Harpsichord music plays as we enter the theater. We’re already feeling like we’re back in renaissance England. Then the lights dim. Six spotlights light up on stage silhouetting six women. The music starts and with beats pounding, each one cries out their individual fates:
Their voices echo through the theater giving us goosebumps. These are the six wives of the infamous King Henry VIII. Chicago Shakespeare takes us back to the Tudor reign in the musical SIX.
Chicago Shakespeare Gives Us a Her-story Lesson
King Henry VIII may be known for his politics and whatnot, but he probably wouldn’t have even been remembered if not for his six marriages. Enter the six wives: Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boelyn, Jane Seymour, Anna of Cleves, Katherine Howard, and Catherine Parr.
Together they form the fictitious musical group SIX here to sing live for us in concert. The problem is, like most historians, they can’t decide who the most important wife is so they don’t know who should be the lead singer of their group. It’s up for us to decide as each queen sings her solo telling us about her relationship to the fickle king.
Welcome to the Histo-Remix
As each of the women have their turn at center stage, we’re taken through a variety of different musical stylings inspired by pop icons.
As the OG wife, Catherine of Aragon channels the Queen Bey herself - Beyonce with a hint of Shakira. Coming in to steal your man, is punk Anne Boelyn in the style of Avril Lavigne. The soulful Jane Seymour sings about her heart of stone reminiscent of Adele and Sia.
Anna of Cleves gets the best deal of all the wives and flaunts it like the bad bitch she is like Nicki Minaj and Rihanna. Katherine Howard is a regular pop princess with Ariana Grande’s signature ponytail and pop beats like Britney Spears. And finally, the one who survived, Catherine Parr, rounds out the bunch belting her soul out like Emeli Sande and Alicia Keys.
These women are powerful singers and we’re gripped as they sing each of their wives stories.
Feels Like We’re at a Concert
All the additional elements make the show sparkle as well. We feel like we’re at a true concert with the accompanying band called the “Ladies in Waiting” right on the stage. Speakers line the back of the stage and the lights add to this concert-like feel.
Each of the wives costumes have a distinct flair to them. They’re so full of texture, different fabrics, and added jewels our eyes go from one to the next as they shine underneath the spotlights. The costumes, the music, the lights, and the actors all create an unforgettable experience.
In this writer's view, this show is gripping, powerful, and full of catchy music. SIX would be a great pick for those looking for a powerful story about these women who usually don’t get to have their story told. It would also be a good fit for any history buffs or musical lovers out there.
Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read – Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.
Nicole Kyoung-Mi Lambert
Now through August 4, 2019
Tuesdays-Fridays at 7:45p
Saturdays at 6:00p and 8:30p
Sundays at 3:00p and 6:00p
Chicago Shakespeare Theatre
Navy Pier, 800 E Grand Ave.
Full price tickets can be purchased through the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre website or by calling the box office at 312.595.5600
Photos Liz Lauren
Note: Picture This Post reviews are excerpted by Theatre in Chicago
About the Author
Alexis is a theater reviewer, travel bug, media specialist, and burger & beer enthusiast. During the day she works in the advertising business as a senior communications designer. When night falls, or when she can escape to New York, she’s hitting the theaters to see as many shows as she can. And whenever she’s not at her desk or in the audience, she’s out seeking the best burger and beer offerings in Chicago.
Editor's Note: Click here to read more Picture this Post articles by Alexis Bugajski