DUCHESS! DUCHESS! DUCHESS!
A FILMED PLAY
By Vivian J.O. Barnes
Directed by Weyni Mengesha
Featuring ensemble member Celeste M. Cooper with Sydney Charles
Streaming March 10, 2021
Run time: 35 minutes
A Royal Wedding is looming. The Duchess and The Soon-to-be-Duchess are meeting face-to-face for the first time to go over everything you ever needed to know to become a duchess. There are rules. There’s a way of doing things. Remember, everybody is watching. And you don’t want to know what happens if you step out of line. Duchess! Duchess! Duchess! looks at the hidden costs of being the “luckiest girl in the world.”
Loosely inspired by Meghan Markle and the royal family, Duchess! Duchess! Duchess! uses the monarchy to investigate how society’s institutions of power affect Black women. “The play explores the bigger question of what it means to be a Black woman entering institutions that seem eager to have you but aren't necessarily built to support you, how you start to adapt in order to survive once you're inside of them, and the impact of bringing other people like you along,” shares playwright Vivian J.O. Barnes.
Duchess! Duchess! Duchess! is one of six virtual productions on the Steppenwolf NOW virtual stage. Get access to all six productions with the purchase of a virtual membership for only $75. Discounts available for essential workers, artists, students and teachers. Find more information at steppenwolf.org/now.
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This show is one of six virtual productions on the Steppenwolf NOW virtual stage featuring breakthrough stories written by America’s most talented voices. Get access to ALL SIX productions by purchasing a Steppenwolf NOW virtual membership. Learn more at steppenwolf.org/now.
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Playwright Vivian J.O. Barnes
Director Weyni Mengesha
Sound Design & Original Music Pornchanok Kanchanabanca+
Creative Director Joel Moorman
Director of Photography & Video Editor Lowell Thomas
Hair & Makeup Consultant Trevor Bowen
Artistic Producer JC Clementz
Production Manager Claire Haupt
Casting Director JC Clementz, CSA
Production Stage Manager Laura D. Glenn*
Assistant Production Stage Manager Christine D. Freeburg*
Additional Staff: Martha Wegener (Sound Engineer), Matthew Chapman (Remote Capture Support), Daisy Lindas (Costume Support), Jenny DiLuciano, Jay Tollefsen (Properties Support), Shannon Higgins (Wardrobe Support), David Chu and Captioning Coalition (Captioning) and Bridget Melton (Audio Describer)
Steppenwolf Theatre Company is a constituent of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for nonprofit professional theater.
† denotes a member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble.
* denotes a member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers.
PRESS ARTICLES & REVIEWS
"Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton inspire the new Steppenwolf play ‘Duchess! Duchess! Duchess!’" – Chicago Tribune
"11 Things Our Critics Are Looking Forward to in 2021" – The New York Times
"Inspired by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, a new play ponders race, gender and inclusion" – The Washington Post
"'Duchess! Duchess! Duchess!' premieres on Steppenwolf's virtual stage" – Daily Herald
"Review: Royalty as Horror Show in ‘Duchess! Duchess! Duchess!’" – The New York Times Critic's Pick
"Review: ‘Duchess! Duchess! Duchess!’ by Steppenwolf Theatre seems to travel inside Meghan’s head as she makes a fateful decision" – Chicago Tribune
"Duchess! Duchess! Duchess! review – Meghan inspires explosive drama" – The Guardian
"‘Duchess’ is metaphor for Black women entering establishments not built for them" – Chicago Sun-Times
"Review: ‘Duchess! Duchess! Duchess!’ proves prescient" – Northwest Herald
lead steppenwolf now sponsors
Anne and Don Phillips
premier steppenwolf now sponsor
Robert and Louise Sanborn
grand Production sponsors
Colette Cachey Smithburg and Tom Smithburg
individual production sponsors
Nora Daley and Sean Conroy
Hope Abelson Fund for New Play Development
Nancy L. Wald Production Endowment Fund
Accessibility Services sponsored by John Hart and Carol Prins
This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.