Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Chicago

CIBC Theatre
Review by John Olson

Also see John's review of Good Night, Oscar

Jasmine Forsberg, Didi Romero, Khaila Wilcoxon,
Storm Lever, Olivia Donalson, and Gabriella Carillo

Photo by Joan Marcus
Six, the 80-minute British theatre piece (music, lyrics, and book by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss) that had its North American premiere at Chicago Shakespeare Theater in May 2019, has made its way back to Chicago as the opening engagement of its first U.S. tour. In between, there was a pre-Broadway tour in advance of a main stem opening planned for March 12, 2020–the day all Broadway theatres shut down for the COVID-19 pandemic. The show reopened on Broadway to great acclaim in October 2021, so in light of all that has happened to it over the past two years, its return to Chicago can certainly be termed "triumphal." The cast that initially charmed Chicago audiences in 2020 with its reimagining of the six wives of Henry VIII is still on Broadway with the show, but the touring cast the producers have assembled is as confident and entertaining as one could hope for.

The conceit of the show is that the wives have apparently been reborn as pop singers and are on tour all together in today's world, with a bit of audience interaction as the the crowd is asked to decide which of them was treated the worst by Henry. They're led, in a sense, by the powerful and charismatic Khaila Wilcoxon, a veteran of Hadestown on Broadway, as Catherine of Aragon. (Her role is not so much a "leading role," but she is sort of the "leadoff batter"–the first to tell her story of her mistreatment by King Henry VIII.) There's more to her performance than that "luck of the draw" in going first–she somehow remains the focus of attention whenever the full cast is doing their ensemble numbers. Storm Lever of Broadway's Summer is a seductive Anne Boleyn, with a subtlety that is a nice contrast to Wilcoxon's Aragon. Jasmine Forsberg makes her national tour debut here as Jane Seymour–"the only one Henry truly loved"–and makes us clearly feel her character knows of her special status among the six.

Olivia Donalson, who has appeared in Aladdin both on Broadway and in its first national tour, is Anna of Cleves, the comically befuddled Queen trying to make sense of her strange and short-lived involvement with Henry. Didi Romero is a feisty Katherine Howard, the fifth queen whose independence caused her to be (along with Boleyn) the second of Henry's wives to be beheaded. Chicago native Gabriela Carrillo is a passionate Catherine Parr, his last wife, who was still on the throne when Henry died but deeply loved another man.

The six performers are all polished–delivering the clever lines with spot-on timing as directed by Moss and Jamie Armitage. The choreography by Carrie-Anne Ingrouille consists of fairly standard rock-concert moves, performed largely in unison by the six, but it is executed expertly and matches the flash glam rock costumes by Gabriella Slade and the always surprisingly stunning lighting design by Tim Deiling. Though the music is amplified to a significant degree, it is not ear-piercing and the witty lyrics are generally easy to understand.

Six is not precisely a musical–it would be more accurate to call it a theater piece or song cycle–but it is a lot of fun and at 80 minutes with no intermission it's just long enough to be what it is without wearing out its welcome.

Six runs through July 3, 2022, at CIBC Theatre, 18 W. Monroe, Chicago IL. For tickets and information, please visit For more information on the tour, visit