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Divorced. Beheaded. Broadway. – The New York Times

For centuries, the wives of England’s King Henry VIII have been remembered largely for the ways their marriages came to an end.

Divorced. Beheaded. Died. Divorced. Beheaded. Survived.

Now comes a pair of young British theater-makers, Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, with a revisionist take on those sorry stories: “Six,” a pop musical in which each woman gets, at least for a few minutes, to reframe her fame.

The show, long on wordplay (“Live in consort!”) and short on running time (80 minutes), is coming to Broadway next year. “Six” will begin performances Feb. 13 and open March 12 at the Brooks Atkinson Theater, produced by Kenny Wax, Wendy and Andy Barnes, George Stiles and Kevin McCollum.

“This is obviously the craziest thing that’s ever happened to us,” Ms. Moss, who is 25, said in an interview. She had never even seen a Broadway show until she visited New York earlier this year; Mr. Marlow, who is 24, had seen a few productions, starting with Cirque du Soleil’s “Paramour,” and came up with the idea for “Six” while daydreaming during a poetry class at Cambridge University.

“Six” is the first new musical with an original score announced for the current Broadway season — the other scheduled musicals include four employing previously published pop songs and one revival. But it is likely that a few other shows with new scores will join the season next spring.

Featuring an all-female cast and an all-female band, “Six” is structured as a singing competition with the women’s miserable marriages as the theme. The show is directed by Ms. Moss and Jamie Armitage.

The songs, which have attracted a youthful fan base via online streaming, are styled after contemporary female artists (Adele, Rihanna, Ariana Grande and others) and the show’s structure was influenced, the writers said, by Beyoncé’s 2011 video album “Live at Roseland: Elements of 4.” The catchy lyrics are packed with allusions to popular culture, from Poison (“Every Tudor Rose has its thorn”) to Beyoncé (“O.K. ladies, let’s get in Reformation”) to “Little Shop of Horrors” (“Stick around and you’ll suddenly see more,” sings the third wife, Jane Seymour).

“Six” is already a hit in London’s West End, and a pre-Broadway North American production is now concluding a sold-out 12-week run at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, where it broke box-office records and was so popular that the theater had to add seating capacity. “‘Six’ blows out the amps with its pop-historical hysteria,” the critic Jesse Green wrote in a New York Times review in which he called the Chicago production “great” and said the show “seems destined to occupy a top spot in the confetti canon.”

Mr. Marlow and Ms. Moss wrote the show, their first collaboration, while they were still undergraduates at Cambridge. They needed a student project to bring to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and decided it should have a famous subject (to get attention) and meaty parts for women (because so many of their female friends were struggling to find meaningful roles in musicals). Cambridge’s musical theater society brought the show to the festival in 2017, where it was discovered by commercial producers.

The writers said they have made only minor adjustments to the show for American audiences. “The pop concert format is such an American format,” Ms. Moss said. “We’ve found that American audiences are more responsive and ready to scream and get on board right away.”

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