Didi Romero Strives to Inspire a New Generation of Latina Queens with SIX The Musical

Didi Romero’s enthusiasm is palpable even through the Zoom webcast. The moment she joins the call, she is all jokes, chronicling how she had mistakenly prepared for the interview the day prior, and reenacting her surprise and confusion when she saw an unopened zoom link staring back at her from her computer screen. You wouldn’t know that at the time of the interview, the 23-year-old actress had been in isolation because of an unfortunate positive covid test- her energy shone despite the sickness. Don’t let this short pause fool you- she’s had a jam-packed 2022, touring the country with the Aragon Tour of the hit pop musical SIX, a concert retelling of the lives of the six wives of King Henry VIII. 

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Romero moved to New York City to study at AMDA upon graduating from high school. She describes her time at the school’s 2-year conservatory as intense, yet incredibly beneficial, getting to focus the last semester of the program almost entirely on the audition process. One of her biggest pieces of advice for anyone interested in performing is to enjoy the process of auditioning and rehearsing. “Waking up with the adrenaline being like… ‘I have something to do today, I get to sing to these people that I’ve never met before and it’s going to be so much fun.’” It’s clear Romero is passionate about the whole creative process, noting how much she enjoyed the rehearsals leading up to the national tour. 

While most of the rehearsal time was spent practicing the music and choreography of the show, she laughs as she recalls a special acting exercise they performed to get more comfortable as an ensemble. “In rehearsal, we had a workshop on roasting. Megan [the director] gave us a paper with different roasts, and we would pick one and we would go up to somebody and tell them the roast.” They’d then experiment with different deliveries of the roast as part of the rehearsal process. One of the highlights of SIX’s all-female cast is the built-in friend group that has formed. “We always try and do stuff together,” explains Romero. Whether the show stays in one city for a full month, or for shorter, week-long runs, “we always go to like a little bar and we have drinks and we talk about the show. We always have time to hang out.”

Six North American Tour Cast

Romero plays Katherine Howard, the 5th wife of the King, who was shortly married to him until her eventual beheading. Due to her short reign on the throne – she was only queen from 1540 to 1542 – there was not a lot of information to go off of when researching for the role. “It’s interesting to see what people interpret her as because there’s not much evidence of Katherine Howard. It’s…just letters and third person point of view.” Along with historical research, each character has a “Queenspiration,” a singer and performer each queen was modeled after- Katherine Howard’s is based on the likes of pop princesses like Britney Spears and Ariana Grande. She expands on the parallels between Britney and Howard: “[Britney] is a performer. The woman gives everything she has. But the negative aspect is really similar to Kate Howard’s story… this exploitation that they gave her when she was very young… and it wasn’t her fault, it was the other people around her.”

While all the Queens have established singers they base their performances on, Romero took unique inspiration from an unlikely character for her Katherine Howard: Naruto Uzumaki, young ninja and titular character of the hit manga and anime series, Naruto. The parallels between the two characters’ naivetes are clear to her. “Naruto wants to be a Hokage, he wants to be a leader of his clan, but he’s too young and he doesn’t know what to do,” she explains. “His decisions are the wrong ones- he doesn’t know, he’s a kid! He’s very young, but he tries his best. He stands up and does it again.” She has an admiration for anime and voice acting as a whole, recalling a time in college when an acting professor argued that some of the best actors are in cartoons. “If you see an animated movie, they’re so specific! You know exactly what they’re saying and thinking. They’re my inspiration.”

SIX North American Tour

The pop concert concept of SIX can initially puzzle unknowing audience members, who may not be used to seeing a production that not only breaks the fourth wall, but invites the audience into the show entirely. “It’s so fun. The seventh character is the audience” Romero agrees, talking more about the show’s choice to perform to the crowd. “You should see the [reactions of] people that come in… ‘She’s pointing at me? That’s so weird’” she mimics the responses of certain audience members. “They’re so taken aback by it.” 

Much like SIX itself, Romero brings in fans of the show a step further, showing them clips backstage through her TikTok account. Videos have ranged from storytimes, where she’ll recount any funny moments from the tour, to vlogs and makeup tutorials, where she’ll go step by step on how to recreate K. Howard’s dramatic pink eyeshadow. Her videos are normally in Spanish or Spanglish, and she’s never shy to share her heritage on her account- in one video, she can be seen dancing in her Katherine Howard costume while waving a Puerto Rican flag. 

Didi Romero on Tik Tok [@didiromero_8]

Her pride has not gone unnoticed: Romero talks about how Puerto Rican fans of the show have reached out to her. “It fills your heart with so much joy and satisfaction,” she remarks, saying that she especially wants “little girls to feel empowered and feel like they can do that.” Like many Latino actors and theatre lovers, Romero recalls the impact In the Heights had on her, a show she admired while growing up. “This is a show about my culture and about how Latinos work together and about how they are.” Before getting cast in SIX, Romero played Nina in three different productions of the show. She considers her role in SIX as an opportunity to impact a new generation the same way the show influenced her.

SIX runs through October 30th in the Ziff Ballet Opera House at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, with evening shows on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $40-165 and are available here. The show runs for 80 minutes with no intermission. You can find Didi on Instagram and TikTok under the username @didiromero_8).

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