Why is Broadway’s ‘Six’ so popular with teens and tweens? We asked them.

Divorced, beheaded and dead.

So begins “Six”: a blockbuster musical that reimagines English King Henry VIII’s six wives as members of a girl band.

The show is a girl-power romp told through pop songs, and it marked its 1,000th Broadway performance on Saturday – making it one of the newest hits to open since theaters shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s one of just 10 shows currently running to have reached that milestone. Its staying power has been helped along by its massive fanbase of kids, tweens and teenagers.

Giovanna Hayes, 11, said she has been wanting to the show “forever” and knows all of the songs.

Photo by Bess Adler for Gothamist

Not even the rain could stop fans from waiting in a long line that wrapped from the Lena Horne Theatre and around the block on Saturday.

“I’ve been wanting to see this forever,” said 14-year-old Francesca Hayes, who came from Philadelphia with her aunt, grandmother and sister. All of them wore coordinating “Six” T-shirts.

“I love the wives. I love all the songs,” she said.

Emmy Christiansen, 16, who describes herself as interested in history and musicals, dressed up for the show by wearing all black.

Photo by Bess Adler for Gothamist

First-year high school student Lauren Zoland, who was in line with her friends Laila Elmoselhy and Alice Nicassio, was seeing the show for the second time.

“I just really loved the music and I wanted to come again when I knew the music so I could sing along,” Zoland said.

Freshman Lauren Zoland, Laila Elmoselhy, and Alice Nicassio wait in line to see “Six.”

Photo by Bess Adler for Gothamist

Elmoselhy agreed and said she liked the show’s focuses on telling women’s stories.

“It teaches you about history and it just teaches you about, like, owning your part of your story,” she said.

Mia, 6, waits in line to see “Six.”

Photo by Bess Adler for Gothamist

Sisters Lindsay Lorraine and Kirsten Withers, from Westchester County, were there with their daughters, Grace Lorraine, 8, and Caroline Withers, 7. They’d seen the musical a year ago and decided to bring their children because of its girl-power themes.

“We just love the female empowerment message, the costumes,” Lindsay Lorraine said. “And every single woman can belt like nothing we’ve ever heard before.”

Caroline Withers, 7, and Grace Lorraine, 8, wait in line to see “Six.”

Photo by Bess Adler for Gothamist

The average Broadway theatergoer is around 40 years old, according to the data from the Broadway League, but “Six” is resonating with a much younger crowd.

Katie McAllister is the executive director at Inside Broadway, a nonprofit theater company that’s partnered with “Six” for its annual program to teach New York City public school students about the backstage jobs that make Broadway shows like “Six” possible. She said Inside Broadway specifically chose “Six” for this year’s program because it has young fans.

“It does have a following, especially with teens and tweens,” she said. “For young women, it’s empowering because the queens are rewriting their story, so I think young female identifiers key into that.”

The queens of “Six.”

Courtesy of “Six”

Fans of “Six” are such a force that they have their own name: the Queendom. The show’s popularity is helped by its catchy pop songs and its “Spice Girls-meets-Hamilton” vibe, with historical figures singing songs while decked out in glittery costumes. The show, which clocks in at just 80 minutes and lacks an intermission, is also an appealing option for younger crowds on Broadway, where shows can stretch past the three-hour mark.

Clips of cast members performing the songs have received thousands of views and likes on TikTok. Fans have uploaded videos of themselves attending the show, offering tips on how to get tickets before they sell out, and even explaining how the soundtrack has spilled over into their daily workout routines. There are online quizzes such as Which “Six” queen are you?” And a cottage industry has sprung up on Etsy, selling everything from “ex-wives” candles to “Don’t Lose UR Head” charms. In March, “Six” held its first sing-along show in New York City.

Rasshaun Fraser and Pierce Williamson wait in line to see “Six.”

Photo by Bess Adler for Gothamist

The show’s audience is so engaged that actress Storm Lever, who plays Anne Boleyn, said that instead of trying to forget the audience, she chooses an attendee to be her “collaborator” every night.

“Someone that I can see in the audience that’s just as eager and excited as I am, that I can constantly be referencing back to,” she explained. “Seeing how they react and using their reactions is fantastic because it makes the show different every night.”

Storm Lever plays Anne Boleyn.

Photo by Bess Adler for Gothamist

Lever said she thinks the show is popular with various generations because of the soundtrack and a “message that is so universal in age.” She said she started listening to the music during quarantine.

Marilyn Clopton and Katarina Garcia in the audience.

Photo by Bess Adler for Gothamist

“Six,” which was written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss when they were students at Cambridge University, covers historical figures but isn’t your typical history lesson. The wives sing about the trauma and pain they experience while married to Henry VIII, in hopes that whoever has suffered the most will land the lead role in their girl group.

Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss on stage at the Lyric Theatre in London.

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After a much-hyped run on the West End, “Six” was originally slated to open on Broadway in March 2020, on the same day that Broadway shut down due to the COVID pandemic. It didn’t open until October 2021.

The current cast of queens has been performing since December 2023 and includes Khaila Wilcoxon as Catherine of Aragon, Storm Lever as Anne Boleyn, Jasmine Forsberg as Jane Seymour, Olivia Donalson as Anna of Cleves, Didi Romero as Katherine Howard, and Gabriela Carrillo as Catherine Parr.

Lever, who plays Boleyn, the first of the wives to be beheaded, said the show is presenting the queens’ stories in a new light.

“We don’t get to really see their perspectives throughout history. A lot of the texts on them, the articles on them, the books about them have, they were written to appease the king,” she said. “Now we’re getting to reclaim their stories.”

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