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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at C of C chapter.

“Divorced. Beheaded. Live.”

If you attended any history class in your lifetime (and actually paid attention), chances are you heard something about Henry VIII and the fact that in his lifetime he had not one, not two, not three, but SIX wives! You also may have heard the famous rhyme associated with all those marriages “Divorced, Beheaded, Died. Divorced, Beheaded, Survived.”, which very briefly sums up the fate of each wife. But throughout those history lessons (and that super catchy Horrible Histories song) we didn’t learn much about the infamous six wives, until two musical theater students gave these queens their time to shine.

Following the Hamilton craze, which spawned a lot of history-based musicals, it seems that Six is the only one that really hit its mark. The idea is pretty simple. There are six characters in the show (each of the six wives) who put on a musical competition to see who was done the dirtiest by Henry VIII. Throw in some catchy songs of different genres, a heartfelt message about how women tend to fade in history, and an amazing amount of girl power, and you got yourself an award winning musical.

One of the main reasons why Six is so successful is that it takes an idea the majority already have some information about and breathes a different type of life into it, taking characters you know and putting them in a new environment. This differs from Hamilton as that story tells the full life of a historical figure you probably knew very little about at first, while Six focuses on six main characters at one point in each of their lifetimes.

The musical also includes a wide variety of music genres (since each Queen is based off a modern-day celebrity), there is at least one song in the musical that could cater to anyone’s taste, from Jane Seymour’s power ballad to Anna of Cleves hip-hop inspired dance break. While the idea of including music different from the classic musical style in contemporary shows is not new (see any Jukebox musical ever), Six is still the first show to showcase such a wide range of music types in a way that doesn’t feel forced.

I can’t talk about this musical without bringing up the amazing swings who can cover up to all six queens. If you don’t know what a swing is, they are an actor employed by the show who learns different tracks (ex: Catherine of Aragon, Kate Parr) and can be ready to go on at the drop of a hat. Most of the swings in the show cover at least two roles meaning they have to learn different positions, lines, and harmonies for each character they cover. During the pandemic a lot of shows faced many actors being in and out of shows, and people began to understand and highlight just how hard understudies and swings worked and how undermined they are, with the cast of Six being a leading example.

Last but not least, if talking about Six you cannot help but mention the girl power involved, which is the main idea of the whole show. All the (six) roles in the show are played by female/female presenting actors and the roles are not limited to any type of ethnicity. It is so amazing to see a show full of different types of strong and talented women having the time of their lives on stage and bringing life to an age-old tale.

With many nominations and winnings (including two Tony awards), hundreds of streams, a West End and Broadway showing, and a U.S. tour in the works; Six has solidified its place in theater history and is well on its way to changing the industry forever.

College of Charleston Class of 2026. Communications Major and Creative Writing Minor. Feminist and LGBTQ+ Activist. Lover of Musicals, Old Bookstores, and Cheesy Horror Movies.