Six the Musical takes its royal procession to Texas. (Photo by Joan Marcus)
Aline Mayagoitia as Katherine Howard. (Photo by Joan Marcus)
Aline Mayagoitia spent her high school theater-nerd years in Austin.
Houston and Dallas should get ready for a royal audience with the queens of Six.
Each of the queens sings their own story. (Photo by Joan Marcus)
It’s good to be the king, but when sitting throne adjacent, some queens have to watch their heads. At least that’s the moral of the story of King Henry VIII and his six marriages. Nearly 500 years later, the hottest show on Broadway is Six: the Musical, which puts the wives center stage to sing their own side of history. With The Six tour making its way to Houston (it opens today, Tuesday, November 8th, at Hobby Center) and then Dallas (for a December 6th through December 25th run), PaperCity talks to Texas-raised actress turned queen Aline Mayagoitia about this unlikely musical that’s turned English history into a Tony Award-winning glam pop sensation.
For those unfamiliar with Six, don’t expect a period costume drama. The shows creators Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss stage history as a glitzy pop concert with a feminist twist, fashioning all six wives as 21st century music queens. Think Beyonce, Adele, Nicki Minaj and Alicia Keys.
The musical begins as a kind of twisted contest among the women to see who had the worst marriage to Henry and that woman gets to lead the group.
“It’s really about the competition and tension between these women which later gets subverted in a really smart way,” Mayagoitia says.
Mayagroitia’s character Katherine Howard certainly has a place in the running for most tragic queen.
While many people know the drama of second wife Anne Boleyn’s life and beheading, American audiences might not know much about his fifth wife Howard. The youngest of the wives, she married Henry in her late teens and didn’t last even two years before Henry had her executed for adultery.
“She’s been kind of lost to history, which I think offered our writers an opportunity,” Mayagoitia says. This allowed the creators of Six: the Musical to fill in some of the stories and the actors a chance to bring their own interpretations to the roles.
“There’s a lot of things we don’t know about these women that we have to fill the gaps with our own experience as women,” Mayagoitia notes.
The show’s creators modeled Katherine Howard’s pony-tailed crown and playfulness on Ariana Grande, but Britney Spears was likely their biggest inspiration. Mayagoitia sees both Katherine and Britney as “Someone who was sexualized from a young age and exploited from a young age and wasn’t necessarily aware of how she was perceived until it was too late and the world had destroyed her.”
Each of the queens have one song to fully tell their own side of the story. Howard’s “All You Wanna Do” comes later in the show, but Mayagoitia says it changes the dynamic between the queens. Howard’s song also somewhat mirrors a different musical period in Britney Spears’ life. The first section recalls “Hit Me Baby One More Time,” when “She’s super young, super sexualized, playing into this baby fantasy.”
For Mayagoitia, the second chorus of Howard’s song recalls Britney’s “Slave for You” with her attitude of “I’m in control. I know what I’m doing. I’m not a little girl anymore,” though she’s still a very young woman.
“With women that is the currency they had, and with pop stars that is the currency they have,” Mayagoitia says of Howard’s early sexualization.
When “All You Wanna Do” gets to the marriage to Henry, Mayagoitia sees that somewhat like Britney Spears’ years bound by the conservatorship. Though Howard snarks and holds her own with the other queens, by the end of the song, she recalls how every (much older) man has betrayed her. The vulnerable and very young woman reveals herself.
“She thinks there are zero people in the world that want anything from her that is not sex,” Mayagoitia tells PaperCity. “Then she gets beheaded for crimes other people committed onto her when she was a child.”
The Real Story Of a Six: the Musical Queen
In her own life, Mayagoitia certainly had a much healthier experiences in the stage spotlight. Born in Mexico, she spent her formative high school theater nerd years in Austin. Her parents were in the theater and film industry in Mexico, so they supported her own love for the performing arts.
“They said if you really love this, we will take you to all the training you want to really learn the craft,” Mayagoitia says. “They gave me all the tools to learn the art form and love it for what it really is before the fame and money and all that stuff
“I’m really grateful because now that I’m getting cool jobs like Six, it does feel more earned and sustainable to me.”
Mayagoitia laughs that she was probably enrolled in every Austin performance art program for kids at one time or another, even recounting playing Sally Bowles in a kid-friendly production of Cabaret when she was 12.
“It’s Austin so we just do crazy things and the parent say, ‘Yes,’ ” she says.
While still in high school, Mayagoitia won her first professional acting jobs in the Zach Theatre productions of Spring Awakening and Ragtime. She believes growing up in Texas gave her the foundation she needed for a stage career.
“I just feel so lucky that I got such exposure to world class actors, crew and directors when I was so young,” she says.
Mayagoitia’s parents now live in Houston and will definitely be there applauding her on for the Hobby Center and likely at the Dallas shows too.
They’ll be a part of a very different kind of audience from many Broadway touring shows, as Six has become a phenomenon with both musical theater lovers and the TikTok crowd who championed the musical since its early debut in London.
“The world of the pop concert really comes alive because the audiences are fans,” Mayagoitia says. “We really feel like rock stars.”