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Herstory: Why Is Important For Everyone To Know ‘Six: The Musical’

Not suitable for children under 14 years old

You can watch on permanent display on Broadway or accessible on Youtube

Six  is a British musical comedy with book, music, and lyrics by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss. The musical is a modern retelling of the lives of the six wives of Henry VIII, presented as a pop concert, as the Queens take turns singing and telling their story to see who suffered the most due to Henry and should, therefore, become the group's lead singer. What at first seems like a musical competition about suffering and betrayal, told in an absolutely scrupulous way, gradually takes the form of a true reflection on female representation, sisterhood and combating rivalry between women.

The musical starts with the idea of finding which queen shall be the one to lead the band. But, with the presentation of each famous and controversial character, we have the opportunity to fall in love with stories of overcoming, strength, and the evolution of the feminine in the 16th century, in addition to reflecting on whether the reality of women in society has changed so much since then. With a steady production on Broadway, having already toured in more than 3 countries and with 34 nominations and 12 wins in different awards - including the Tony Awards -, Six: The Musical is a must for all those who believe that history has two sides - in this case, 6.

Unfortunately, the musical does not have a tour of Brazil. However, you can check out the complete playlist of the work on the audio platforms or watch the full musical by clicking here.

So come check out six reasons to get to know - and fall in love with - Six: The Musical.

SONGS THAT GET INTO YOUR HEAD

The first thing that stands out in the musical - and in any musical, really - is the songs performed. In the case of Six, absolutely every song has acidic and extremely fun lyrics, which briefly tell the story of each of the 6 queens who passed through the Tudor dynasty. Just watch the musical for the first time and you'll end up addicted to the full playlist and, in that way, memorizing what happened with each of the queens.

The show has 13 musical numbers, 6 of which are specific about the history of each of the queens, 4 interludes and 3 songs of the full body, opening, closing and one talking about the German painter Hans Holbein, responsible for the portraits of 3 of the 6 queens, as well as the son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour.

LEARNING HISTORY WITH A LAUGH, MODERNITY AND REPRESENTATIVITY

Six's main point is the fact that the characters are portrayed as much more than "the six wives of Henrique VIII". Each story is presented in a way, albeit succinct, to understand what life was like for each of the queens - in addition, of course, to see a reaffirmation of what monarchs were like at that time: rude, sexist and believers that women were just an accessory to be used and thrown away when needed. In addition, the interactions between the characters - and the songs themselves - are full of smart lines, connections with the current world and lots of interactions with the audience.

So, the truth is that the musical is a fun class in the history of the British crown. Best of all, we know that the term "blue blood" comes from the possibility of observing the veins on the wrists and arms of white people. However, the musical has a great representation of bodies, colors and nationalities. The Broadway fixed cast, for example, has 3 black women, two white women and one of Asian origin.

CHANGING THE POINT OF VIEW OF THE HISTORY - FOR HERSTORY

Catherine Parr, the last of the six wives, surgically sings in her song: "Because in history I'm fixed as one of six and without him I disappear. We all disappear". Have you ever stopped to think if you remember who the six wives of Henry VIII are? With Six, you forget about Henry's presence in the story and manage to focus exclusively on the story of the queens - which, honestly, has a lot more to talk about than just "one word in a stupid rhyme".

In the musical, we know the stories of Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Catherine Parr, but far beyond just six women who spent a brief time taking the seat next to the king. It is essential - and extremely fun - to see the point of view of the women who divorced, beheaded, died and survived their times as monarchs. Even because this representation of the queens is put in a funny way, full of jokes, acid comments, discussions between them and many, many criticisms of the ex-husband of the six.

WOMEN AHEAD OF THEIR TIME

It is difficult to find anyone who knows some of the achievements of the six queens. In fact, it's more common to find people who think they were just the silent wives of a controversial monarch. But is reality like this? 

Aragon is the first ambassador in European history and played a major role at the English won the Battle of Flodden: the queen rode north in full armor to address the troops, despite the fact that she was pregnant at the time. 

Boylene’s marriage to Henry VIII resulted in her relinquishing papal authority in the Church of England, which became independent from Rome. Furthermore, the brief marriage between Boleyn and the Tudor king produced Princess Elisabeth I. When sentenced to beheading, Anne was given the opportunity not to be murdered, in exchange for Elizabeth's removal from the line of succession to the throne.  The controversial queen turned down the offer and 22 years later Elizabeth the first is crowned queen and becomes the most memorable and legendary in the history of the British crown.  Even the name of another famous queen comes from her: Elizabeth II - yes, the current queen of England, is named in honor of Boleyn's daughter.

Parr in addition to fighting for the right to female education, so that all women could study the scriptures, and was the only one to get a woman to paint her official picture. These are just a few examples of the queens' contributions to history. Why is only Henry remembered?

THE FIRST TIME TUDOR ARE OBSERVED LIGHTLY

Much is known about the Tudor dynasty, especially through the numerous fictional works of teledramaturgy that are based on this part of the story. Series like "The Tudors" and "The Spanish Princess" tell the regency period of Henry VIII in an obscure and serious way - and, of course, focusing mostly on the king and his deeds. With "Six: The Musical", we see the same story taking place in the same period of time, but in a light, fun and infinitely easier way to understand. 

In addition, it is interesting to check out the musical after learning about the Tudor dynasty at school, in books, films or series to see all sides of the story, and give visibility and voice to the protagonists of it - who, even if mostly forgotten, are as important as the king.

5 CENTURIES HAVE PASSED... BUT HAVE THINGS CHANGED THAT MUCH?

An environment in which the man is seen as the protagonist, and the women around him are just accessories, who do not need to be heard, gain less visibility (hm... maybe lower salaries in the same position too?) and have their voices muffled simply because they were born with the so-called "weaker sex". Where it is common for women to be objectified, harassed, raped, discredited and considered inferior or less efficient for becoming pregnant. They are prohibited from fulfilling certain functions simply because they are women. Are we talking about when in time?

The most important part of the musical is its reflection on how much the reality for women in society has changed in the 500 years that separate the play from real life. It is still very common for women to be called whores for wearing short clothes, being accused of "begging" when being raped, being accused of being pivots in separations - when, in fact, the pivot is the traitor man -, having their lines and ideas stolen by men in the work environment, being considered promiscuous, dirty, bitter simply for acting as men act... 

There are so many possible examples that it is difficult to enumerate; but which, curiously, are very similar to the situations our queens went through during their time in the Dynasty. The fact is that 'Six: The Musical', in addition to being fun, addictive and exciting, is a cold shower and an essential part of the reflection on how much time passes, but customs as we know it don't really change.

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The article above was edited by Lívia Carvalho.

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Clarissa Palácio

Casper Libero '25

Paulistana nata, feminista, leonina e apaixonada por rosas, sou fotógrafa formada e escrevo desde os 7 anos de idade. Comecei com poesia, histórias de fantasia, depois música e, aos 13, descobri o jornalismo – aí não teve jeito, foi paixão à primeira vista. Quero poder escrever sobre tudo e deixar o mundo um pouquinho melhor para quem vem - e já está - por aí!
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