NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The day Broadway went dark was supposed to be opening night for “Six,” a new musical. But the six wives of Henry VIII kept their heads, and on Sept. 17 they were back on stage trying to set their stories straight.
The titular “Six” are King Henry VIII’s six wives, revealing their terror living in the house of Tudor to the tune of a half-millennium later.READ MORE: FDNY Planning Big Anti-COVID Vaccine Mandate Demonstration For Thursday Morning Outside Gracie Mansion
“First of all, it feels like a concert. Can I just say, this show is a beautiful hybrid of a concert and a musical,” performer Adrianna Hicks told CBS2’s Dana Tyler.
This is the third Broadway show for the Texas native and her first time originating a role. She plays King Henry’s first wife, his brother’s widow, Catherine of Aragon.
“I think of her as a graceful warrior. But, he was a jerk,” Hicks said. “It just didn’t turn out well, because they weren’t able to produce a male heir, but still produced an heir nonetheless.”
Each glammed-up queen, from Aragon to Catherine Parr, tries to prove she suffered more in her marriage to the notorious monarch.
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Samantha Pauly portrays Katherine Howard, the king’s fifth wife who he married in 1540.
“Vixen or victim?” Tyler asked.
“Oh, interesting. Yes, definitely victim,” Pauly said. “It’s actually her history of sexual abuse from the time that she was 13 up until she was beheaded at 18 or 19. So she was a victim who was led to believe that everything was actually her fault, but that’s absolutely not true. And you see it, you know, not only with my queen, but all of the other women in the show that are telling these stories. We think we know what they were known for, and now it’s their to say, ‘No, this is actually what happened, and this is why my life with Henry was so awful.'”
Pauly, a Broadway newcomer, sees her liberated queen as full of life, like a pop princess with a potential audience of 1,100.
“There is no fourth wall,” she said. “We are encouraging people to dance and sing along if they know the words, and it fuels us because we’re able to see all of their excitement.”READ MORE: New York State Attorney General Letitia James Reportedly Planning To Announce Run For Governor
Shut down for more than a year, rehearsals for the long-delayed Broadway opening started in August.
Tony-winning producer Kevin McCollum couldn’t resist the London hit written by two 22-year-old Brits.
“In live theatre, youth writing about the world they see is very different than the world I might see now. So I am always thirsty for those shows with new voices and new writers and ushering them into our culture that’s called Broadway,” he said.
Ticketholders are encouraged to arrive early to get in line to show proof of vaccination. Along West 47th Street, fans eager for live theatre respect the rules.
“I just say thank you [for] taking care of themselves and keeping us safe too,” Hicks said.
“The thing about the theater is it’s a communal act. You have to make the choice to come in as strangers and kind of leave as a family, experiencing a story, and that’s what makes it different and that’s why also the public is more than ready,” McCollum said.
From being in a diverse cast to re-telling the queens’ stories in their shining armor, the actresses say “Six” is an empowering story in their lives, too.
“What is that feeling like?” Tyler asked.
“It is an incredible experience because you have the embodiment of all different types of women, from all different backgroudns and colors. What an honor it is to be able to portray this queen and back up the others,” Hicks said. “I literally feel like I’m like a superstar with, and I’m like, ‘No, Adrianna, you’re just Adrianna. You’re just going up there and having fun.'”
“The fact that I am originating a principle role in a Broadway show is not something I ever thought that I would do, so we’re just really, really excited. Really excited to be back,” Pauly said.MORE NEWS: New York City Announces $111 Million Project To Improve Appearance Of NYCHA Buildings
“Six” is now running at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.