1, 2, 3, 4, 5… SIX!

GHHS Drama Department puts on a second musical this year
1, 2, 3, 4, 5... SIX!

In a turn of events, the Gig Harbor High School drama department has decided to put together an extra production this year! “SIX the Musical” is a musical interpretation of the six wives of Henry VIII. The casting for the show was carefully thought out and selected by director Tia Weniger. “I’m really excited because I get to work with so many talented peers,” explained Megan Long (10) who’s playing Catherine Parr. The cast list includes many returning actresses from previous shows, but also includes newcomer Lydia Ward (12), making her debut at Gig Harbor in musical theater as Jane Seymour. “It is a very high-energy and fun show. I am so beyond excited and grateful to be in “SIX.” Being an athlete and never doing anything like this in my life has been an extremely huge growing experience for me. The cast and people in the drama program have been super welcoming, which has made the experience even more enjoyable. I am learning to get out of my comfort zone, and even though I am extremely terrified for opening night, I am also ecstatic because I know God will help get me through it,” Ward said.

Henry VIII was a tyrannical leader of England from 1509 to 1562 and is most well known for his six marriages, which inspired the musical we have today. The show tells the personal story of each wife of Henry VIII in a modern and witty way, taking many artistic liberties in portraying the historic events. Every single song tells the story of one of his wives and their experience with Henry. It is a great way to educate people on the events of the time while also allowing the audience to watch a fun show. “SIX” covers many topics, from the unattainable beauty standards of women in the 1500s to the pedophilia that would occur during that time. Catherine Parr, who will be played by Ruby Monroe, is an example of this. “‘SIX’ the musical is one of my favorite musicals of all time,” expressed Eleanor Trott (10), who will be playing a lady in waiting, “The characters are all inspired by different historical figures, and some of them are my favorite historical figures. Anne Boleyn [is] my favorite historical figure of all time.” Trott will also play swing for Anne Boleyn, meaning if the lead can’t go on for show night, then Trott will go on in her place. “This is a very hard story about a man who was extremely power hungry and could never be satisfied. It’s extremely sad what the queens went through, so I love that there’s a musical that’s empowering them,” explained Halle Price (12), playing a lady in waiting as well as being a swing for Catherine of Aragon and Anne of Cleves. Price has also been working hard as a student choreographer alongside the show’s other choreographer, Brooklyn Kircher (12). Kircher will play a lady in waiting in addition. “The experience has been great, and I love dancing with my castmates,” she said.

“SIX the Musical” is a comedy following the lives and deaths of these historic women performed in the form of a singing competition. Their respective choreography and songs eventually lead to them questioning the competition and their collective decision to not let their lives be run by Henry. “SIX” was written and composed by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, students at Cambridge University. They were selected by the Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society to write and produce a new musical that would be presented at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2017. The characters of the queens he developed were all based off of pop inspirations Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Adele, Nicki Minaj, Britney Spears and Alicia Keys. “SIX” became widely popular across the world, touring from Norway to South Korea. Several productions were done in Korean, Polish, and Hungarian. “SIX” has also won a Tony Award for Best Original Score.

The director, Tia Weniger, decided to put on the production after the seniors of the drama club had gone to her requesting that they do one more show this year. She stated that the show is great for some of this year’s seniors as they can have one last theater experience before graduating. “GHHS Drama has many talented female performers. SIX is a small cast but is a show of equal parts. Everyone is a lead and everyone is a member of the ensemble. The show features 6 strong female performers and 3 swings covering the story of Henry VIII’s six wives. This show is a strong small showcase of some of the talent in the program,” she said. 

Currently, the actresses are learning their choreography and practicing their various songs at rehearsals, which are held every day. Each actress must learn their own respective song, backup dancing, and harmonies for every song of the show. “My favorite part about this show is the dancing,” remarked Jennica Moomaw (12), who will be playing Anne Boleyn. “The dancing is super fun and we haven’t done a lot of dancing in our past shows.” Moomaw, as well as the other senior actresses, are really enjoying the opportunity to do one more show this year before graduation. Each of the actresses has been working hard to build their characters and discovering the best way to portray each of the women onstage. Kaitlyn McAllister (10), who will play Anne of Cleves, commented, “I actually love Anne of Cleves so much. She outlived all of them and she’s just such a strong female character. She can kinda do anything, so I love her for that.” The swings for the queens are also working just as hard to make the show a great performance.

Tech crew is a huge part of the theatrical endeavor, handling lights, sound, costumes, backstage, and music. Everyone participating is grateful for all the hard work they’ve put into the performance and for the incredible job they’ve done. This show is very tech-heavy, so it relies on the lights, sound, and costume departments to make everything function. “Due to the fact that this musical has a smaller cast, it allows me to expand my skills and explore the tech side of theater by doing lights,” Jane Edgar (10) said. She’s excited to learn these new skills and to help out. In addition to lights and sound, the costume department is working hard on designing and creating their clothing with heavy symbolism embedded in every outfit. Some of these, for example, are the chokers, which are worn by the queens who were beheaded, and the size of the crowns that represent how long each queen was married to Henry. This show presents a wonderful wardrobe and really shows how much the students here are capable of. Martha Shultz (10), who plays Catherine of Aragon praised the costume department, saying, “My costume is super cool, very gold, very blingy. I’m excited for the outcome.”

There are several volunteer adults involved in Gig Harbor High School’s theater department. They are a heavy aspect of this show being possible, as their work keeps the department going. “I have enjoyed being part of the Gig Harbor Theater Department and a support to our director, Tia. The students involved in the program are great and to be able to walk alongside them in their high school theater journey has been a lot of fun,” Marcy Trott reflected. The adult volunteers and boosters have been absolutely vital for “SIX” to be able to take place in terms of support and funding. The drama department is so lucky to have them and grateful for all of their hard work.

There will be 3 shows in total, on May 31st, June 1st, and June 2nd. They will take place in the school auditorium. To purchase tickets, use this link. The theater department will also post the tickets on their Instagram account, @ghhs_theatre. Come for an incredible performance and an amazing experience!