The Las Vegas Strip gets a brand new production show next week, when the Tony Award-winning “SIX the Musical” debuts at the Venetian in the midst of a dicey time for such projects.
Created by Tony Award-winning Toby Marlow and its co-director, Lucy Moss, “SIX” is an empowering story set to song in which King Henry VIII’s six wives compare notes to see who has suffered the most. The winner gets to lead their girl group — each member of whom is modeled after a real-life pop star, including Adele, Beyoncé, and Ariana Grande.
According to a press release, each singer takes the microphone “to remix five hundred years of historical heartbreak into a euphoric celebration of 21st century girl power!”
On Broadway, “SIX” shattered a weekly box office record at the 1K-seat Lena Horne Theatre (formerly the Brooks Atkinson Theatre). The show grossed $1.65M for eight holiday 2022 performances with an average capacity of 100.2%, according to Broadway World, besting the previous weekly record set by “Waitress” during the week ending January 28, 2018.
It was popular with critics, too, winning 23 awards during its 2021-2022 Broadway run, including Tonys for best original score best cost costume design for a musical.
Success Less Guaranteed Than Ever
“SIX” was announced last fall as a seven-week run in the 600-seat Palazzo Theatre. Though it sounds cynical, one can’t help wonder if at least part of the reason for its truncation wasn’t a hedge against the embarrassment of having to close another production show earlier than expected.
Though entertainment spending has returned to pre-pandemic levels on the Strip, the Broadway-style productions that, along with Cirque du Soleil, defined Las Vegas entertainment from about 2006 — when “Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular” opened at the Venetian — don’t seem to be feeling the post-pandemic comeback.
In fact, they appear to still be struggling due to competition from omnipresent superstar residencies, and from changing entertainment tastes and purchasing habits.
“Awakening,” the new $120M production at the Wynn, is playing to half-full weekend houses. And even celebrated Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda couldn’t keep “Freestyle Love Supreme” open for two months at the Venetian’s 700-seat Summit Showroom last year. In fact, during the last quarter of 2022, five Las Vegas Strip production shows failed to cross the threshold into 2023.
It Already Played Vegas
In addition, “SIX” marks the first production show to find a place on the Las Vegas Strip after performing elsewhere in Las Vegas. From September 20 to October 2, 2022, it ran at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. In other words, of the region’s 2.7M locals, those who wanted to see it the most, probably already did. (Opened in 2012, the 2K-seat Smith Center — located 3 miles from the Strip — was Las Vegas’ first theater designed specifically to accommodate touring versions of Broadway shows.)
The Venetian version will feature the same North American Tour company, too: 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. (The cast also includes Kelsee Kimmel, Erin Ramirez, Cassie Silva, and Kelly Denice Taylor.)
“SIX” will stage eight performances per week, at 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; at 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Saturdays; and at 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Sundays. Tickets, starting at $69.99, are available via VenetianLasVegas.com.
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