Understudies Episode 1 – Meet Astoria Bagg

Actress Astoria Bagg lands the role of her lifetime.
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The Cast

Plays: Astoria Bagg-Buggett, female understudy

Elisabeth Gray made her Broadway debut two years ago in Breakfast at Tiffany’s; she understudied Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke, played a collection of one-line characters and started work on this web series. Gray has performed on professional stages from California to England, New York City to Japan, winning international acclaim for her one-woman performance Wish I Had a Sylvia Plath. On film, Gray has recently appeared in the Oscar and BAFTA-nominated The Voorman Problem, and SXSW- selected Big Significant Things, and on TV in Showtime’s The Affair and ABC’s Forever. When not acting or writing, she serves as Artistic Director of the multidisciplinary arts non-profit New Umbrella.

If Elisabeth Gray could understudy anyone, she would understudy Katharine Hepburn.

Plays: Clark Nugent, Astoria’s Agent

Neil is a New York-based actor and writer, and is a recent graduate of Columbia University’s MFA Acting Program. His theatre credits include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth (Classic Stage Company), Family (Pershing Square Signature Center Studio) as well as workshops at New York Theatre Workshop, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre and Women’s Project Theatre. Neil has also voiced campaigns for ExxonMobil and Ford.

If Neil could understudy anybody, he would understudy Judi Dench (in her everyday life).

Plays: Adrian Noshy, male understudy

Aaron Costa Ganis will be seen running with a gun(s) in the upcoming international action feature bonanza “Blood, Sand, and Gold,” standing with a gun in the indie hit ‘Straight Outta Tompkins’ with Whoopi Goldberg, and he can be found walking slowly with a gun in “Price For Freedom” alongside Homeland’s Navid Negahban. Aaron will be guest starring (and likely holding guns) on the TV this season in American Odyssey (NBC), Odd Mom Out (Bravo), and the new Marvel series A.K.A. Jessica Jones (Netflix). He’s also performed theatrically in New York and around the world and was selected as Huff Po’s Top 10 Performances for last year’s “Mnemonist of Dutchess County” which premiered Off Broadway. MFA: NYU Graduate Acting Program.

If Aaron could understudy anyone, he would understudy Christian Borle’s arms. He’s seen them in the flesh and they deserve their own understudy.

Abdiel Vivancos (Dean Marsh)

Henry Packer (Chip Smith)

Jessica van Campen (Bev Treacle, AEA LGBT Officer)

Plays: Betty Buggett, Astoria’s mother

Ms. Fraser is a two time Tony Award nominee for “The Secret Garden” and  “Romance/Romance”.  Also on Broadway, she was Dorine in “Tartuffe; Born Again”, Helena in “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”, and most recently, Tessie Tura in Arthur Laurents’ acclaimed production of Gypsy starring Patti Lupone. She co-starred with Nathan Lane and Marion Seldes in the world premiere of Terrence McNally’s “Dedication, or the Stuff of Dreams”. Other Off Broadway roles Alison has created include Arsinoé in  “The School For Lies, Sister Walburga in “The Divine Sister”, and “Trina in “March of the Falsettos” and “In Trousers”.   Film and TV credits include “Happyish”, “Smash”,  “It Could Be Worse”,  “Between the Lions”, “Law & Order: SVU”, and, “The Thing About My Folks” opposite Peter Falk and Paul Reiser. She has be heard on thousands of radio and television commercials, “Grand Theft Auto 3 and 5, and innumerable audiobooks.

If Alison Fraser could understudy anybody, she would understudy Ethel Merman, because she never missed a show.  Alison would be a terrible understudy.

Plays: Dr. Eric Fried, Astoria’s therapist

Jesse Liebman is an actor and writer, born, raised, and still living in NYC. He made his film debut in Did You Hear About The Morgans?, in which he co-starred with Hugh Grant, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Elisabeth Moss. He is also a lead in the HBO/Cinemax series The Girl’s Guide To Depravity and can be seen in NBC’s Taxi Brooklyn and in the movie Percentage. He recently toured North America with Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story On Stage, in which he played Neil Kellerman. Through his theater ensemble, HedgeHog * Theater Project, he is currently developing a one-man show, FRANK, and an adaptation of Aeschylus’ Oresteia, called Mass Mass Mass. Jesse studied at The New Actor’s Workshop with George Morrison and Mike Nichols and currently studies with Michael Howard.

If he could understudy anybody, he would understudy David Bowie in Labyrinth.

Plays: Veronica Chassee, Leading Lady

Virginia Thomas Gray’s path to the internet screen began on the catwalks of Paris and Milan as a teenager. Sadly, her career was cut short by an embarrassing backstage fall and broken limb at a lingerie show in Paris, after which she earned a BA and MA in International Business and German from the University of Edinburgh and the Economics University of Vienna. Since then, she has embarked on her life’s work as a Jill-of-all-Trades: actress, cowgirl, writer, and entrepreneur. She is currently developing a digital magazine, The Brandy Alexander, set to launch Summer 2015.

If Virginia could understudy anybody, she would understudy Ewan McGregor… just to be close..

Lauren Ford (Lilah Biggins, Actors Equity Rep)

Dan Hodapp (Matty, Set Designer)

Domenica Yasmina (Costume Designer)

Plays: Knut Balke, Twilight at Tiffany’s director

Henning has been working as an actor and director since 1997 in New York and Europe.  As an actor Henning has been featured in various independent films as well as TV shows on Discovery Channel and National Geographic.  He was recently Swedenborg in Ping Chong’s production of Angels of Swedenborg in a revival of the BAM production.  As a director his work has been presented from Alaska’s Perseverance Theater in Juneau to New York’s Theater Row to the UK.  Henning has an MFA in directing from Columbia University where he trained under the tutelage of Anne Bogart and Brian Kulick.  He holds an MA in devised theatre from Dartington College of Arts in Devon, England, and a BA in theatre from Middlebury College in Vermont.  He is a founder and Artistic Director of the Scandinavian American Theater Company (SATC) in NYC.  Henning is an associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Guild and a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab.

If Henning could understudy anyone, he would understudy Tilda Swinton — and learn how to be larger than life itself.

Plays: Darren Peeklay, Astoria’s Manager

David has been a teacher of Latin and French, an advertising exec in the Mad Men era, and a magazine editor. He is a graduate of Oberlin College, Oxford University, and London Business School. David has precious little experience with actors and had never managed anyone’s career before Astoria’s.

If David could understudy anybody, it would be Maggie Smith in “The Prime of Miss Jean Brody.”

Plays: Craig Fogg

Austin is an actor, writer, and host of the Broken Legs Podcast (www.BrokenLe.gs). Favorite stage productions in NYC include Electra in a One-Piece (Wild Project), Intimacy Idiot (Ars Nova), The Blue Balloon(NYTW), and I Am A Moon (3LD). He can be seen as a lead in the indie features Before, Struck, and Consumers, and has shot on dozens of shorts and commercials.

If Austin could understudy anybody, he would understudy Nicolas Cage in a musical about the life of Nicolas Cage.

Clem McIntosh (Shep Daly, Rabie the Werewolf) 

Michelle Miller (Business Investor)

Jack Noble (Dudley Bonaparte, Pleasure Seeker)