One of the most recognizable genres of music, country music has seen its fair share of stars and dynasties throughout its years. Fox’s new musical drama Monarch is out to capture the intrigue of the country music scene. The synopsis that Fox provides is tantalizing:
Reigning King of Country Music Albie Roman, along with his insanely talented — and tough as nails — wife, Queen of Country Music Dottie Cantrell Roman, have created a country music dynasty, but even though the Roman name is synonymous with authenticity, the very foundation of their success is a lie. When their reign as country royalty is put in jeopardy, heir to the crown Nicolette “Nicky” Roman will stop at nothing to protect her family’s legacy, while ensuring her own quest for stardom, alongside her brother Luke and sister Gigi.
The trailer very much confirms the synopsis. With characters oozing secrets, betrayals, fistfights, guns, bright lights, and country music, there’s enough content here for a whole album’s worth of country music lyrics. Importantly, we are introduced to the major players in the series, most of them members of the Roman family. Created by Melissa London Hilfers, the series promises an epic drama with familiar actors and names from the country music scene including starring roles from Susan Sarandon and country singer Trace Adkins. The series premiered on Fox on September 11th, 2022. To get a better understanding of the cast and characters, here’s our Cast and Character Guide for Monarch.
Susan Sarandon as Dottie Cantrell Roman
Dottie Cantrell Roman is a larger-than-life figure, especially in the country music world. She is known as the Queen of Country Music and the matriarch of the Roman family. She is a fighter who is tough as nails, willing to do whatever it takes to make sure her family maintains their status at the head of country music. Now, she is getting ready to step away from the music, but has a few orders of business to attend to before then, including making sure a few family secrets stay hidden.
Playing Dottie Cantrell Roman is Susan Sarandon. Sarandon is a critically acclaimed and prolific actress with a slew of film and television appearances under her belt. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the 1995 film Dead Man Walking, where she plays a nun who comes into contact with an inmate on death row. The role also won her a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress. She won a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her role as Reggie in the legal thriller The Client. Sarandon has had many other iconic roles, including performances in Thelma & Louise, Little Women, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Atlantic City. With her iconic flaming red hair, Sarandon seems the perfect choice for the role of a fiery mother willing to go the extra mile to protect her family’s empire.
Trace Adkins as Albie Roman
Albie Roman is the other half of the Roman country music empire and is known as the King of Country Music. He helped Dottie establish their family at the head of country music and both had a slew of hits in past decades. Now, it seems where Dottie’s popularity is still continuing, Albie’s has been waning. He’s a traditional country man who loves to have a good time, but underneath it is a temper that can leave friends and enemies alike burned.
Those in the country music scene are probably thrilled to see Trace Adkins in this role. Adkins is himself a country music star, most active in the late ’90s and 2000s. He is no stranger to the Billboard country charts having had more than 20 singles and three number-one hits, “(This Ain’t) No Thinkin’ Thing,” “Ladies Love Country Boys,” and “You’re Gonna Miss This.” Although he is better known as a country music star, he has made numerous appearances in film and television including the film The Outsider and the shows King of the Hill and American Dad. He has also appeared as himself on The Voice and Celebrity Apprentice. This role seems like familiar content for Adkins, and it should be exciting to see how his real-world experience lends itself to the role.
Nicolette “Nicky” Roman is the eldest daughter of Albie and Dottie and the heir apparent to the Roman throne. She takes after her mother in a number of ways and is a determined artist ready for success and the spotlight. Like her mother, she is ready to do what needs to be done in order to ensure that she and her family remain in power in the country music scene.
Playing Nicki is English actress Anna Friel. Friel may best be known for her role as Charlotte “Chuck” Charles on ABC’s Pushing Daisies. She is a winner of an International Emmy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the British noir detective series Marcella.
Beth Ditto as Gigi Taylor-Roman
Gigi Taylor-Roman is the younger sister of Nicky and the other daughter of Albie and Dottie. Unlike her sister, Gigi does not feel like she is part of the family. She does not have the conventional good looks of her sister and is a married lesbian in a conservative country music world. She has inherited her parents’ vocal chops, and although she isn’t next in line for the throne, her voice could give her sister a run for her money.
Beth Ditto is an American singer and songwriter. She is known for her work with the indie rock band Gossip and her own work as a solo artist. Outside of music, she has spent time in the fashion industry and published her own memoir Coal to Diamonds: A Memoir. Ditto’s vocal chops, which have been compared to perennial greats like Amy Winehouse and Etta James, could be a key factor in her casting here, and it will be exciting to see how the tension between Beth and her sister Nicky plays a role in the series.
Joshua Sasse as Luke Roman
Although he isn’t a star singer himself, Luke Roman is still involved in the family business as the CEO of Monarch Entertainment. Although he hasn’t always gotten along with his father, he is eager to prove that he can be an asset and not a nuisance. As he learns more about his family’s dark secrets, he has to keep the business running and the shareholders involved happy.
Playing Luke Roman is Joshua Sasse. Sasse is an English actor best known for his work in television. He had main roles in the musical fantasy comedy television series Galavant and in the romantic comedy-drama series No Tomorrow.
Iñigo Pascual as Ace Grayson
Ace Grayson is the adopted son of Nicky Roman. As part of the Roman family, he’s always looked up to the stardom of his grandparents. He is a talented singer who lights up when he’s on stage. His sensitive nature off-stage is another matter. He hopes to one day be a music star like some other members of his family but hasn’t found success yet.
Playing Grayson is Iñigo Pascual. Although is his first stint in Hollywood, Pascual is known for his Filipino television and film roles including the television drama series And I Love You So and the romantic films Crazy Beautiful You and Relaks, It’s Just Pag-ibig. He is also well-recognized in the Philippines’ music scene with his self-titled debut album reaching the #1 spot on the Billboard Philippines chart.
Martha Higareda as Catt Phoenix
Catt Phoenix is a mother with something to fight for and a relationship with the Romans. Although she is trying to get her talented daughter Ana signed to Roman’s record label, we soon learn that she has had a mysterious past conflict with Nicky Roman. She represents a wild card, someone who could be trouble for the Romans as they try to keep their seedy past in the shadows.
Martha Higareda takes on the role of Catt Phoenix. Higareda is a Mexican actress known for her roles in Altered Carbon, Amar te Duele, and Street Kings.
Emma Milani as Ana Phoenix
Ana Phoenix is the daughter of Catt Phoenix. She is a teenage girl who quickly gains notoriety on TikTok for her Spanish-language interpretation of Albie Roman’s most famous song. She has an innocent quality, but will the music business and dealing with the Romans and her mother’s grudge against them change her sweet nature?
Emma Milani portrays Ana Phoenix. Milani is known for her roles in the television series Solve and the TV movie Dying to be A Cheerleader.
Recurring Cast & Guest Stars
Monarch has an excellent slate of recurring actors for viewers, including Eva Amurri (That’s My Boy) as Dottie Cantrell Roman, Adam Croasdell (Supernatural) as Clive Grayson, Meagan Holder (Born Again Virgin) as Kayla Taylor-Roman, Derrick Lemmon (The Black Phone) as CMA Elite, Faith Prince (Guys & Dolls) as Nellie Cantrell, Callum Kerr (Four Weddings and a Funeral) as Wade Stellings, and Kevin Cahoon (Glow) as Earl Clark. Some of the biggest names however are the guest stars that were announced would be making an appearance at some point in the series. Some recognizable names from the country music landscape will be making appearances including Shania Twain, Martina McBride, Little Big Town, and Tanya Tucker. For fans of country music, drama, and a celebrity guest appearance, Monarch will be the show to watch.