King Henry VIII of England, the infamous 16th-century tyrant, will finally get what he deserves as his six wives sing their grievances on stages around the world. History has been fascinated with these women but never before has the world heard them fuel their rage in the form of a rock concert. Writers Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, 24- and 25-years-old respectively, have expressed shock and joy at having their show play in theaters on three continents. Set as a rock concert, the ex-queens sing with an all-woman band, recounting their tragic lives with the same greedy husband.
Though their lives have been condensed into a quick rhyme (divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived), their lives were even more interesting than the lines suggest. Katharine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first wife, was a loyal and trustworthy companion who ruled England as regent in Henry’s absence; however, when the King met Anne Boleyn, a clever and independent woman, he was smitten. Anne and Henry had a short marriage during which the new queen convinced Henry to create his own state church. When Henry VIII fell in love with an intelligent and kind young woman, Jane Seymour, he asked his advisors to dig up dirt on his wife; they found rumors which they spun into a treason sentence, leading to Anne’s execution. Henry married Jane, and they were a happy couple, quickly becoming pregnant. Tragically, Jane died soon after giving birth to the future king of England. Henry began a search for a new wife and fell in love with the description of the foreign princess, Anne of Cleves. When the two met, the spark quickly sputtered out. They agreed that Anne was more of a sister, rather than wife, to Henry and she lived a comfortable life in England.
A young teenager arrived at court and caught Henry’s eye: Katherine Howard was pleased to have the attention of the most powerful man in England. However, after the marriage, Katherine’s past came back to haunt her, with rumors circulating about her sexual history. Enraged, Henry had a law enacted which made it treason to have sex with anyone before marrying the King of England. At age fifteen, Katherine was beheaded. Henry then married Katherine Parr, yet another marriage doomed from the start. As Henry sickened, he became more irritable and was in the process of investigating Katherine Parr for treason when he died.
Now, these women are performing in Chicago before moving to Broadway in New York City.
By Amira Pierotti