The 'Six' Broadway queens on why history needs to be remixed
Welcome to the historemix! Global phenomenon Six is taking the world by storm — from premiering at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to becoming a West End hit to launching a North American tour with stops in Chicago, Cambridge, and St. Paul to finally opening on Broadway.
Written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss while studying at Cambridge University, the musical reclaims the narrative for the king’s wives, casting them as a feminist girl group who belt power ballads about what really happened before they were divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. We caught up with the some of the queens to talk about reclaiming history, their favorite songs in the show, and why the musical has accumulated such a massive following.
What is something you were surprised to learn about your historical alter-ego when you started working on this show?
Andrea Macasaet (Anne Boleyn): Anne wasn’t the one to “chase the king”; he actually chased her. Henry pursued Anne for seven years. He sent her love letters and gifts to prove his love and interest in her. She was a smart woman who knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to play hard to get.
Brittney Mack (Anne of Cleves): There wasn’t much of that surprised me about Anne of Cleves. But one thing that I appreciated learning about was her involvement in the children’s lives of the Queens who came before her and her presents even after she was no longer Queen.
Adrianna Hicks (Catherine of Aragon): So many things! I’m surprised by how saucy, outspoken, yet graceful she has turned out to be. Building up this character has really unleashed a power within me that has been wonderful to explore every night.
Mallory Maedke (Standby): I’ve learned so much about all these queens. Jane Seymour is the only Queen who was given a proper queen’s burial, next to Henry VIII. Anne Boleyn and Henry wrote letters and poems to each other over the seven years they courted each other (while Henry was still married to Catherine of Aragon). Katherine Howard practiced how to lay her head on the block the night before her beheading. Anne and Katherine are first cousins.
Which song in Six other than your own, is your favorite and why?
Maedke: “I Don’t Need Your Love/Remix” — it’s so powerful, an anthem for anyone who stands up for themselves, rising above, and women supporting women!
Brittney Mack: “No Way,” because I enjoy dancing it.
Macasaet: It changes weekly. This week, I love “Heart of Stone.” It’s a beautiful ballad that gives you goosebumps because of the lyrics and INSANE key change that makes you cry.
Courtney Mack (Standby): “I Don’t Need Your Love” — it’s so powerful and I think it’s the most underrated song/queen.
Hicks: I have to say that I really love “Don’t Lose Your Head”! The energy and carefree atmosphere that that song creates really gets me hyped every night.
Why do you think the centuries-old stories in this show are so relatable and identifiable?
Maedke: As women, we all share similar life experiences in a male-controlled world, in the 1500s and now. But today, we have the opportunity to give these silenced women a big voice, power, and unconditional support within this show.
Courtney Mack: I think because not a lot has changed. Obviously, the beheadings have changed but specifically for the song I sing, “All You Wanna Do,” it is still very relevant today. Woman are still being abused and manipulated.
Brittney Mack: Given our country’s political climate right now and mindset towards women, this show [demonstrates] in the stories it chooses to tell how to shine light on those issues and even give some type of resolve.
Hicks: I feel like they are so relatable because each of these queen’s stories reflects aspects of struggles that every woman on this planet has gone through, at one time or another. The way that this show is able to capture the hardships of what women have experienced throughout generations has really helped to usher in a powerful dynamic of change.
Macasaet: The power of girl power and this story is something to truly celebrate. I think it’s important to share with audiences that no matter what gender, height, weight, color, or sexuality you are, we all have the right to be leaders of our own lives and happiness. We are not confined to some expectation that history sets.