Broadway, of course, is frequently host to London-born productions; the West End revival of Sondheim’s Company — the quintessential Manhattan musical, set on its very streets — is currently a hit at the Jacobs Theatre, after having recently begun previews prior to the theatre shutdown in March 2020.
And the West End hit SIX — now on its third West End address — had completed its previews at the Brooks Atkinson and was preparing for its official premiere on 12 March 2020, when at 5pm that day came the announcement that theatres were being closed with immediate effect. The show’s London PR Kevin Wilson was actually staying in my New York flat at the time and had flown out specially to be there.
It, too, returned last September to resume its run at the Brooks Atkinson, and I finally caught its Broadway incarnation this month. And I made a night of it: since Six runs for just 70 minutes, I was able to hotfoot it from 47th Street to 54th Street immediately after to see Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, its co-authors and creators, in a cabaret at 54 Below.
It made for a fascinatingly diverse evening, proving first of all that they are no one-hit show wonders, but that they have a number of other ones already in development. They presented a dozen songs from various projects, most notably one they were not being paid to write but were writing on spec from which much of the cabaret’s material was drawn.
A bit like a scratch night or backers’ audition, the biggest discovery for me was that Marlow and Moss diverted so far away from Six’s signature pop pastiche tributes. Seeing Six again earlier that night in a packed Broadway house, that concert-like show plays a bit like a jukebox musical, not least because the audience is so full of fans who already seem to know most of the score. But at 54 Below we were hearing brand-new songs with fresh ears; I really can’t wait for their next show now to reach the stage.
Live from New York: @ShentonStage hotfoots from @SixBroadway to catch its creators @marlowandmoss trying out new material in their @54Below cabaret. One-hit wonders, these two are not. #Broadway #WestEnd #Six #SixTheMusical #musicaltheatre