A Weekend in Review: Panic, Traffic, Italian Food, Six: The Musical, Swifties and More!

Little did my sister and I know when we got tickets to see Six: The Musical, that we had booked them on the BUSIEST weekend so far this year in Seattle.

Other than watching the funny Tik Toks of alternate cast member Erin Ramirez about what she and fellow alternates Marilyn Caserta & Kelsee Kimmel (more on Kelsee later) think would send the real Henry VIII into a coma, I knew nothing about this musical.

In June, when my sister Laurie asked me if I wanted to go, she said a co-worker had gone and said it was a modern retelling of the lives of the six wives of Henry VIII, but it was done in a pop concert form like the wives were the Spice girls. Ok, I’m sold. Sounds interesting. We bought tickets for a matinee.

The North American SIX Aragon tour… Photo by Joan Marcus

The last musical I had been to was Rent sometime in the 1990s. I seem to have an aversion to traffic, crowds, heat, noise and waiting in line, so I don’t venture out to big events often.

Boy, did I pick the weekend to test myself on all that or what?

About a week before the show date, I started hearing rumblings of, first, traffic issues. The 520 Bridge, Highway 18 and Mountlake Boulevard would all be closed. So, a couple of the things I dislike- traffic and likely heat- would be in play. No biggie. I’m a grown-up.

Then I started to hear about all the events happening on the same day.

  • A Storm game at Climate Pledge Arena
  • Bite of Seattle at the Seattle Center
  • A Mariner game in the afternoon
  • Capitol Hill Block Party
  • And the Super Bowl of all concerts-Taylor Swift at Lumen Field
Image Credit: WSDOT Facebook

Now that everything on my list was present or amplified, I started plotting my escape. *Cough* could I pretend I was ill? No, my sister wouldn’t buy it. Could I claim car troubles? She’d just come to get me. I was doomed.

Our saving grace seemed to be that we had booked the 2 pm matinee rather than an evening show. So, we decided to leave at 1030 am and eat lunch across the street from the theater at noon. If anything went wrong with traffic, we’d skip lunch. Laurie had wisely reserved parking when she bought the tickets.

The drive into Seattle was fine, and we were half an hour early for lunch at Bombo Italian Kitchen across from the venue.

After lunch, we had time to kill and walked around the Denny Triangle neighborhood. Suddenly, the crowds got larger, younger and much sparklier. The Swifties were out of their hotels and had descended downtown en masse.

Photo credit Toycen Family

As we walked, we entertained ourselves with a rousing game of ‘Swiftie or Not?’ They were easy to spot, wearing either short sequined dresses of various colors, bustiers with short skirts and cowboy boots or anything pink. Remembering my history of concert-going, I’ll say they were better groomed and behaved than I ever was—a big thumbs-up to the Swiftie crowd and their patient parents. I was a little jealous not to be going too.

Finally, it was time for the show. The Paramount Theater is expert at moving crowds through the checking-in process. Staff members in black efficiently shuffled the sold-out crowd of approximately 2800 people through a bag search, ticket taking, concessions, merch purchases and even bathroom breaks.

Photo by Brett Wharton on Unsplash

We were soon settled in our seats. A little like being in coach on an airplane, be prepared to get up close and personal with your neighbor at this venue, but when the show starts, you soon forget the discomfort.

Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived

The ‘Queens’ (Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anna of Cleves, Katherine Howard, and Catherine Parr) come out in fabulous costumes and introduce themselves, telling the audience the prize for having the worst time with Henry VIII will be the role of lead singer of the band playing behind them.

First was Catherine of Aragon, Khaila Wilcoxon, who lamented her marriage was to be annulled, and she was to be sent to a nunnery because Henry was attracted to Anne Boleyn. Anne, Storm Lever, agrees, saying Henry was attracted to her, not Catherine, but then goes on to complain of his infidelity, which caused her to flirt, leading to her eventual beheading.

Next up was Jane Seymour, played by alternate Kelsee Kimmel, one of the TikTok actresses who initially intrigued me about the show. She starts to speak, only to be ridiculed by the other Queens for having an easy time of it. Jane admits Henry loved only her but said that love was conditional on the male heir she produced; she sadly died shortly after childbirth. Her song, Heart of Stone, was one of my favorites of the night.

Olivia Donalson as Anna of Cleves …Photo by Joan Marcus.

The next Queen, Anna of Cleves, played by Olivia Donalson, was also a showstopping favorite. Her tale, modified to mimic the modern day, parodied our swipe-left and right dating culture. Chosen because of a beautiful portrait, she was ultimately rejected when she did not resemble the painting. Given a lavish lifestyle in return for that rejection, she agrees her life wasn’t difficult and drops out of the competition.

Katherine Howard, Courtney Mack, and Catherine Parr, Gabriela Carrillo, are the last two wives. Howard is scorned as the least relevant wife until she recounts initially relishing her attractiveness and many relationships until she realizes how much abuse she faced in each of them; she, too, was beheaded for an affair. Parr had to give up the love of her life for an arranged marriage to Henry but was the last surviving wife of the King until his death.

The other Queens, realizing they have been robbed of their individuality, abandon the contest and declare that they don’t need Henry’s love to feel validated as people. They use their remaining moments onstage to rewrite their stories, singing together as a group rather than as solo artists and writing their own happily ever after’s, had Henry never been involved.[1]

Not to be forgotten is the Queen’s backup band ‘The Ladies in Waiting’ who are onstage during the and add to the entire show.

I enjoyed the hour and twenty-minute-long show. I’m just sorry I saw it at the end of the run so that more readers can’t enjoy it too. I recommend seeing it if you can, with a few caveats.

The North American SIX Aragon Tour- Photo by Patrick Gray.

It’s LOUD (the show AND the drama students behind us). If you are a noise-sensitive person, I don’t recommend it.

It’s UNCONVENTIONAL. This may not be your show if you are more into Les Mis or Phantom of the Opera. It’s more rock concert, less sit quietly and listen to dialogue and lyrics.

It’s visually STUNNING. The costumes, set design, lighting and production value was top notch!

It’s out loud, FEMINISM. If that’s not for you, you do you boo.

Will I go to another musical in the next 20 years? Maybe, maybe not, but I am glad I saw this one. And it only took an hour to get back on the freeway to come home. Not bad

[1] Six (musical) – Wikipedia

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  • We saw it last weekend and LOVED it!

    We knew nothing about the show other than the tagline of “six wives of Henry VIII.”
    But not much else.
    The entire production was fantastic. The lights, the costume, the staging, the set, the SINGING!
    And what a great twist at the end! It was indeed necessary to have that summary and then the acknowledgment of what the show was *really* about!
    Loved every moment – but next time I will have to bring my earplugs as my ears were ringing well into the night after the show was over!

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