On Stage Extra: ‘Six’ Comes to Kimmel

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times


“SIX” is a musical that has reached legendary status in just a few years.

From March 21 through April 9, the Kimmel Cultural Campus is presenting “SIX” at the Academy of Music as part of its 2022-2023 Broadway series, (Broad and Locust streets, Philadelphia,www.kimmelculturalcampus.org).

“SIX” is a British musical comedy with music, book, and lyrics by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss. It is a modern retelling of the lives of the six wives of Henry VIII, presented in the form of a pop concert. In the show, each of the wives (Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anna of Cleves, Katherine Howard, and Catherine Parr) takes a turn telling her story to see who suffered the most because of Henry VIII.

The musical premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2017, where it was performed by students from Cambridge University. “SIX” premiered on the West End in January 2019, and has since embarked on a UK tour, been produced in Australia at the Sydney Opera House in January 2020, and premiered on Broadway in March 2020.

After the break for the COVID pandemic, it officially opened at the Lena Horne Theatre in October 2021. Now, “SIX” is out on two North American national tours — the “Aragon” and “Boleyn” tours, both of which began in 2022.

“SIX” tells the story of the six wives of Henry VIII in a very different way. At the beginning of the show, the six women argue with one another as they try to claim that they had it worse. But as they listen to their stories, they open their hearts to each other and realize it’s better to stick together.

Marlow and Lucy Moss came up with the idea to create a musical based on Henry VIII’s wives while studying at the University of Cambridge – and then bring the characters to life based on the personas of current pop divas.

Catherine of Aragon, who was Henry VIII’s first wife, was married to Henry VIII from 1509-1523. Their divorce led to the creation of the Church of England. Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez inspired the Catherine of Aragon character.

Anne Boleyn, who was the King’s second wife, was married to him from 1533-1536 when Boleyn was beheaded on accusation of incest and adultery. Avril Lavigne inspired the Anne Boleyn character.

Jane Seymour, the third wife, was only married for one year, but she did provide Henry VIII with his first son, Edward. Jane Seymour died in childbirth. Adele inspired the Jane Seymour character.

Anna of Cleves was Henry VIII’s fourth wife, and they were only married for seven months in the early part of 1540. Rihanna and Nicki Minaj inspired the Anna of Cleves Six character.

Katherine Howard, Henry VIII’s fifth wife, married days after and were wed from July 1540 to February 1542. She was beheaded because of her extramarital affairs. Ariana Grande and Britney Spears inspired the Katherine Howard character.

Catherine Parr, the King’s sixth and final wife, got married in 1543 and stayed together until 1547 when Henry VIII passed away. Alicia Keys inspired the Catherine Parr character.

The show in Philadelphia is the “Boleyn Tour,” which features Gerianne Pérez as Catherine of Aragon; Zan Berube as Anne Boleyn; Amina Faye as Jane Seymour; Terica Marie as Anna of Cleves; Aline Mayagoitia as Katherine Howard; and Sydney Parra as Catherine Parr.

Both Pérez and Mayagoitia have Latin roots.

“I was born in Mexico City,” said Mayagoitia, during a phone interview Wednesday morning from a tour stop in Pittsburgh.

“We moved to Austin, Texas when I was 10. Then, I studied musical theater at the University of Michigan. I was also interested in comedy.

“Mexico City still feels like home. My mom is a theater director in Mexico City and I’m still very connected. I’m still a fan of  UNAM (one f Mexico’s top soccer clubs) along with the rest of my family.”

Pérez said, “I was born in Tampa. I was an Army brat and we lived in Massachusetts, Washington State, Georgia and Kentucky. New York and Florida are the main places I call home.”

For Pérez, it’s also an opportunity to integrate her Puerto Rican heritage into the role – especially with the Jennifer Lopez aspects of the role adding to the Boricua vibe.

“I first heard the ‘SIX’ album in 2019,” said Pérez. “It’s an incredible concept album. The second I heard it, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. It’s a musical like no other. I get to play the role in a very concert style.”

One by one, the queens take the stage in a solo song, each wife channeling a different modern pop act as she makes the case that her trauma was the worst trauma. Even when Six’s song pairings don’t make much historical sense, they can still be fun.

“Catherine of Aragon was his first wife,” said Pérez. “The pressure of her not giving the King a male child fractured their marriage. She was a spectacular woman – very fiery. She was a badass woman. Henry couldn’t outsmart her.”

In this play, all the queens are color-coded.

“I play the King’s second wife, Katherine Howard,” said Mayagoitia. “I’m color-coded and I wear pink. The color is based on the vocals but mainly the vibe.

“The show was written by history students at Cambridge. What my queen is known for is being promiscuous — but she was groomed for it when she was 14.”

The play deals with abuse, feminism, women’s rights and the trials women faced back in the Tudor age. In that respect, it has a lot of similarities to the present time.

“Sometimes, it’s sad that a lot of things women dealt with then are still happening now – assault, harassment, problems in the workplace,” said Mayagoitia.

“It’s 2023 – why are we still putting pregnant women at risk? Looking at these problems is sad but it’s also healing.”

“SIX” is a combination of a high voltage pop music show and an intriguing history lesson.

“It’s incapable to do this show at less than 90 percent,” said Pérez. “With some Broadway shows you can do 70 per cent and it still works — not this show. Everything is high energy. We break the fourth wall.”

Video link for “SIX” – https://youtu.be/Tucw-hVaU3o.

“SIX” will run from March 21 through April 9 at the Academy of Music. Ticket prices start at $35.

If you’re a wine aficionado, you probably think of Dragonette as a top-flight winery from Buellton in California’s Central Coast.

If you’re a fan of electro-pop music, you know Dragonette as a top-flight electronic rock band from Toronto.


Dragonette is the stage name of Canadian singer-songwriter Martina Sorbara. Originally an electronic music band that formed in Toronto in 2005, the band featured Sorbara with drummer Joel Stouffer and Sorbara’s husband Dan Kurtz as bassist and producer.

Dragonette released a self-titled EP in 2005 before being signed to Mercury Records and relocating to London, where they recorded and released their debut studio album, “Galore,” in August 2007. The band followed with “Fixin to Thrill” in 2009 and “Bodyparts” in 2012. Dragonette’s fourth album, “Royal Blues,” was released in late 2016.

They performed as a group until 2016, when both Kurtz and Stouffer left the band, with Sorbara continuing under the Dragonette moniker as a solo act. Dragonette’s fifth album, “Twennies,” (and the first as a solo act) was released in October 2022.

On “Twennies,” Sorbara chose to work with one creative partner for the entire project — Los Angeles-based producer Dan Farber (Dizzee Rascal, Lizzo). The two artists spent several weeks together holed up in Sorbara’s Toronto studio, where they wrote the majority of the record.

“This was the first time I worked with Dan,” said Sorbara, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from her home in Toronto.

“We met a couple years ago at a festival. This was our first session together and I went to his house. We wrote the song ‘Good Intentions.’

“After that, I flew Dan up to Toronto because I had a kid, and it was easier that way.

“I didn’t know I was writing a Dragonette record. We just wrote a bunch more songs. It fleshed out the vibe of the first song we had written. It pivoted from previous Dragonette music.”

Sorbara’s debut solo album was “Unplaceables,” which was released independently in 1998. Her second album, “The Cure for Bad Deeds,” was released independently in 2000. She supported the second album with a national tour, performing on the folk festival circuit and as an opening act for Danny Michel and Sarah Harmer.

“I grew up in a folk music alternative mode,” said Sorbara. “From ages 16-24, I performed by myself on stage with a guitar. I was a singer/songwriter inspired by the music I grew up on.

“Then, I discovered pop music. Then, I got excited to not be a folk singer. I write pop music from not quite a poppy place. It allowed for a more full record.

“The songs on ‘Twennies’ were written during the pandemic. When I’m writing, it’s mostly a melody with word-like shapes. The word shapes tell me the flavor of the emotion. The words tell me.”

“Twennies” displays Sorbara’s success at finding her niche.

According to Sorbara, “It’s a true hybrid of my original influences as a child and what I’ve learned along the way. It feels so representative of my musical journey. It’s my favorite thing I’ve ever done. I’m so proud of it.”

It was different with “Royal Blues” which was the last album Sorbara made before the marriage broke up and Kurtz left the band.

“The ‘Royal Blues’ album was written when we were already broken up,” said Sorbara. “I flew around writing with different people.

“After that record cycle, I had a kid. My son Bralow was born in 2018.

“When the other two left the band, I thought about a new name – or maybe just using my real name. But the name Dragonette just felt powerful. I decided to take that step by myself and not walk away from the thing I had worked so hard for.”

With a career spanning more than 15 years, Dragonette has scored numerous global hits including “Pick Up the Phone,” “Let it Go,” “Tokyo Nights” with Digital Farm Animals and Shaun Frank, “Outlines” with Mike Mago, “Slow Song” with The Knocks, and the chart-topping “Hello” with Martin Solveig, which garnered a JUNO Award win for ‘Dance Recording of the Year’ and returned to the Billboard Dance Charts just last year. Collaborating with the world’s biggest DJs including Martin Garrix, Basement Jaxx, Kaskade, Galantis, and more, Dragonette’s musical diversity knows no bounds, and as a songwriter her credits include Keith Urban, Cyndi Lauper, Pretty Sister, and Carly Rae Jepsen, among others.

Now, Sorbara is embarking on a run of select spring U.S. and Canadian tour dates in support of “Twennies,” which was released via BMG. The tour kicks off on March 22 in Philadelphia.

“We’ve been rehearsing for the live shows and just did a CD release party in Toronto,” said Sorbara. “I’m playing more guitar. It’s a three-piece with a drummer and a bassist who also plays guitar and keys.

“We play songs from all the albums. I’ve played Philly before, but it’s been a while. I’m looking forward to playing there again.”

Video link for Dragonette – https://youtu.be/hBL4qqpH9ug.

The show on March 22 at The Foundry will start at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $25.

Church of Cash

If you’re a working musician with an impressive baritone voice, a strong stage presence, a long career in the business and a love for Johnny Cash’s music since you were young, forming a Johnny Cash tribute band is an easy path to follow.

Jay Ernest, the founding force behind Minneapolis-based Church of Cash, found that path.

Ernest formed Church of Cash in Honolulu in 2010.

On March 19, he will perform live with Church of Cash in a matinee show the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, www.st94.com).

“I’ve been a lifelong touring musician,” said Ernest, during a phone interview last week from a tour stop in Texas last week. “I was based out of Hawaii for four years starting in 2007.

“I was friends with band Go Jimmy Go. Their bass player quit the band, so they wanted me to join and go to Hawaii with them.

“I came into the band as bass player. I also played clubs, did solo gigs. I toured Asia and the United States. I was playing a lot of different types of music – including a lot of Johnny Cash songs.

“I was born and raised a Johnny Cash fan. My dad played his songs and sang them to me since I was a little kid.

“I started Church of Cash in Hawaii in 2010. I played shows for soldiers who were arriving in Hawaii – coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq. Church of Cash was instantly popular with the soldiers.”

After a while, Ernest moved back to his native Minnesota.

“I knew Church of Cash would be successful in Minnesota,” said Ernest. “Also, it gave me the opportunity to do my own music. On March 9, I released ‘Take the Country Back,’ which is my first single under my own name. It was very Johnny Cash influenced.

“I’ve been a lifelong musician. I started as a young kid. I was always a singer – in choirs and in musicals. When I was 13, I got an electric guitar.

“Later, I went to college at Morehead State as a classical singer – a baritone. I focused on German composers like (Franz) Schubert and (Robert) Schumann. But rock and roll was always a part of it. In my senior year, I started a band.”

Now, Ernest’s band is the Church of Cash.

The Church of Cash is true to the music of Johnny Cash – a band dedicated to honoring the legacy of Johnny Cash.

“What I want to accomplish with Church of Cash is onstage. Not only am I playing Johnny Cash music, but I’m also making it entertaining. I want people to have fun.

“Growing up, Johnny Cash was in our heart with family members sharing the music. It’s about bringing back that feeling of community – celebrating life and the music of Johnny Cash.”

Video link for Church of Cash – https://youtu.be/NduMqpSY_sY

The show at the Sellersville Theater on March 19 will start at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $18.50-$39.50.

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