Adrianna Hicks may be starring as Catherine of Aragon in the upcoming Broadway production of SIX, but rather than suffering the fates of the wives of Henry VIII, she’s thriving.
“It changes my life every single time I get on that stage and perform it, and it brings out another element of myself that I didn’t even know I had — a strength as a woman,” Hicks says about the show, which puts a pop-concert twist on the tales of Henry VIII’s six spouses.
The actress has previously appeared on Broadway in Aladdin and The Color Purple, but she now takes the lead as the first wife of Henry VIII in the Broadway premiere of the British musical sensation. During a recent call with Hicks, she reflected on her love of New York’s diversity, reenacting Beyoncé concerts in her room, and what has audiences hooked on SIX.
1. What inspired you to become an actor?
It’s funny, because I’ve always just been that type of little girl in her room listening to Disney and just singing her heart out, you know? So, that’s just kind of been with me since I came into this world … because I grew up in a family that loved music, especially from my mother’s side. I’ve always been inclined to do some sort of performance, whether it be dancing or singing or acting. And one day I discovered musical theater, and I was like, “Oh! This is what I want to do!” It was just a great incorporation of every single thing that I loved.
2. Who in your field inspires you?
Oh, man. Definitely Audra McDonald. That’s the first name that comes to mind. That woman, she’s a trendsetter, and she has definitely paved the way for a lot of women like myself, to come in and step into roles that a lot of people would say, “No, you can’t play that.” But she said, “No, we actually can.” So, definitely Audra McDonald, she’s my No. 1.
3. What do audiences love about Six?
So many things. Our writers [Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss] have truly made a piece that is for our time, but is also able to relate to every type of person who’s in the audience, from all walks of life. I believe that the audience members really walk away with this sense of empowerment, and a sense of enlightenment as well, especially women. I think it’s so cool to see how people in the audience are crying in the show, they’re laughing, they’re experiencing a concert. A concert experience, too, is something that is very new to the musical-theater canon. But it’s so cool to touch all ranges of the audience members, and I think that’s what brings people to their feet at the end.
What does it mean to you to be able to bring that kind of message and story to Broadway?
It is literally a dream come true. Like I said before, I was that little girl in my room, and as I got older, I used to watch Beyoncé, because I grew up with Destiny’s Child and Beyoncé. I would put on her very first solo concert, which was Live at Wembley, and my cousin and I would just go for days. We’d come home from school and be like “Bye, family,” and close the door and put that on to pretend and be in our own world. For me to be blessed with an experience like that in reality, in front of people, and to experience the dedication that goes behind putting on a costume that looks like you’re a transformer beauty goddess, it’s so, so many great things. I feel truly blessed to be a part of something like that.
4. If you didn’t need to sleep at night, what would you spend your time doing?
That’s a hard question, even though it is a fun question, because I love to sleep. I love that part of rest, you know? But if I didn’t sleep, I love to do a lot of journaling, and just, like, get my life on paper, in a sense. And I love exploring my creative outlets through — it may sound funny, but — through watching Netflix, or watching new pieces. If I could go and watch a Broadway show in the middle of the night, that would be awesome, because it’s just so inspiring to see new shows and new pieces.
5. What do you love the most about living in New York?
My favorite part about living in New York is the beautiful melting pot of people who live here, and just being able to experience every part, a lot of people from different walks of life. And to see how we can all come together in one place, pursuing dreams, chasing after what we believe the meaning of life is. That to me has always brought some sort of special flair to the city.
What is your favorite thing to do in the city?
It’s kind of a hard question for me, because even though I’ve lived in the city off and on for four years, I’ve never really explored it like I want to. But one of the top things that I do love is going to museums. I love museums here in the city, all the different arts and sciences — there’s just so many. And tagging onto what I said before, there’s such a history here with immigration, all types of cultures, and people coming here, that they have museums where you can learn about it. And that has always been a highlight for me here.
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