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Why Adult Esther From The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Looks So Familiar

In the opening frames of Season 5, Episode 1 of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," audiences are hurled forward from the series' standard late-1950s and early-60s timeline to 1981, where we see Miriam's (Rachel Brosnahan) daughter Esther — who until now has only been shown as a young child — at age 23. Esther is now a brilliant Harvard doctoral student but still struggling to shake free from her mother's massive personality and influence, bickering with her therapist with a manic energy that evokes Miriam's similar wild inner running monologue. Adult Esther returns later in the season in scenes from 1985, but who is the actor who plays adult Esther in "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" Season 5? 

23 and 27-year-old Esther is played by Alexandra Socha, who made her acting debut in the chorus of the Broadway musical "Spring Awakening" at age 17 and has an extensive television and film resume dating back more than a decade. In 2008, she replaced Lea Michele as Wendla in "Spring Awakening" before being cast in "Brighton Beach Memoirs" as Nora the following year. The Nashua, New Hampshire native would move from the Broadway stage to the small screen in 2010, making her television debut on a short-lived but well-regarded procedural. 

Alexandra Socha's first TV appearance was on White Collar

Alexandra Socha's first television appearance was on the USA Network FBI procedural "White Collar" as home invasion kidnap victim Lindsay Gless. Socha's appearance is limited to a few brief damsel-in-distress scenes, but the series has stellar ratings on Rotten Tomatoes: 96 percent from critics and 92 percent from audiences. 

During a Paley Center panel discussion, "White Collar" co-stars Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay spoke to USA Today about the dynamic between their characters. "We carry very different skill sets," Bomer said." And they complement each other's strengths and weaknesses, and that's why we work together well as a team." 

DeKay said his and Bomer's characters are often compared to those played by Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy in the original "48 Hours" film and that their relationship was "father-son sometimes almost, it's sibling, sometimes we're like an old married couple together." 

Warren Clements of The Globe and Mail noted that the pair's chemistry was compelling, writing, "The contrast between their characters — the guy who can charm anyone, the straight arrow who seeks to channel the charmer — lends itself to banter with an edge." It didn't take long for Socha to parlay her single appearance on "White Collar" into a recurring role in one of the era's most celebrated series.

Alexandra Socha played Mia on The Big C

Alexandra Socha's first recurring television role came on the Showtime comedy "The Big C," which starred Laura Linney and Oliver Platt as Cathy and Paul Jamison, a suburban Minnesota couple dealing with Cathy's advanced melanoma diagnosis. Socha played Mia, the girlfriend of Cathy and Paul's son Adam (Gabriel Basso). Linney earned an Emmy nomination in 2011 for her performance, and the show added nominations that year and in 2012 for outstanding casting. 

Linney also took home the 2011 Golden Globe award as Best Actress for her work on "The Big C." 

She told "CBS This Morning" that she thought the show was particularly special because it managed to find humor in Cathy's life-threatening situation. "I think that comedy's really effective when you try and make sense of something," Linney said. "When something's overwhelming, or threatening, or confusing, or chaotic, comedy can go right to the center of something and elucidate it in a way that makes you feel like you know what's happening around you." Socha appeared on seven episodes of "The Big C" in Seasons 1 and 2.

Alexandra Socha continued to build her television resume throughout the early 2010s

After she left "The Big C," Alexandra Socha made a guest appearance as Chloe Salinger on the CBS medical drama "A Gifted Man." In 2012, Socha appeared in five episodes of the FX drama "Damages," which starred Glen Close and Judd Hirsch. Socha plays Rachel Walling, a college-bound young woman whose mother, Naomi (Jenna Elfman), is embroiled in a sexual misconduct scandal involving high-profile financial industry executives. Along with Close, Hirsch, and Elfman, "Damages" gave Socha the chance to work with Hollywood legends Ted Danson, Lily Tomlin, Martin Short, William Hurt, and John Goodman. 

In a group cast interview with the Screen Actor's Guild Foundation, Close talked about her work on the show, for which she received two Emmy nominations. "They pitched me the idea of this powerful woman in the world of law," Close said, "and I thought it sounded like a really interesting idea ... the pilot script was just as good as any movie script I'd ever read, so I signed on from the strength of that one script and I never regretted it."

After her five-episode arc on "Damages" was complete, Socha made guest appearances on "Made in Jersey," Law and Order: Special Victims Unit," and "Blue Bloods" before landing her biggest role in 2014.

Alexandra Socha starred on Red Oaks alongside some of her childhood acting heroes

2014 saw Alexandra Socha cast as Skye Getty on the Amazon Prime comedy "Red Oaks," which also starred Craig Roberts, Jennifer Grey, Paul Reiser, and Richard Kind. In an interview with Arthur Kade of "Behind the Velvet Rope," Socha, Roberts, and Kind all expressed a strong fondness for the project and the people that worked so hard to produce it. "We are so proud of this product," Kind said. "The actors are as good as the writing. It's a really good show." 

Socha commented that she sometimes had "major pinch me moments" on set and said she and her family were long-time fans of her co-stars' older projects. "My father and I used to watch 'Spin City' reruns all the time, and we used to watch 'Mad About You' at the dinner table." Socha also mentioned that she was so obsessed with "Dirty Dancing" and Grey's character in the film that she modeled one of her childhood Halloween costumes after her.