Six stars for ‘SIX’

Female empowerment, history and pop music combine for hit show


Photo fair use from Hennepin Theater Trust. Henry VIII’s six wives pose as part of a pop group that forms the basis of the musical. “SIX “runs through Dec. 22 at the Ordway Center for Performing Arts.

Marta Hill

A pop concert, a history lesson and an empowering story all combine into one breathtaking performance, “SIX,” at  the Ordway Center for Performing Arts.

The premise of the show is comprised of Henry VIII’s six wives forming a high-energy pop group. Because of their competitive nature, the queens turn to a comparison of the hardships they faced with Henry VIII to determine who will be the lead singer. 

Each queen has the opportunity to share her story through a solo song filled with subtle jabs at the others, puns and interesting factoids about the queen. 

The six queens, backed by four ladies-in-waiting (the musicians), pull the normally reserved crowd at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts into the concert atmosphere. Cheers frequently erupted from the crowd, even in the middle of songs, and the audience was encouraged to clap along. 

Through the entire show, the queens perform  to their fullest, never leaving stage or taking a break. The dancing is intense and fast paced and the singing is similar to the pop music of Ariana Grande and Rihanna. 

Although it is a modern retelling of their lives, many details are kept true to history. Many interesting facts about the queens are slipped in. For example, Anne Boleyn, one of Henry VII’s wives, had six fingers and Catherine Parr, another bride to Henry VII, was an author. The lyrics are so catchy, listeners can’t help but remember these details for a long time. 

The most memorable part of the show was right before “I Don’t Need Your Love,” the solo song for Catherine Parr (Anna Uzele), because the mood of the performance changes dramatically. 

Up until that point, the queens are trying to prove they had the hardest time with Henry VIII, and are constantly comparing themselves to others. Then, Catherine Parr proposes they stop. 

She proposes they stop comparing and competing and instead lift each other up. It no longer matters who will be the lead singer, the queens realize they are all known exclusively for who their husband was. 

The last song, “SIX”, shows them remixing “her-story” to make it about more than who they all married. In the refrain, “We’re one of a kind, No category, Too many years lost in history,” their individuality becomes the focus of the song. This contrasts the obsessive comparisons they had previously drawn surrounding their relationships with Henry VIII.

His-story became her-story and a group of powerful women reclaimed their pasts leaving the audience with the overwhelming feeling of female empowerment.
Not only can audiences stand to learn some about the history of the six queens, but “SIX” has the ability to impart a deeper message about how patriarchal our history is. 

“SIX” is playing through Dec. 22 at the Ordway Center for Performing Arts, after which it will move to Broadway.