Trey Shields (Damian Cunningham)
is an artist who trained at Boston University after coming from the small middle American town of Kalispell, Montana. He predominantly practiced the imaginative Chekov style techniques to prepare for roles. Because he comes from a small town, he is interested in how we can make art accessible to people from all areas and socioeconomic status, not just those that live on the densely populated coasts, and that far too often these demographics are neglected and left out of the conversation. He is also a chef and student of modern philosophy, and is interested in how those perspectives can be incorporated into entertainment and used to further challenge and develop art.
Marc Verzatt (Reverend Ian MacDougal)
is an actor, singer, competitive ballroom dancer, stage director, and an acting coach who specializes in opera and music theater. He has directed productions internationally with the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Houston Grand Opera, the Florida Grand Opera, and the opera companies of Fort Worth, Lake George, Madison, Arizona, Toledo, Atlanta, Kansas City, Baltimore, Boise and Jackson. He has served on the faculty the Mannes School of Music, Bard College and Yale University. He is a member of New York’s Shakespeare Without Fear workshop, and appears in several independent films, including Bastion, Backpfeifengesicht, Texas & Alexis, The Life I Knew and The Quarantine Murders. He is a member of PlayZoomers ensemble for whom he has appeared in Good Corporate Citizen, as well as directing Curveball in September of this year and Kill Your Darlings in November. With New York Modern Opera, he has appeared as the Judge in Sweeney Todd and as the Mysterious Man/Narrator in Into the Woods. At the Metropolitan Opera, he was the Major-Domo in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos. He was awarded Classical Singers Magazine Stage Director of the Year in 2006.
Sarah Spagnuolo (Jessa Barclay)
graduated from Adelphi University with her BFA in Theater in 2017. Since then, Sarah has been fortunate to perform in numerous theater productions across the country. Recent credits include Eva St. White (Crooked Saints), Emily (Straight), Fabiana Cunningahm (The Last Days of Judas Iscariot), Inspiration (Porcelain), and Lady Macbeth (Macbeth). Thank you to the fabulous cast and crew, Mom and Dad, Harley, Terry and Jeff, all the essential workers who kept us safe during these uncertain times, and to Anthony for creating such a dynamic and bold piece of theater. Thank you for the opportunity to breathe life into Jessa. Very happy to be transitioning from the Zoom screen to the stage!
Gian Caro (Josh Garcia)
is 20 years old and is excited to be apart of this production and excited to be sharing the stage with a strong group of actors. He recently finished studying at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.
J.J. Miller (President Darren Cunningham/Joshua Cunningham)
recently made his Off-Broadway debut with Lilies, or the Revival of the Romantic Drama. For the past 15 years, he was the Executive Director of the non-profit Brave New Films and produced 5 full-length and dozens of short documentaries. He is thrilled to be part of the One Empire Under God production. Theatre: The Dining Room, Deathtrap, Burn This, All My Sons, The Desperate Hours, The Illusion Film: Moscow Chill, Hollow Gate TV: "General Hospital", "Bagdad Cafe", "Get A Life"
Marcus R. Smith (General River Kalvin)
is incredibly excited to be a part of One Empire, Under God. Smith is known for his role Johnny in the play Johnny which premiered at the Summerfest Theater Festival. He has also played Duke in Women of Manhattan and Dale Jackson in Medal of Honor RAG. Smith originally studied Business before moving to New York to study at T. Schreiber Studio and pursue a career in acting. In his spare time, Smith can be found capturing the world through photography or volunteering as a mentor to inner-city youth. Feel free to connect with him @marcusrs.x or marcusrs.com!
Demonte Thompson (Ensemble)
is originally from Detroit, where he began acting as a young child, and later began writing and filmmaking. He moved to New York in 2018 to study acting and pursue it professionally. He started in theatre and then got more into film. He is very excited for this show as it will be his first live show since COVID!
Michael Paone (Ensemble)
is an emerging New York City-based actor eager to bring his passion for drama out of the studio and into exciting, smart projects. He has loved playing showcase roles from Eddie in David Rabe’s Hurlyburly, Aldo in John Patrick Shanley’s Italian American Reconciliation, Ren in Theresa Rebeck’s The Family of Mann, Henry Harry in Cindy Lou Johnson’s Brilliant Traces, and Jack Lucas in Richard LaGravenese’s film The Fisher King. Michael currently studies at the Deena Levy Theater Studio in New York City and trains voice with the Kristen Linklater Center and on-camera at Anthony Meindl. He also studied playwriting and drama at Playwright’s Horizons. This June, Michael was featured in a studio showcase as Paul from Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Den of Thieves. Recent projects include short films “Cheers to Life” and “Mute” and a live stage reading of the feature film “Cat Mother.”
Sarah Nowik (Ensemble)
is currently studying theatre and media studies at CUNY Hunter college. Favorite credits include The Addams Family, Merrily We Roll Along, Eurydice, and Little Shop of Horrors. She sends a ginormous thank you to Andres and Anthony for giving her a chance when casting the original zoom workshop and an even bigger thank you to her friends and family for their support.
Sabrina Lopez (Ensemble)
is a New York-based actor from California. She is a recent graduate from the American Academy of the Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles in 2019. There she was in Henry V (Henry V/Captain Gower), Heathers (Veronica), and Shape of Things (Evelyn). Throughout the pandemic, she did multiple online productions with Free Royal Theatre Co. including Arms and the Man (Raina) and Enemy of the People (Katherine). She is thrilled to be a part of One Empire Under God and hopes everyone enjoys the show.
Clara Tan (Vice President Zaine Thompson)
An alumna of the LASALLE College of the Arts and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA), Clara has been privileged to train under such luminaries as Ray Virta (Acting), Wendy Sharp (Voice) and Igor Goldin (Musical Theatre). Since graduating from AMDA, Clara has lent her voice to several podcasts, including voicing Finley in Starcrossed, as well as producing and game-mastering Star Trek: Columbia.
Mary Miles (President Armani Bakali)
is excited to make her New York stage debut. An actor from Columbia, SC, she recently graduated from the Stella Adler Studio Professional Conservatory where she appeared in a production of Sweat. Favorite back home credits include Romeo & Juliet, Sylvia and A Bright Room Called Day."
Nicole Sliwinski (Lighting Designer)
is an emerging NYC-based Lighting Designer originally from Newington, CT. Her most recent credits include Welcome to the Imagi*Nation Part 2 (Lighting Designer) and the US Open (Lighting Assistant). She would like to thank all the wonderful people in her life for their constant support and encouragement.
Valeriya Nedviga (Scenic Designer)
Valeriya Nedviga is a third-year M.F.A. candidate in Scenic Design at Indiana University. She designed for Red Tape Theatre and Metropolis Performing Arts Center in Chicago, worked as a technical director for Indiana University Summer Theatre, props master for Richmond Shakespeare Festival, scenic designer for Weathervane Young Artists’ Repertory theatre, and a critic in residence for BorderLight Cleveland International Theatre and Fringe Festival. Valeriya had also worked as Production Assistant for the Ohio State Opera and Lyric Theatre, Production Manager for Westerville Symphony orchestra, as well as personnel manager and Librarian for McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra (OH). Her sound design for Twelfth Night has won Sound Design Award in the Design/Tech Competition at the 2021 SETC Virtual Convention. Valeriya has a Masters in Violin Performance and String Pedagogy from the Ohio State University. Valeriya is from Togliatty, Russia.
Ella Rose (Assistant Director)
is a New York-based actress, writer, and director. She started acting in improvisational theatre and went on to study Shakespeare with Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum performing as Dumain in Love’s Labour’s Lost and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. She is the co-founder of Citizen Change Theatre which specializes in Commedia Dell'arte. With Citizen Change, she co-wrote and starred in Language of the Heart, and What the Frack Happened which premiered in Los Angeles’ Fringe festival. Ella wrote, filmed, and directed the short film Mama and When the Heart Hurts. She is currently working on her first feature-length film. Ella is thrilled to be a part of this production.
Harrison H. Harper (Stage Manager)
is a freelance stage manager from San Diego, California. He has experience being a stagehand, assistant stage manager, and of course, stage management. He's looking to grow his resume and gain some more experience here in New York over the next few years. His favorite color is Forest Blue.
Andrés Gallardo Bustillo (Director)
is a Colombian director, choreographer, and performer based in New York City. Currently, Andrés serves as the Artistic Director at The Phoenix Theatre (PA). He has worked with theatre companies such as Out of the Box Theatrics, Misi Productions, Teatro SEA, Fuego Celta and Play Nice Theatre Company. Andrés is the founder of Cumbres Musical in Colombia, a preprofessional theatre program. He is also part of the founders of C.R.E.A. Collaborate to Reimagine and Evolve the Arts in New York City. As a director, he has worked on numerous theatrical productions both Off-Broadway and Regionally — including theaters such as the Davenport Theatre, the Kraine Theater, and the American Theatre of Actors, among others. His work as a creator has extended to numerous mediums beyond the theatre, including choreography and film direction. Within his acting career, Andrés has performed in various theatrical productions, film pieces, and dance works. Some career highlights include Indio in West Side Story, Peter Pan in Peter/Wendy, and How The Westons Won — he is also a resident company member at Teatro SEA and The Phoenix Theatre. Andrés graduated from Misi School of Musical Theatre and The New York Film Academy’s Musical Theater and Film Professional Conservatory.
Anthony J. Piccione (Writer/Producer)
is an award-winning writer and producer based in New York City. Born in Rochester, NY and raised in Connecticut, Piccione's full-length drama A Therapy Session with Myself premiered in January 2019 at the Hudson Guild Theatre before transferring in May to the Kraine Theater for an extended year-long run. It is now published at Smith Scripts, and is currently being adapted into a screenplay. Additionally, Piccione's eclectic canon of one-acts has previously been presented in NYC at The Tank, the Hudson Guild Theatre, Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, Midtown International Theatre Festival, and Manhattan Repertory Theatre, as well as at regional venues such as Playhouse on Park, Hole in the Wall Theatre, the Windsor Art Center, and Windham Theatre Guild, and are published at Smith Scripts, Heuer Publishing & Off the Wall Plays. His short drama What I Left Behind was named the NYWinterfest’s Best Short Play of 2018, and he was also nominated for Planet Connections Theatre Festivity’s Outstanding Playwright award for his avant-garde one-act 4 $tages, and his short film The Fire That Won’t Stop was recently named an official selection at the Venice Short Film Awards, the Paris International Short Festival & the Hollywood International Golden Age Festival and is now available for streaming at Think Shorts. In addition to his independent work as a writer, Piccione also works as a scriptwriter-for-hire, and his work has been commissioned by Sesame Workshop, Speaks Volumes Productions, and various other clients. He is also the founder and Producing Artistic Director of Talking It Out, a virtual theatre festival dedicated to mental health awareness, as well as the host of the weekly podcast Indie Art Today, and he also works as a teaching artist at Broadway Weekends where he offers private coaching for playwrights. He received his BA in Theatre from Eastern Connecticut State University in 2016 and is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild of America. Visit www.anthonyjpiccione.com to learn more.