Doris to Darlene

by  Jordan Harrison

Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy  /  4m, 2f

"Doris to Darlene: A Cautionary Valentine is a quirky and enjoyable love letter to music and its seductive power to make us lose ourselves...Harrison's language is by turns so punchy, poetic and observant." NY Daily News

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Doris to Darlene

by  Jordan Harrison

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    4m, 2f
  • Duration


    105 Minutes
  • Accolades


    From Off-Broadway
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

Doris to Darlene, A Cautionary Valentine: In the candy-colored 1960s, biracial schoolgirl Doris is molded into pop star Darlene by a whiz-kid record producer who culls a top-ten hit out of Richard Wagner's "Liebestod." Rewind to the candy-colored 1860s, where Wagner is writing the melody that will become Darlene's hit song. Fast-forward to the not-so-candy-colored present, where a teenager obsesses over Darlene's music - and his music teacher. Three dissonant decades merge into an unlikely harmony in this time-jumping pop fairy tale about the dreams and disasters behind one transcendent song. Jordan Harrison is a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship Recipient

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"Doris to Darlene: A Cautionary Valentine is a quirky and enjoyable love letter to music and its seductive power to make us lose ourselves...Harrison's language is by turns so punchy, poetic and observant." - New York Daily News

"Mr. Harrison's play has an affectionate, music-loving heart." - New York Times

"Doris to Darlene has much going for it: Harrison's intelligence, originality and passion." - Time Out New York

"Harrison's teasing, rapturous chamber opera of a play spins and crackles like a beloved old 78 under a bamboo needle...Doris to Darlene is that rare thing: a rarefied theatrical experiment that has the glow of pure entertainment and the warmth of a folktale." - Newsday


  • Excerpts from Playwrights Horizons' Doris to Darlene
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Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $100 per performance



  • Time Period: Present Day, 1960s, 19th Century
  • Duration: 105 Minutes
  • Additional Features: Play w/ Music
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes, Period Costumes


4m, 2f

DORIS - a girl singer, mixed race, from 16-41
VIC WATTS - a record producer, white from 22 to 47
RICHARD WAGNER - a composer, about 50
LUDWIG II - King of Bavaria, 18
MR. CAMPANI - a dapper teacher, early 40's

Smaller Roles Doubled by the Principals

DORIS'S GRANDMOTHER - played by Mr. Campani
RECEPTIONIST - played by the actress playing Ludwig
MISS LUFTUS - played by Wagner
PROM DATE - played by Ludwig
TALK SHOW HOST - played by Wagner
BILLY ZIMMER - played by Vic Watts
JOURNALISTS 1 & 2 - played by Mr. Campani and the Young Man
STABLE BOY - played by the Young Man
PFORDTEN - played by Doris
PFISTERMEISTER - played by Vic Watts
MAKEUP GIRL - played by Ludwig

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Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast
  • Multicultural casting

Casting Notes

LUDWIG II is to be played by a young woman.

Doris and Vic age more than twenty years over the play, but playwright encourages using actors toward the young end of the spectrum.

All of the principal characters double for smaller roles, listed under character descriptions.



Jordan Harrison

Jordan Harrison was a 2015 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Marjorie Prime. The play had its New York premiere at Playwrights Horizons and its Chicago premiere at Writers Theatre after premiering at the Mark Taper Forum/CTG in Los Angeles. His play Maple and Vine premiered in the 2011 Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Lo ...

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Playwrights Horizons, under Artistic Director Tim Sanford, produced the world premiere of Doris to Darlene in December 2007. The production was directed by Les Waters.

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