GEORGE DRANCE has performed and directed in over twenty countries on five continents. New York credits include The Public Theatre/New York Shakespeare Festival, The Metropolitan Opera, La MaMa’s resident company the Great Jones Rep and Ralph Lee’s Mettawee River Theatre Company. With La MaMa, he has toured throughout Europe and Asia, working on several of Ellen Stewart’s original pieces and performing in the Andrei Serban/Elizabeth Swados’ epic Fragments of a Greek Trilogy. Regional credits include The American Repertory Theatre, The New Rep, ImprovBoston, and The Stonington Opera House. He earned his BA from Marquette University and his MFA from Columbia. He has been a guest artist and lecturer at Columbia University, Cornell University, Loyola University Chicago (Teilhard de Chardin Fellow, Marquette University, Marymount Manhattan College, Hebrew Union College, and Boston College. He has been on the faculty of the Marist International Center in Nairobi, Kenya, at Red Cloud High School in Oglala Lakota Nation. Film credit include Solidarity and
The Light of Eons. Television credits include Oleg the Russian spy on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. He currently serves as Artist-in-residence at Fordham University Lincoln Center.
MARGI SHARP DOUGLAS has performed as a singer and actor in Off-Off Broadway venues such as HERE, PS 122, and the Connelly Theater and regionally at the Orlando UCF Shakespeare Festival and at the Opera House Arts in Stonington, Maine. Favorite roles include Hermione in A Winters Tale, Kate in Taming of the Shrew and Madeline in a new play Freudian Slips. She has worked on plays with director and puppet master Ralph Lee, regional directors Dennis Delaney and Russell Treyz, and internationally acclaimed director Andrei Serban. Margi received her BA from Duke University in Drama and English as well as a Certificate of the Arts for her work in dance and theater. She also holds an MFA from Columbia University in Acting. She is a co-founder and the Producing Director of Magis Theatre Company, which had their Off Broadway debut last year with an adaptation of C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce. She is also a member of Crossing Jamaica Avenue theater company and has performed numerous roles with them such as Edna in Chiori Miyagawa's Awakening, and most recently the Contemporary Woman in Thousand Years Waiting. Certified Alexander practitioner, member ATI, certified Pilates Istructor, owner of The Pilates Garage.
SARA GALASSINI is an Italian interdisciplinary artist and performer, a community project facilitator for The Blue Bus Project and The Trojan Women Project and a certified sound healing practitioner, in NYC for nearly 20 years. Together with award-winning musician/composer Yukio Tsuji she is the co-founder of the Sara Galas Band and has created four original performances: Waves of all times, Origin: a Performance Art Concert, Unmeasurable Picture, REFLECT-I-ON.As a member of The Great Jones Rep, she has performed in the acclaimed production of Trojan Women by Andrei Serban/Elizabeth Swados and in numerous original pieces by the late Ellen Stewart. Other Credits include: One-in-Themselves (La MaMa); The Angels of Swedenborg by Ping Chong & Company (La MaMa); Japan Earthquake & Hurricane Sandy Benefit (Carnegie Hall); 9 Windows, Open Door, Room to Panic, In Retrospect by Loco 7 Dance Pupper Company (La MaMa NYC, London, Italy); Narcissus by Elizabeth Swados (La MaMa); When clowns play Hamlet (La MaMa); Don’t look into the camera (TheaterLab); Hoplite Diary by Tom Lee (La MaMa); Theatricale by Urban Research Theater (Lincoln Center); Love Story, Palestine by Yoshiko Chuma (La MaMa). She is currently working with Kelly Bartnik in Fuck/Love, with Palissimo in En Masse, and she is going to present Pros-(H)er-pere at the Estro Genius Festival in March.
ASHLEY GRIFFIN is the first person in history ever to be nominated for a major award for both playing and directing Hamlet. She is most well known as the creator of the pop culture phenomenon Forever Deadward (New World Stages) and Trial directed by Lori Petty (American Theater of Actors.) She has performed extensively both on and off Broadway (Wicked, Hedda Gabler, Snow) as well as in T.V. and film (most recently in The Greatest Showman with Hugh Jackman and on Homeland.) As a writer her work has been developed on Broadway at Manhattan Theater Club, Playwrights Horizons and La MaMa. www.ashleygriffinofficial.com, Twitter: @ashleyjgriffin, Instagram: @ashleygriffinofficial
LESLIE MALAIKA LEWIS made her performer debut on Sesame Street when she was 6 years old. Her multi-character solo show, Miracle in Rwanda, tells the inspirational story of Immaculée Ilibagiza. Since its world premiere in 2007, Leslie has performed it over 200 times on five continents. She co-stars in the film With Child, available for streaming on Amazon Prime. Playing Wisdom in the Magis production Calderon’s Two Dreams at LaMama Experimental Theatre Club was a highlight of her life. Leslie is a Harvard graduate, has her MFA from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and is a member of The Actors Center. Certified 500 Hour Yoga Instructor
TONY MACHT Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Tony has been performing in theatre and music since he was seven years old. After graduating from Interlochen Arts Academy with majors in acting and jazz piano, New York City was the next stop. In New York, Tony earned a B.A. in theatre performance from Fordham University, where he worked in devising theatre, music directing and good old-fashioned acting. When not performing, Tony can be found rooting for his hometown favorite team the Baltimore Ravens, volunteering at The 52nd Street Project or thinking up creative ways to avoid exercising. Recently he made his television debut on "At Home with Amy Sedaris"
GABRIEL PORTUONDO is a native of Brentwood, Long Island, a graduate of Bucknell University and has an MFA in Acting from Columbia University. A founding member of Magis, Gabriel is also a company trainer. He tours his on- man show, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Urban Aura an original work. Recent credits include: Angelo in Measure for Measure with Shakespeare & Co, Laertes in Hamlet with American Globe Theatre and Edmund in King Lear with the Classical Theatre of Harlem. Recent Film & TV Credits include: American Bomber (Sundance Film Festival 2011), 12 Corazones on Telemundo and Baggage on GSN. Gabriel has also directed the film shorts: The Dark Elf, The Man by the Sea, Tea Time and Wine & Happiness. Other credits include: Oberon, in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Horatio in Hamlet with the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey. Count Orsino in Twelfth Night with Manhattan Repertory Theater. Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Richard III and Macbeth with The Inwood Shakespeare Festival, Javier in When Santo Domingo Isn’t Enough, which won best play in 2006 at the Cherry Lane Theater during the Downtown Urban Theater Festival. Andres in Breaking Walls, also at the Cherry Lane Theater. National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer, fitness instructor at CKO Kickboxing
is a performing artist who grew up in Baltimore, MD. He received his college degree in Visual Arts from UMBC. He also graduated from the Tom Todoroff Conservatory in New York City. His New York credits include Salieri and Smirnov in "Mozart and Salieri & The Bear" (Which he also produced), Harfleur/Grey in Henry V. He has also directed a one-woman show "Detour" through Rising Sun NYC. Regional theater acting credits include Dr. Givings in “In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play”, the Herald in "Agamemnon", Pablo Picasso in “Picasso at the Lapin Agile”. Diego is thrilled to be a member of the Magis Theater Company!
DENNIS VARGAS is a graduate of the Fordham University Theatre Program. He studied with a full scholarship at the Corner Loft Studios founded by Jose Ferrer, Otto Preminger and Elaine Gold and trained there with instructors such as Mark Lenard and Sybil Lines. He has worked with several theatre companies with performances at the Nuyorican Poets Café, LATEA Theater and Around The Block Theater Company to name a few. As a company member of Repertorio Español, Dennis has appeared in their NYC productions and tours of Wild In Wichita/ Locuras En Wichita as well as Boxcar/ Vagón. In recent years he has worked with Inwood Shakepeare Festival and Theatre 2020 in their summer productions of The Tempest as Sebastian and The Merry Wives of Windsor as Dr. Caius. Other favorite Shakespeare plays he performed in are Macbeth at HERE Theater and Twelfth Night in the role of Antonio, directed by Damon Kiely. Dennis performed with UP Theater Company in the critically acclaimed play Ashe by award-winning playwright Ricardo Perez Gonzalez. Television work includes 2 of the Law & Order franchises, as well as soap operas. A short film Dennis did entitled La Casita appeared on PBS in their Reel 13 short film series. His work as a voiceover artist in English/Spanish include one project with Sesame Street for a special DVD project entitled Talk, Listen, Connect. Dennis is a member of AEA, SAG/ AFTRA.
JENNA WYMAN is a a NYC based actress, director and theatre artist. Training includes Fordham University, The London Dramatic Academy, and The Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. Recent work includes Circe the Enchantress in “The Odyssey” with Magis Theatre, Rose/Lucy in “The Recruiting Officer” at the Center at West Park, and Paulina in Fordham’s production of “The Winter’s Tale.”
MALAIKA UWAMAHORO Actress, Poet and Activist, born in Rwanda, and Fordham University graduate in NYC, with a BA in Theatre Studies- Acting. Malaika joins us to take the role of Immaculée Ilibagiza in “Miracle in Rwanda.”US Theatre includes: Our Lady of Kibeho (Signature Theatre), Cartography (The John F. Kennedy Center, D.C), Measure Back (The Dixon Place, NYC), Bishop (Fordham/Primary Stages, NYC), and Africa’s Hope (USC Bovard Theatre, CA). International theatre: Les Os que Craquent (Theatre de Poche, Belgium.) Film:Notre Dames Du Nil (Dir. Atiq Rahimi), Loveless Generation, (Dir. Thomas Petkovski), Un Plain Parfait (Dir. Pascal Chaumeil), Shake Hands with the Devil (Dir. Roger Spottiswoode).
*denotes associate member currently bringing Magis outside the New York area
ERIKA IVERSON has been featured in Magis productions and co-productions as Cecilia in Frances Burney's The Witlings, as Perdita in The Winter's Tale, Fruttarola in Caravaggio Chiaroscuro, and as Pam/Artist Ghost/Bright Spirit in last year’s world premiere of The Great Divorce. Other favorite roles include Elena in Haircut and The Pupil in Ionesco's The Lesson with George Drance, which won first place at the Piatra Neamt Teatrul Tineretului International Theatre Festival in Romania after a successful run at La MaMa E.T.C.. Her solo performance work with the Cosmic Joke Collective has been seen at the Knitting Factory and the Cornelia Street Cafe. Erika is a founding member of Magis and serves as the Director of Development in addition to her role as an actor/trainer. Certified Alexander practitioner.
ELIZABETH LEE MALONE* As an actor and theater artist, she aims to create theater that explores the spiritual, restores dignity, and rejoices in the wonder of being human. She often focuses on stories that bring up questions of faith and ones that highlight those under oppression particularly in the Middle East. She is passionate about story-telling and also using drama as a tool for expression and healing in communities. With Magis she performed in the Off-Broadway production, The Great Divorce, trained with them during her time in NYC, and took on the title role of Shakuntala for the final weekend of our run at La MaMa. She believes in the mission of Magis and is privileged to be an associate artist. Her most recent work was directing original pieces of theater in Palestine with the youth and elderly population in Bethlehem. Member of AEA.
WENDY MAPES* New York Stage credits include Twinkle, Twinkle, Desdeomona: A Play About a Handkerchief, The Parables of Chang Chou, Animal Farm, Murder, The Comedy of Errors, Cowboy Mouth, Uncle Vanya, California Suite, and Our Town. Wendy played the lead in the short films Fear of Falling (Dusty Award Winning Film), Last Summer and Barnyard. She is a graduate of The New Actors Workshop and Antioch University’s MA program in Theatre. Wendy has taught Acting at St. Jean Baptiste High School, and Appel Farm Arts Acacademy.
JOSEPH MCGRANAGHAN* NYC credits include roles with SITI Company, Mabou Mines, Hudson Warehouse, Storm Theatre and Workshop Theatre Company. Regionally: Centerstage, Centenary Stage Company, Lantern Theatre, Clarence Brown Theatre, Asolo Rep, Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre and Pittsburgh City Theatre, among others. Film and TV: The Lucky 6 and Hack My Life.
FRANK MIHELICH* Frank is a founding member of Magis Theatre Company performing in The Winter’s Tale, The Great Divorce, and The Witlings. Frank also served as Company Manager from 2008-2011. Recent directing credits include The Hiding Place, The Spitfire Grill, Twelfth Night, Androcles and the Lion, Our Town and You Can’t Take It With You. Frank has worked as an actor extensively both in NYC and regionally. He has also worked in both commercials and film. Frank has performed for such companies as the Two Rivers Theatre, New Jersey Repertory Company, The Shadowland Theatre, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and the Arizona Repertory Theatre. Frank is the founding Artistic Director of New Threads Theatre Company based in Southern California. He graduated from California Baptist University with a BA in Communication Arts (Theatre) and a BA in Philosophy in 1998, then went on to Columbia University and graduated with his MFA in Acting in 2004. Frank currently lives and works in Southern California where he is an actor, director, and Associate Professor of theatre at California Baptist University. Frank would like to thank Allison, Colton, and Lindy for their love and support. Love God. Love Others.
RACHEL BENBOW MURDY* is an actor/ singer based in NYC. Performer/co-writer in The Millay Sisters Cabaret at Stonington Opera House, Don’t Tell Mama, Abingdon Theater. Co-writer/performer Hamlet Cabaret Joe’s Pub, Don’t Tell Mama. Recently appeared as “The Evil Apothecary” in Romeo and Juliet and Zombies at the New Ohio Theatre. Co-creator/performer Connie’s Avant Garde Restaurant. She has performed at Bushwick Starr, Joe’s Pub, Cleveland Public Theater. Rachel is a co-creator with Diane Paulus’s Company: Project 400 Theater Group The Donkey Show.
SAJEEV PILLAI* started his explorations with theatre in the late summer of 2002 at Northlake Community College in Texas. His first role was that of a tree in Shakespeare's Greatest Hits at Northlake. His inablity to keep still eventually caught on with directors and allowed him to explore 'moving' roles including: Freedom (The Drilling Company), Soccer Mom’s from Hell (TSI Main Stage), The Time of Your Life (St Jeans Players), The Father of the Bride (Artisan Center Theatre, TX), Phantom of the Opera - The Melodrama (Pocket Sandwich Theatre, TX) and Shakuntala with Magis Theatre. Training includes Circle in the Sqaure Theatre School - Summer 2006. He holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering, a major that perhaps couldn't be any further away from the the world of theatre!
THOMAS PIPER* has appeared in numerous Off-Off Broadway productions including Richard 3 (Richard), La MAMA ETC (directed by Andrei Serban); As I Lay Dying, Ohio Theatre; We Killed Kurt Cobain, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Trojan Women, American Studio Theatre; and in Magis productions The Winter’s Tale (Florizel) and The Great Divorce (C.S. Lewis). Regionally, Thomas has appeared in Andrei Serban’s Pericles at American Repertory Theatre; and with other companies such as The Alliance Theatre; Florida Studio Theatre; Theatrical Outfit; Theatre in the Square, , AuroraTheatre; Dad’s Garage Theatre; The Stonington Opera House, and once again Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth , Taming of the Shrew, and Much Ado About Nothing with Piper Theatre Productions (no relation… no kidding). TV and Film: Law and Order: SVU; As The World Turns; Open Book, Vodka Rocks, Doomer Chicks. Thomas has also directed several productions regionally and in New York. As with Magis, he is an Artistic Associate with Dad’s Garage Theatre in Atlanta, GA Thomas is a graduate of Duke University and has a MFA in Acting from Columbia School of the Arts.
ASHLEY SETZLER* is currently a graduate student at NYU pursuing a MA in Educational Theatre. She has been a member of Magis for almost two years. Was last seen as Penny Sycamore in You Can’t Take It With You at California Baptist University. Favorite roles include Pantalone in Androcles and the Lion, Rhonda in Almost, Maine, and Weird Sister in Macbeth. Her talents also include designing in the properties department for Sleep No More NYC.!
TAYLOR VALENTINE* From childrens theatre to summer stock to outdoor shakespeare to regional theatre, Taylor has been seen on all types of stages, all over the country. He has been in NYC since April 2008 and a member of Magis since January 2009, and has been seen as the Clown in Shakuntala, and Chremylus in Occupy Olympus. He truly loves being a Magisian and is so grateful for the opportunity. It may have actually saved his life...!