Denee is only 30 years old but has already earned a Tony nomination, in addition to advocating for Peggy's story to be told more accurately on The Gilded Age. Let's learn a bit more about Denée's Gilded Age character Peggy Scott, and Denée's impressive career and what's in the future for the talented actress.
Inside Peggy Scott's journey to journalism on 'The Gilded Age.'
Peggy's family is part of the Black elite class in 1880s America. Her father, Arthur Scott (John Douglas Thompson), owns his own pharmacy, and doesn't approve of Peggy's writing aspirations. Peggy's mother, Dorothy Scott (played by Broadway legend Audra McDonald), is a talented pianist who wants nothing more than for Peggy and Arthur to reconcile over Peggy's dreams.
In real life, Denée's breakout role came in 2016 when she played Natasha Rostova in the Broadway musical Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812. She would be nominated for a Tony award for Best Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Natasha.
Denée Benton played another iconic role on Broadway.
So in a fun Broadway switcheroo, Denée took on the role of Natasha after Phillippa Soo had originated the role off-Broadway. Why? Phillippa had committed to another little Broadway musical called ... Hamilton.
Philippa was nominated for a Tony award for Best Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Eliza Hamilton. After Denée left Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, she went on to play Eliza in the Broadway Hamilton cast from 2018 to 2019.
Before Denée sang her heart out in the two aforementioned musicals, she played Nabulungi in The Book of Mormon on a U.S. national tour and on the West End in London.
So to sum up Denée's career pre–Gilded Age, the woman was basically a queen of Broadway, just like her Gilded Age mother, Audra McDonald.
Denée also spoke up about Peggy's character to The Gilded Age's creative team.
She told Glamour in January 2021 about how grateful she was when her advocacy for Peggy's character was taken seriously, explaining, "I got a real opportunity to speak to the things that I felt were headed in the right direction and the things I felt like needed to change to add more dignity to that character, and to add some more authenticity to her."
The Gilded Age was renewed for a second season, and we have no doubt Denée will return to reprise her role as Peggy.
Denée is also happily married in real life to Carl Lundstedt. The couple were wed in 2020.
New episodes of The Gilded Age air Mondays at 9 p.m. EST on HBO.