The Duchess of LES

The Duchess of LES:
AN AI Musical From Little Ukraine

Step into a time capsule and the story of Simon in the electric era of the 80s. Introducing “The Duchess of LES: AN AI Musical From Little Ukraine.”

It is the home of as many as 60,000 Ukrainian immigrants and their progeny living within a few square blocks of each other—along with the great mosaic of other people from all around the world.  

The play is set in the 1980s in Little Ukraine, NYC, the edgy, grungy side of NY that encapsulates all the broken dreams and grand hopes that make America, America. The Duchess of LES is a story about love, betrayal of the Code, and the power of temptation. Simon, a young breakdancer, falls in love with her psychotic brother’s wife.

From the synth arpeggios to the driving drum beats, the music will transport you back to the 80s.  So put on your leg warmers and your “Members Only” jacket and get ready to laugh and dance to the sounds of the 80s, as imagined by AI. 

Cast & Crew



Marion Stenfort 


Sarah Shah


Stalinada "Stalina" Gurbechenko 

Miss B

Amanda Vazquez

Ms. Torchenko

Allison Brooke Clark 


Romy Turner

Executive Producer

Lori Schwarz


Randy Simon
Lisa Franklyn-Zaidi

Original script and lyrics by

Denis Woychuk


Randy Simon


Dana "Che" Belmond - Musical Director 
Darrell Lawrence - Music Composer
Kyle Williams - AI Programmer/Composer 
Vasco Wellington - Assistant Director
Sarah Shah - Choreographer 
Desiree Conston - Costume Designer 
Nikhil Chirumamilla - Stage Manager
Lytza R. Colon - Set Designer 
Juan Merchan- Light Designer 
Travis Harris - Social Media Director
Lisa Franklyn-Zaidi - Casting Director/Productions Manager 

William Electric Black

q & A

AI is a hot topic. Here are some of the questions the Duchess team has been asked.

We feel that it will give you a better understanding of why we chose to use AI in our production.

Q: Why did you decide to incorporate AI into a production set in the 1980s?

A: The music in Duchess is an homage to all the 80’s artists, embracing hip-hop and rock. Only AI can do that.

Q: Society’s views on AI have changed a lot from the 1980’s to 2023. Does the production view AI through a 1980’s lens or a 2023 viewpoint?

A: Although AI did not exist in the 1980’s, we see a direct parallel between technological innovation in the 80’s and in 2023. In the 80’s, sampling music became a thing. DJs back then took something and remade it into their own sound. AI does the same thing. We are embracing that nuanced viewpoint, and we don’t want to get into the slippery slope of labeling AI as copyright infringement. We see AI as an opportunity to create, not as a limitation on creativity. In the 80’s, many thought graffiti artists were creating a mess and that breakdancers weren’t “real” dancers. Fast forward to now, both are revered art forms. We think AI music will be as well in the near future. We’re on the cutting edge of normalizing its usage.  

Q: How have you incorporated AI as well as music from a composer?
A: Music is expression. We used a composer to understand and identify the specific elements that we wanted to incorporate from a compilation of 80’s music. The composer created the score. We then used AI to create something entirely new, synthesizing the vision of our composer with those of the 80’s artists.

Q: 1980’s music is so specific. How do you use AI to help define this time period and tell the story?

A: 80’s music is a composite of disco, rock and roll, punk rock, rap, and R&B. With AI, you are able to program all of these genres and harmoniously create beats that signify that era while maintaining the integrity of 80’s music. It’s exciting and revolutionary. It’s like having 10-20 composers on one track, each with their distinct style yet perfectly blended to create something original.


All donations are welcomed. 

Donations will be used to bring The Duchess Of LES to a larger audience.

Thank you!

Contact Us

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Kraine Theater
85 E 4th
New York, NY 10003

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