Cruise mega-ships have always been natural homes for Broadway’s biggest musicals. Jersey Boys, Hairspray, and Mamma Mia have all had runs at sea, but a new development from Norwegian Cruise Line is breaking some notable new ground.
Starting September 1, Norwegian Bliss will feature the musical SIX, a pop-music-infused, concert-style musical about the wives of England’s Henry VIII, according to an announcement today by the cruise line. That’s a full five months before the show is slated to open on Broadway, where it will play the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. This is the first time a Broadway-bound show has debuted at sea before opening in New York City.
While SIX is playing onboard, Bliss will sail from Seattle to Alaska (through September 29), from Los Angeles to Mexico (beginning October 6), and then from New York City to Florida and the Bahamas (beginning November 24). While on-land audiences in Manhattan will have to wait until February to see the show, cruisers departing from Manhattan’s cruise terminal — where Bliss will port — will be able to view the show onboard.
SIX is currently playing on London’s West End, and pre-Broadway engagements are set for Boston, Edmonton, and St. Paul this fall. (It made its North American debut in a limited run in Chicago in May.) Besides Norwegian Bliss, the show will also play on two other Norwegian ships — Breakaway and Getaway, starting in November, 2019 and April, 2020, respectively. SIX’s debuts on the three ships will all take place before the 2020 Tony Awards, when the show’s Broadway run will be eligible for awards.