Chicago—Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces today the Queens of the critically acclaimed new musical SIX, written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, which makes its North American premiere in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare, May 14–June 30, 2019. The six ex-wives of King Henry VIII headline an electrifying pop-concert spectacle—flipping the narrative on the one-sided story from our history books. After its runaway debut at Edinburgh Festival Fringe and a sold-out UK tour, the musical phenomenon is now taking London by storm with an open-ended run on the West End, now nominated for five Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical.
Directed by Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage, the Chicago Shakespeare production will feature Adrianna Hicks (Aragon), Andrea Macasaet (Boleyn), Abby Mueller (Seymour), Brittney Mack (Cleves), Samantha Pauly (Howard), and Anna Uzele (Parr). Nicole Kyoung-Mi Lambert and Mallory Maedke have been cast as the Alternate Queens.
Best remembered by the popular rhyme, “divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived,” the Queens now take control of the mic to reclaim their identities beyond the shadow of their infamous spouse—remixing five hundred years of historical heartbreak into an exuberant celebration of twenty-first-century empowerment. Backed by an all-woman band the “Ladies in Waiting,” the score traverses the spectrum of modern-day pop with a soundtrack that has charged up the global music charts.
Adrianna Hicks portrays Catherine of Aragon, the tenacious queen leading the way who rebuffs Henry’s attempts to send her to a nunnery with the feminist dance anthem “No Way.” Hicks made her Broadway debut in the Tony Award-winning revival of The Color Purple, and went on to star as Celie in the production’s highly acclaimed National Tour. In addition to appearing in Broadway’s Aladdin, she has toured internationally throughout Europe in productions of Sister Act, Legally Blonde, and Dirty Dancing.
Portraying the flirty and fun-loving Anne Boleyn with her cheeky pop melody “Don’t Lose Ur Head” is Andrea Macasaet. A graduate of the prestigious Canadian College of Performing Arts, Macasaet has been seen frequently onstage at the Winnipeg Studio Theatre in memorable roles, including Heather Duke in Heathers the Musical, Christmas Eve in Avenue Q, and Marcy Park in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. She also starred as Kim in the Victoria Operatic Society’s production of Miss Saigon.
As the soulful Jane Seymour—”the only one he truly loved”—with the heart-wrenching torch song “Heart of Stone” is Abby Mueller. Direct from starring in the Broadway and original National Tour productions of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and Broadway’s Kinky Boots, Mueller returns to Chicago Shakespeare, where she notably appeared in the world premiere musical The Three Musketeers. Her off-Broadway credits include the developmental workshop performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock at Gramercy Theatre, and A Minister’s Wife at Lincoln Center Theater.
Brittney Mack is the hip-hop powerhouse Anna of Cleves who, after being rejected because of the King’s unrealistic beauty standards, reaps the spoils of her newfound liberation in “Get Down.” A native of Chicago’s South Side, Mack is a veteran of the National Tour of Memphis and the off-Broadway production Black Nativity Now. She has also appeared as a featured dancer on FOX’s hit series Empire.
Samantha Pauly appears as the feisty Katherine Howard, who nevertheless persists despite a challenging past of being used and abused by men in power in “All You Wanna Do.” Memorable Chicago performances include Eva Perón in Evita and Betsy Nolan in Honeymoon in Vegas at Marriott Theatre, as well as Jovie in Elf the Musical and Amber von Tussle in Hairspray! at Paramount Theatre.
Rounding out the sextet of Queens is the fiercely independent Catherine Parr, portrayed by Anna Uzele—with her show-stopping power anthem, “I Don’t Need Your Love.” Uzele recently debuted on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning revival of Once on this Island as Andrea Devereaux. Regionally, she has appeared off Broadway in The Holes in Human Flesh, and in multiple productions with Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma.
Joining the Queens as Alternates, each covering multiple roles, are Nicole Kyoung-Mi Lambert and Mallory Maedke. Lambert is currently appearing as Crystal in Mercury Theater’s Little Shop of Horrors. She has also performed in Porchlight Theater productions of Memphis and In the Heights, as well as Marriott Theatre’s Seussical. Maedke has been making her mark in musicals on Chicago stages, including most recently in Paramount Theater’s Legally Blonde, The Little Mermaid, Mamma Mia, and Hairspray!, as well as in the Jeff Award-nominated company of Hair at Mercury Theater.
The “Ladies in Waiting” are Julia Schade Armstrong (Keyboard/Conductor/Assistant Music Director), Kimi Hayes (Guitars), Stacy McMichael (Electric Bass), and Sarah Allen (Drums).
Presented by Chicago Shakespeare Theater by arrangement with Kenny Wax, Global Musicals, George Stiles & Kevin McCollum, SIX boasts an impressive multi-national creative team. Directors Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage and the original creative team are joined by Jeff Award-winning Music Director Roberta Duchak, as well as Assistant Director Megan E. Farley. The Yard is transformed into a rocking pop concert venue by Scenic Designer Emma Bailey, Costume Designer Gabriella Slade, Sound Designer Paul Gatehouse, and Lighting Designer Tim Deiling. The score features orchestrations by Tom Curran and vocal arrangements by Joe Beighton. SIX features original choreography by Carrie-Anne Ingrouille, in addition to the work of Associate Choreographer Melody Sinclair and Assistant Choreographer Dionna PridGeon.
SIX will be presented in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare, May 14–June 30, 2019. Single tickets ($32–$55) are on sale now. Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. For more information, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website at www.chicagoshakes.com.
CST strives to make its facility and performances accessible to all patrons through its Access Shakespeare programs. Accessible performances for SIX include:
- ASL Duo-interpretation – Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 7:45 p.m.
- Open-captioning – Thursday, June 20, 2019 at 7:45 p.m.
- Audio-description – Sunday, June 16, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. (optional Touch Tour begins at 1:00 p.m.)
ABOUT CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, Chicago Shakespeare has redefined what a great American Shakespeare theater can be—a company that defies theatrical category. This Regional Tony Award-winning theater’s year-round season features as many as twenty productions and 650 performances—including plays, musicals, world premieres, family programming, and presentations from around the globe. Chicago Shakespeare is the city’s leading presenter of international work, and has toured its own productions across five continents. The Theater’s nationally acclaimed arts in literacy programs support the work of teachers, and bring Shakespeare to life on stage for tens of thousands of students annually. Each summer, the company tours a free professional production to neighborhood parks across Chicago. In 2017 the Theater unveiled The Yard, which, together with the Jentes Family Courtyard Theater and the Thoma Theater Upstairs, positions Chicago Shakespeare as Chicago’s most versatile performing arts center.