music, Book and Lyrics by Toby Marlow & Lucy Moss; Based on The six wives of King Henry VIII Arts Theatre, London - 17 January 2019. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the production was paused restarted March 2020. Lyric Theatre, London - 5 December 2020 - reopened 21 May 2021 - 29 August 2021 Vaudeville Theatre on 29 September, 2021 STORY The six Queens introduce themselves performing at a pop concert, telling the audience that the position of the band’s lead singer will be the prize for whoever they determine had the worst experience at the hands of their common husband, Henry VIII (“Ex-Wives”). Catherine of Aragon recounts how Henry wished to annul their marriage and place her in a nunnery when he began lusting after Anne Boleyn despite being loyal to him during their marriage, much to her anger (“No Way”). In turn, Anne mocks Catherine about how Henry wanted her instead but then complains of the infidelity Henry partook in, which led to Anne flirting with other men to make him jealous and ending up beheaded in return (“Don’t Lose Ur Head”). Jane Seymour announces it is her turn to partake in the contest, but is mocked for having had an easy time with Henry. However, while admitting she may have been the only one Henry truly loved, Jane claims that his love was conditional on her having produced a male heir and that she had stood by him despite knowing his many faults (“Heart of Stone”). Themes relating to ideas of female beauty are explored in Hans Holbein’s painting studio, where the Queens parody a dating app by presenting a choice of three women for Henry to marry (“Haus of Holbein”). He chooses Anna of Cleves[a] but soon rejects her and annuls the marriage after seeing her non-resemblance to her portrait. She makes a show of complaining about living in a beautiful palace in Richmond with an enormous fortune and no man to tell her what to do, but in reality, ends up bragging about it (“Get Down”). The Queens question this, and Anna decides to drop out of the competition in favour of returning to her lavish lifestyle. The Queens then belittle Katherine Howard[b] for being “the least relevant Catherine”, but she in retaliation mentions flaws in the other Queens’ reasons for winning. She then recounts her romantic history, having had many suitors even as a child, and at first relishes her attractiveness; however, she soon reveals the emotional trauma and abuse she faced in each of these relationships (“All You Wanna Do”). As the Queens continue to fight over who is the true winner, Catherine Parr questions the point of the competition which defines them by their connection to Henry rather than as individuals. The Queens, however, do not listen and continue to argue. Frustrated, Parr tells of her separation from her lover, Sir Thomas Seymour, and arranged marriage with Henry, but instead of lamenting about it, she acknowledges her accomplishments independent of Henry (“I Don’t Need Your Love”). The other Queens, realising they have been robbed of their individuality, abandon the contest and declare that they do not need Henry’s love to feel validated as people. They use their remaining moments on stage to rewrite their stories, singing together as a group rather than as solo artists and writing their own “happily ever afters” (“Six”). This song has the girls tell how their story would have turned out if Henry was never involved. MUSICAL NUMBERS • Ex-Wives – Company • Ex-Wives (Reprise/Playoff) – Company • No Way – Catherine of Aragon and Company • Anne Boleyn (Interlude) – Company minus Anne Boleyn