Actress Jasmine Forsberg brings Tudor queen and ‘lovable goofball’ Jane Seymour to life in SIX.
By Gino R. Campodónico
The Arsht Center kicks off its new Broadway in Miami season with the electrifying musical phenomenon SIX, written by Tony Award writers Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss. The show’s one-week engagement takes place October 25-30.
In anticipation of the hit musical’s Miami premiere at the Arsht Center, we spoke with Jasmine Forsberg, who plays Jane Seymour in the North American tour. The Orlando native talked about landing the role, what she’s looking forward to doing in Miami and how she channels her inner badass queen on and off the stage.
How would you describe SIX to someone who has never seen the show?
SIX is the story of Henry VIII’s six wives told through the lens of a badass pop girl group. I think that's the tagline I would use to describe it, because it gives you the historical element.
A lot of people when they first see it, they're like, “Oh, history … I don't know if that's for me necessarily.” But then, they hear the words “pop girl group,” [and] they’re like, “Oh, snap. It's a concert! Oh, my goodness gracious, what's happening here? This is so fun!”
I hear this is your North American tour debut. Tell us why you were drawn to audition for the musical.
I graduated from Penn State University last year, so this is really my first big gig out of school. I remember back in 2019 or 2020, pre pandemic, that my school was celebrating gay prom and one of my professors did a drag number from SIX, and I was like, “What is this? I need to know more about it.” So I immediately listened to the soundtrack and was obsessed. But then, the world shut down shortly after. ... During that time, I focused on getting my degree and graduating, given the fact that we were all kind of living in unprecedented times.
So when this audition finally came around after graduation, I knew that it was something that excited me, because the idea of blending pop music with being onstage and traditional musical theater. … I just loved it, and I was so drawn to it.
When I originally auditioned for the show, I was called back for four of the six queens, so it wasn't a given that Jane Seymour was going to be the track that I was going to play. And funny enough, when I go to an audition, I feel like I tend to lead with a bit of a pointed, sassy energy in my material. But me as a human, I wouldn't say that that’s my default attitude.
My default would probably be kind of a goofball silly — just a little dweeb going on. And I think the way that I've approached Jane Seymour is very much the same. Jane is very kindhearted, and she loves her family, and she sometimes is a beat behind the others in terms of getting jokes and stuff like that. But she is such a lovable goofball. So when it came to auditioning for the show, I think that the creative team saw those similarities in us and that’s why ultimately, Jane was the character that was the Cinderella fit for me.
Also, what's beautiful about this show, and our cast specifically, is that we have infused so much of ourselves into these roles. I've gotten to know these ladies over the last six months or so in rehearsals and on tour. I see little bits of ourselves being put into these roles onstage while also knowing at the same time we are fully embodying this queen persona that we're giving onstage every night, too. So it's really, really neat, and it's so much fun to be a part of, for sure.
SIX is a modern retelling of the lives of the six wives of Henry VIII. Why do you think it’s important and relevant to tell this story in 2022?
What's so incredible about this show is that you have six leading ladies sharing the stage with one another. Yes, we get our individual moment to shine. But every minute after that, we are actively supporting the others. It's not every day that you get to see six strong leading ladies acting as ensemble members and supporting each other wholeheartedly onstage. And what's amazing about this cast in particular is that it is so genuine, and I think that happens across the SIX universe in general — the queendom as a whole is like that.
I think one of the most fun elements I find in being a part of SIX is the people that we get to interact with and meet. I'm Filipino-American. I'm mixed race, but I very much present Asian onstage, and I get these young Asian girls coming up to me and seeing that. … They see themselves represented as a leading lady, and not only leading lady, but a badass queen onstage! It's so special, because the six of us are all women of color. It's really special, I think, to be a part of something where everybody gets to be so outspoken and speak their truth. We all get to stand in our light and claim our space.
How do you channel your inner queen on and off the stage?
Somebody came to the show last night and was talking about pop inspirations, and she was trying to nail down who everyone was. She had mentioned to me, “I get Kelly Clarkson vibes from you.” And you know, I had not thought about that, because I was always channeling Adele, because that's how the show was written. Jane Seymour was based on Adele and Sia, but now that someone said I embodied Kelly Clarkson, I was like, “Oh, snap! Game changer.” Just very, very different vibes.
But when it comes to connecting with my character, of course, channeling a badass queen, you gotta have that energy. Those good, old pump-up jams get us in the mood. Everybody in their dressing room respectively listens to the music that hypes them up before the show. But when I think of my character, Jane, I think of my own mom and how important the idea of family has been instilled in me growing up.
I found as I've explored this role that my character ultimately just wanted to have a beautiful family with the king. The two queens prior to Jane were very ambitious, very well educated, and Jane was kind of seen as a simple-minded person. But it is very much enough to want to have a healthy, strong household and a beautiful family. So I often think of my own mother when I get into character. She is the most important person in my life. Sometimes, if I just have a pre-show chat with my mom, that's enough for me to be in the good, love feeling, the family spirit.
SIX is making its Miami premiere at the Arsht Center in October. Why should someone come see the show?
This show is for everyone. It celebrates what you bring to the table, and it teaches you that the individual things that you bring to the table are enough.
You'll also have your hands hurting from clapping so much along with lots of hooting and hollering — it’s a great time! You will leave the show feeling inspired and elevated and hopefully very, very, very happy. That's the goal.
What are some of the things you are looking forward to while you’re in South Florida for almost a month?
We could not be more excited to come to Florida, specifically Miami. Oh, my gosh, all of us are so pumped. The last time I was in South Florida was back in 2015, I believe. I’ve actually been to the Arsht Center and saw Newsies there. That's been one of my only trips to Miami, so I'm looking forward to our week there and just spending time exploring and experiencing all the culture. Miami has been a highlight on our tour stop list for a very long time.
I definitely want to hit up Calle Ocho, specifically to get my Cuban sandwich game on. Also, a lot of us live in New York City now, and Lord knows you can't go to the beach in New York City in October. So I think we truly are so excited to just spend some time lounging and enjoying the beautiful beaches Miami has to offer.
SIX plays the Ziff Ballet Opera House October 25-30. Click here to purchase tickets. The Arsht Center’s 2022-2023 Broadway in Miami season continues January 3-8 with Disney’s Aladdin. View the full season schedule here.