All the songs in 'Six' on Broadway
Learn fun facts about the songs remixing history in this musical.
If all you wanna do is hear catchy pop music on Broadway and learn something along the way, look no further than Six, which won the Tony Award for Best Original Score. This twist on history — or rather, her-story — centers on the six wives of English king Henry VIII, most often known by the rhyme "divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived."
In this high-energy, concert-style musical by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, the Queens become full-bodied people with lives and stories of their own. These Queens have just formed a girl group, and they host a contest to choose the frontwoman: whoever had it worst as Henry's wife. This contest plays out throughout Six, featuring a unique solo for each Queen to tell her story, plus pulse-pounding group numbers.
Learn more about all these songs below, and get tickets to get down with the Six queens live at the Lena Horne Theatre.
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"Remember us, from PBS?" Catherine of Aragon sings in Six's opening song. Whether or not you do, this song makes clear that these glamorous pop Queens are going to be different than you remember them from TV or history class. Aragon and the other queens — Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anna of Cleves, Katherine Howard, and Catherine Parr — introduce themselves and give a little preview about what each of their lives was like as Henry VIII's wives — "but now, we're ex-wives."
From the opening number, each Queen gets her own song inspired by a different pop diva. Aragon is up first with the Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez-inspired anthem "No Way," whose title is Aragon's response to Henry's plan to get rid of her: Start a new religion, divorce her for Boleyn, and send her off to a nunnery.
Of course, he does two of those three things anyway, but Aragon does avoid the nunnery. As she herself cleverly rhymes, "If you thought it'd be funny to send me to a nunn'ry, honey, there's no way!"
"Don't Lose Ur Head"
The Queens' songs go in the historical order of their marriages, so Boleyn is up next. "Don't Lose Ur Head" mimics the musical styles of Avril Lavigne and K-pop artists, and it can be summed up in one lyric: "Sorry, not sorry." Boleyn cheekily brushes off the flak Aragon and the public give her for seducing Henry — but things suddenly get real when Boleyn realizes she is, literally, going to lose her head. She can't just "LOL, say farewell" to that problem.
"Heart of Stone"
From a bubblegum pop banger, Six next moves to a power ballad a la Adele and Sia, sung by Jane Seymour in the show. The title has a double meaning for her: Seymour had a "heart of stone" in that she loved Henry unwaveringly despite his changing temper. She also sings, however, that he only loves her back because she's bearing him a son, and she has to maintain a "heart of stone" to avoid getting too hurt. The song starts off mournful, but by the end, Seymour is strong and defiant.
"Haus of Holbein"
With half the Queens' solos done, it's now the midpoint of the show. Before the second group of Queens takes the mic, all six come together to sing "Haus of Holbein," a German electronic tune. The song is named for the painter Hans Holbein, and the women satirize female beauty standards by singing about the uncomfortable clothing and chemical-ridden cosmetics women had to put on for their portraits. "So what, the makeup contains lead poison? At least your complexion will bring all the boys in!"
Holbein painted a portrait of Anna of Cleves, so this song is a set-up for her solo, which comes next. During the song, the Queens reenact Henry's search for a new bride in the style of Tinder. They "swipe left" on various women's Holbein portraits until they come upon Cleves, who Henry chooses.
All doesn't go as planned, though, as we learn in the Rihanna and Nicki Minaj-inspired "Get Down." Shortly after Henry "swipes right" on Cleves, she sings, he quickly divorces her after meeting her in person: "I didn't look like my profile picture."
That doesn't bother Cleves, though, who gets to move into her own castle with riches aplenty — and hang her portrait up "for everyone to see, and you can't stop me, 'cuz I'm the queen of the castle!" She knows her thriving, independent life disqualifies her from the Queens' competition, but she (and the audience) are too busy "getting down" and jamming out to this hip-hop banger to compare.
"All You Wanna Do"
"All You Wanna Do" is not all it seems on the surface. Katherine Howard's solo has a bright, bubblegum pop sound in the style of Britney Spears and Ariana Grande. But listen closely to the lyrics, and suddenly, the song doesn't seem quite as sunny. Howard sings about a lifetime of being used by older men who only wanted her for her body, including Henry.
On the original cast album, the song's tone stays upbeat throughout, even as Howard and her lyrics gets sadder. But in live performances, Howard sings the last verse frantically as her fear and despair overwhelm her.
"I Don't Need Your Love"
The Alicia Keys and Emeli Sandé-influenced "I Don't Need Your Love" almost doesn't even happen in Six. Parr, when her turn comes to give a "sob story," asks the other Queens to just call off the whole competition. But after they mock Parr for being afraid to lose — she is the one who survived, after all — she relents and delivers this song.
Like "Heart of Stone," "I Don't Need Your Love" means two things to Parr. It's what she had to say to her true love, Thomas, when Henry commanded her to marry him. It's also what she wishes she could say to Henry, because she is a remarkable woman without him: "Remember that I was a writer; I wrote books and songs and meditations, fought for female education." All the Queens wish they could have said that, too, and Parr's declaration finally inspires the Queens to stop infighting.
The show officially ends with the triumphant title track, in which they all celebrate how they're "one of a kind, no category," and worth remembering as women with full lives independent of Henry.
Each Queen sings a revisionist version of how they became a pop star post-Henry: for example, Boleyn becomes Shakespeare's lyricist, Cleves tours Prussia with Holbein and his friends, and Parr gathers the Queens together to form the girl group.
After the finale, the Queens also perform an encore song called "Megasix," a mashup of all their solos. At this point, the audience is invited to get up and dance along. It's during this song that Six feels especially like a pop concert, where everyone can "sing along to your favorite Queen song!"
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