Season opener ‘SIX’ lets Henry VIII’s queens have their say

Season opener ‘SIX’ lets Henry VIII’s queens have their say

According to his first and last wives, you don’t have to know who Henry VIII was to enjoy “SIX.”

“I think some people hesitate to go see a historical revision show because they’re afraid that they don’t have the foundational knowledge to keep up with the story,” says Sydney Parra, who plays Tudor queen (and last wife) turned pop star Catherine Parr.

“We give you everything you need. Surprisingly, we’re able to pack a lot of information into a very short amount of time, and it’s quite historically accurate.”

For instance, Parra explains that Catherine Parr was the only queen to outlive Henry VIII, who famously had wives beheaded when he couldn’t get a divorce.

“I’m Catherine of Aragon. I’m the bookend to Sydney,” Gerianne Peréz picks up the story. “I was the first queen. I was known for being the one that was married to him for the longest. I was with him for 24 years.”

Written by Tony Award winners Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss with choreography by Carrie-Anne Ingrouille, “SIX” is formatted like a stadium pop show, explains Parra. “SIX” won 23 awards in the 2021-2022 Broadway season, including the Tony Award for Best Original Score (Music and Lyrics) and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical.

“The show imagines a world in which these six women get together and write an album where they each get a song explaining why their experience with Henry was the worst,” Parra says. “It does follow regular musical theater tropes, but the show is 80 minutes of lights and choreography and costumes in a way that is not being done in any other Broadway show right now.”

Researching the role meant every queen’s character took inspiration from modern-day pop stars. Peréz explains that even though the writers had particular influences, the actresses were encouraged to borrow from their favorites as well.

For Peréz, her research was to watch performances by modern pop queens Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez.

“They put on these beautifully nuanced performances that are not usually performances we have to replicate in the world of musical theater. A lot of times [when] we’re doing a ‘book ‘musical,’ we’re really focusing on the acting, the scene work, the characters themselves. In this musical, we’re trying to replicate a pop star, which is a completely different kind of stage persona.”

“When we started the rehearsal process, I was told a lot that Alicia Keys was the inspiration for Catherine Parr — her groundedness and her soulful R&B ballad with a lot of heart vibe,” says Parra, which she mixed up with her love of Jojo and “Queen of Tejano Music” Selena, both of whom also inspired Parra’s vision of her character.

“I think she did a beautiful job of blending the Spanish and non-Spanish-speaking communities and uniting them through her music, and that sort of inspired me and felt very much in alignment with my version of Catherine Parr,” Parra says. “We got to play around a lot with those inspirations.

“I think it appeals to most people, and I think people who aren’t theater dorks end up being obsessed with this show because it’s so different. It’s so accessible,” she adds. “And it pulls on so much contemporary music that it’s really easy to love. It’s going great for us out here on the road. We’re so grateful that the audiences have been so receptive.”


WHAT — From Tudor queens to pop icons, the “SIX” wives of Henry VIII take the microphone to remix 500 years of historical heartbreak into a euphoric celebration of 21st century girl power.

WHEN — 8 p.m. Sept. 15; 2 & 8 p.m. Sept. 16; 2 p.m. Sept. 17

WHERE — Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville

COST — $71-$108; limited tickets remain. Lottery options available.


BONUS — A “SIX”-themed cocktail class is available for this show. Check out for more information. Study ahead on who’s who at


Listen Here!

Hear what the queens have to say about the music, their characters and the show in the interview behind this story on a podcast with Monica Hooper at
Categories: Theater