Wives get payback against Henry VIII in Broadway musical ‘Six’ at National Theatre

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'Six' at National Theatre (Part 1)

Divorced, beheaded, died from childbirth, divorced, beheaded and survived — those were the fates of the six wives of the infamous King Henry VIII in 16th-century England.

They finally get their payback as modern-day pop stars in the Broadway smash “Six: The Musical,” which brings its North American tour to the National Theatre through Sept. 4.

Actor Khaila Wilcoxon told WTOP the show is a “modern, very relatable twist to the wives’ side of Henry VIII … through the eyes of your favorite pop stars.”

Wilcoxon plays the role of Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII, and she said her portrayal is inspired mostly by Beyonce, “but I also throw a little of Cardi B., Rosalia, Shakira — because it’s very important that I pay homage to Catherine of Aragon’s Spanish heritage,” Wilcoxon said.

You’ll also recognize the pop-star influences from the other five wives. Wilcoxon says Anne Boleyn (Storm Lever) is based on Avril Lavigne; Jasmine Forsberg plays Jane Seymour as Adele; Olivia Donalson portrays Anna of Cleves as Lizzo; Didi Romero bases her Catherine Howard on Britney Spears, and Gabby Carrillo plays Catherine Parr as “I wanna say Celine Dion.”

The dazzling divas are brought to life with “shiny and modern” Tony-winning costumes by Gabriella Slade. “I’m not a super-girly girl, but putting on the glitter every night brings out a different side of me,” Wilcoxon said. The crowns are specifically made for each queen, and each costume has its own touches. “Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard wear chokers to hint that they were beheaded. … Anna of Cleves has all these chains.”

Behind them is a minimalistic set but a sensory experience of light and sound, including the four-piece band The Ladies in Waiting.

Best of all is the Tony-winning score by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss: “It reminds me of — I don’t know if I’ll get in trouble for saying this — it reminds me of a more-fun version of ‘Hamilton!'”

Wilcoxon said the show is “like a pop concert with a story behind it, and you’re going to be so moved.” She added, “Bring your daughters! We do it for the little queens out there.”

Listen to our full conversation here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'Six' at National Theatre (Part 2)

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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