By Melissa Griegel . . .
Enjoying a celebrated run on Broadway, SIX: The Musical, turns the lives of the six wives of King Henry VII into a fun concert-like show with the Tudor Queens singing about their marriages to the King and what became of them. The popular refrain “divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived” explains what happened to the Tudor Queens Aragon, Boleyn, Seymour, Cleves, Howard, and Parr. The pop music filled show pokes fun at the King and emphasizes girl power. The band, who is up on stage, is composed solely of female musicians. SIX won 23 awards in the 2021/2022 season including the Tony Award for Best Original Score and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical.
In a year where standbys, swings, and understudies are being celebrated by the Broadway community, it is fitting that the four alternates from the show got to showcase their own talents on stage. Keirsten Nicole Hodgens, Nicole Kyoung-Mi Lambert, Courtney Mack, and Mallory Maedke came together on the 54 stage on August 1st for an evening celebrating women in a different way. The four women each chose songs they felt represented strong women through the lyrics or were sung by powerful women. Some of the songs chosen were “Queenspirations”—songs that they think some of the show’s Queens would relate to if they were alive today. They did not sing any songs from the Broadway musical.
The four women came together on a few songs such as “Royals” (Lorde), “Independent Women Part 1” (Destiny’s Child), and “I’m a Woman” (Peggy Lee, Bette Midler, Reba McEntire, Wynonna Judd, et al). Prior to singing their solos, each performer told a little bit about themselves or explained why they chose the song. They all felt a little uncomfortable with the unscripted banter, but were right at home when they began to sing. Most of the women chose songs by legendary pop and R&B stars, and fell right into their comfort zone performing their songs.
Courtney and Mallory both went to school in Wisconsin and knew each other in college. “We manifested ourselves getting to Broadway together,” they said. Nicole hails from Chicago and Kearsten is from Indianapolis. Some of the women got to be a part of the show in Chicago, before the show moved to New York.
The inspiration for most of the songs, especially the ones with more of an attitude, was Queen Aragon. The crowd favorites included “1+1” (Beyonce), “Walk Away” (Kelly Clarkson), “Toxic” (Britney Spears), and “A Long Walk” (Jill Scott). Keirsten Nicole Hodgens belted out a powerful “Bust Your Windows” (Jazmine Sullivan) with the other three women joining her at the end. Courtney Mack and Mallory Maedke did an interesting duet mash-up of Olivia Rodrigo’s “Good 4 U” and Paramore’s “Misery Business. Nicole Kyoung-Mi Lambert performed Drake and Rihanna’s cover version of “Too Good”, laughing that she was doing a cover of a cover.
The 54 Below room was filled to the brim and everyone seemed to be having a great time. The four alternates were joined on stage by Music Director and pianist Luke Williams, guitarist Kimi Hayes, bassist Le Mortti, and percussionist Elena Bonomo. The show was Produced by Jared Trudeau and Benjamin Nissen, and Associate Produced by Larissa Jiao.
Photos by Melissa Griegel Photography
Featured Photo: Luke Williams, Nicole Kyong,Mi Lambert Keirsten, Nicole Hodgens, Mallory Maedke, Courtney Mack