This past Wednesday, Emma and I went on a double-date into the city for dinner and a show. The dinner was at Piggy Back down by MSG, and the show was Six.
For those who don’y know anything about it, Six is a play, or more a rock-pop concert about the six ex-wives of Henry VIII. Most of humanity knows that Henry VIII was not a great guy and he went through many different marriages, most of which did not end happily. This musical by Lucy Moss and Toby Marlow takes history (or “her-story” as the ladies would say) and flips it 180-degrees to hear from the women of Henry VIII.
The play has only 10 people involved: the six wives, the guitar player, the bass player, the keyboardist and the drummer. They are on the stage the entire time. There are no breaks for the handful of participants. It is a roughly 90 minute sprint with no intermission. The show throws you into the fire and begins turning its spit right from the get-go.
While all the queens in the show are good, it is natural to have preferences and personal favorites. I mean, the six queens in the show ask you to choose a winner. They want to know who you think had the hardest time with a ring on their finger. While judging someone else’s heartbreak is hard, I am more than happy to judge my entertainment value of the queens!
If you have seen Six, let me know your thoughts on which queen was best when you saw the show? If you haven’t Six, then make an effort too. It is well worth the price of admission.
6. Catherine Howard
Catherine Howard was the fifth wife of Henry VIII, and she did not last very long. She is somewhat a butt of many jokes in show being that she is the least remembered wife, and the least important Catherine of the three. She is fairly aware of that in the play, playing off of it well while also trying to win the crowd over for her lack of memorability and having to deal with a slobbering husband.
Catherine is known for being beheaded, along with Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn.
In terms of the play Six, I enjoyed that music of Catherine Howard the least. Her style, and look for that matter, are based heavily of Ariana Grande. I am not a fan of her music to begin with, so not surprised in the slightest that her songs would be the ones I would be most likely to skip on a re-listen.
The biggest difference between Boleyn and Howard is that is Howard is a lot more poppy and directly sexual than Boleyn’s rock and slightly more subtle approach to her demeanor. Catherine Howard is like Taylor Swift’s Reputation album. Has some good moments, you acknowledge it can be a vibe for a while, but eventually you are going to move one.
Just like Henry VIII did.
5. Catherine Parr
Is this my most controversial ranking? Already at number five? Probably.
Catherine Parr was the final wife of Henry VIII, and the only one who survived. She outlived the sluggish king. How can she have the worst life of the six wives?
Parr is based heavily on Alicia Keyes and her story centers heavily on the idea that she had the perfect life and love with a man named Thomas, but she had to leave that to be married to the king. When the King of England asks you to marry him, you really can’t say much. You just gotta abide.
Also small world that both Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr had Thomas lovers. Lots of people using the same name I guess.
Maybe it was just on brain and sensory overload at this point in the play, but Parr’s song did not resonate with me. I appreciated the type of song more than Howard’s style, but in terms of connecting my own emotions to her, I felt more disconnected than I expected.
Jake (who I went to see the play with) said that he was most impressed by Catherine at the end. I heard others in the crowd saying the same thing. I just didn’t get the same excitement and exhilaration. It is extra odd because I love good sad ballads. Feed me sad songs all day long. I just think that Parr’s “I Don’t Need Your Love” goes too hard into the pop radio for a time when it could have just stayed a heart breaker.
4. Catherine Of Aragon
First thing first. The song “No Way” is natural head-bopper. I am currently on the train just jiving in my seat right now. It has the Latina Shakira vibes going for it, and I am all for the early show energy vibes. When the energy of this song gets going, you will have your foot tapping to the beat.
Catherine of Aragon gave birth to a daughter and Henry VIII just didn’t give a flying shit. She also had to live with the mistress that replaced her when Henry VIII just rewrote catholicism. Rumored to be heading to a nunnery instead of living in a palace, there is no way I would want that life either.
I think I have a higher appreciation for Catherine of Aragon than some would deem appropriate is because she was the first one to perform and holy lord it was not what I was expecting. I had no idea all the wives were staying on the stage the entire time. I had no idea it was going to more a concert than a musical. Her song and performance set me on sail for the journey, so for the jumpstart it gets the number four spot.
Am I also biased that “Aragon” is in her name and it sounds like “Aragorn”? I choose no comment.
3. Anne Boleyn
Can you imagine being so hot that you convince a king to leave his original religion and ends up creating some of the most stressful political atmosphere despite not really having a care for politics?
Anne Boleyn, what a legend.
“Don’t lose your head.”
The second wife of Henry VIII, she had some major historical implications. Her beauty made Henry VIII want to leave Catherine, but when Rome was like “uh, no, you can’t do that.”, Henry VIII was like UMMM, “I am just going to create the Church of England and you can go behind the shed and stay there.”
Alright, remember when I said that Boleyn was a little more subtle that Howard about her promiscuousness in her song?
“I guess he really just liked my head”Hehehe
That line right there which essentially closes out “Don’t Lose Your Head” is a bit contradictory.
Another major confession here. Watching Anne Boleyn in The Tudors changed my life.
2. Jane Seymour
Hands down, without compare, the best song in the entire is “Heart Of Stone”. Holy lord what a performance. Holy lord GOOSEBUMPS! I am listening to it now on the train and I got goosebumps. By far the best song in the entire shot.
Pure ballads are not for everyone, but how can you not fucking love this song?? It is heart-wrenching. It is exhilarating and inspiring.
Jane Seymour was the only queen that Henry VIII supposedly loved. Is that because she was the quietest and the most tolerant of his monstrous demeanor and bad temper? Probably. Does he love her most even after her passing because she produced a male heir? I would put money on it.
If we were ranking queens based solely off their songs, then Jane Seymour would be number one. But we are ranking them here for entire show performance. This was the highlight of the show, but it was not the performance of the show.
1. Anne Of Cleves
The winner of the show. Anne of Cleves is just having a fucking blast on stage. Sure, being turned down because you didn’t make your profile picture is a really hard. That is tough. Self-esteem at all-time low.
However, what if I told you that you would get to live in palaces, have a ridiculous amount of money and have more freedom than any of your wife partners?
That might be a fair trade off.
Anne of Cleves knows that she got off easy, and she takes that exuberance into her songs with upbeat, girl power, “sucks to be you” attitude.
The “…get in reformation” had me literally knee-slapping laughter live in the audience. I have no idea why, but this line was fucking hilarious to me. I will be honest, I am a little surprised that I enjoyed Anne of Cleves as much as I did, specifically her “Get Down” song. I am not a huge Beyonce stan, but this song has her style down to a perfect T. It took me off guard how much I enjoyed it.
Before “Get Down” there is the “Haus Of Holbein”, which won me over right from the start. I had no idea a techno beat was about to hit the stage. I have no idea all of the actresses were going to break out the horrendous German accents. This song proved to me that this play was just about having a good time and the actors on the stage were doing exactly that. What a wild plot twist in a broadway play to be bringing a song like this out.
I am a sucker for media that is confident in what it is. I can always pay respect when media makers stick to what they feel. Anne of Cleves is the Lucy Moss and Toby Marlow putting their official stamp on the project.
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