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Monday, March 25, 2019

Luna Stage's production of Heartland opens April 4


Brian Corrigan (r)Beejan Land (c), and Lipica Shah (l) (Photo) will star in Luna Stage's production of Heartland. The intercontinental love story by Gabriel Jason Dean, directed by Ari Laura Kreith will run from April 4-April 28. 

The fourth production of Luna’s 2018-2019 Season, Heartland is set in Nebraska and Afghanistan. It has been described as "a magical new play about family, grace, and the consequences of defending an American Empire.” Nazrullah, a young Afghani mathematician, arrives on the doorstep of retired Omaha literature professor Harold Banks, carrying a copy of The Old Man and the Sea. Across the world in Maidan Shar, Harold's adopted daughter Getee teaches The Diary of Anne Frank to girls at the Blue Sky School. Weaving back and forth through time, Heartland explores the uncertain terrain of love, moral responsibility, and what it truly means to care for one another.

 “Heartland is about the struggle to forgive and be forgiven: what does it mean to be complicit?” asks Lipica Shah, playing Getee in Luna’s production. Shah recently performed at MCC in India Pale Ale and Cost of Living, and in Assembled Identity at HERE Arts Center. “Can intent be noble if the resulting actions cause pain? Is there a way to truly understand consequences before being forced to live with them?”

“The dialogue and scenes are rich and simple to ride in Heartland,” says Beejan Land, who plays Nazrullah. Land, previously seen in Rock the Kasbah and The Imposter, says that Gabriel Jason Dean’s play “has really captured my heart and soul in a big way.”
Ultimately, “this is a play about acceptance,” Brian Corrigan adds, who plays Harold at Luna Stage. Corrigan, a veteran voice and stage actor, has appeared in The Blacklist and Inside Amy Schumer. “Truth, [Harold] believes, is chaos. We can’t make sense of it. We can only learn to accept it, and each other.”
Shah continues: “At a time in which almost all the imagery of the Middle East and Islam is negative and one-dimensional and othering, it is incredibly refreshing to see Afghans portrayed as fully realized humans subverting stereotypes.”

Playwright Dean "didn't want to make [Heartland] a 'political' play, but rather a play that was very personal – a chamber play about people living out unfortunate political decisions."
Tickets are $16-39, and are available at LunaStage.org/Heartland or by calling 973-395-5551. A limited number of premium Opening Night tickets are available for $59, which includes the post-show party with cast and creative team.
About the Artists
Brian Corrigan’s performance experience includes… Theater: Measure for Measure, As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew, Gun Shy, Below the Belt, Sylvia, Baby with the Bath Water, All in the Timing, El Grande de Coca-Cola. Film & Television: The Blacklist, Inside Amy Schumer, Master of None, The Late Show, Forever, House of Cards, Law & Order SVU, Blow Out, Being There, Best Friends. Over 40 years of radio and television commercials, primarily as a voice actor.

Beejan Land is an Award-winning Australian actor most known for Rock the Kasbah opposite Bill Murray in a supporting lead, directed by Academy Award-winning Barry Levinson. He is currently Executive Producing and Acting in the Limited Series The Imposter with eOne and Hulu, directed by Emmy Award-winning Greg Yaitanes. A graduate Australia’s NIDA, Beejan also studied at French clown school Ecole Jacques Lecoq. He has performed in over 40 stage productions for companies including the Melbourne Theatre Company, The Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Theatre Company, the Griffin Theatre Company, the Tamarama Rock Surfers Theatre, and Australian Theatre Company. Beejan moved from Australia to Paris in February 2009 to work with world renowned Parisian director Ariane Mnouchkineʼs company, Theatre du Soleil. He spent the next four years working alongside peers creating and performing Les Naufragés du Fol Espoir (Aurores) which was awarded the 2010 Moliere Award for Best Acting of an Ensemble. This is his first time treading the boards since his time in Paris. @BeejanLand

Lipica Shah is a New York City-based actor/singer who thrives on collaborative work and has a passion for new script development. Luna Stage: Debut! Select NYC: India Pale Ale and Cost of Living (MTC), Assembled Identity (HERE), Bunty Berman Presents… (The New Group), Coping (Fringe); Select Regional: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Orange, Passing Strange, and simultaneously originating the title roles in The Chronicles of Kalki and Shiv as part of the “The Displaced Hindu Gods Trilogy” (all at Mixed Blood), The Lake Effect (Geva Theatre), The Who and The What (Gulfshore Playhouse); Select Film/TV: A Silent Voice, Admission, Time After Time, The Following, White Collar, Pokémon, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin. She is on the leadership team of Kalakars, an organization that nurtures South Asian and South Asian-American talent in front of and behind the camera. www.LipicaShah.com

Gabriel Jason Dean’s plays have been seen or developed throughout the U.S. at theatres such as New York Theatre Workshop, Manhattan Theatre Club, McCarter Theatre, The Flea, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and American Theatre Company. In Bloom was a finalist for the Laurents/Hatcher Award, received the Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Prize, and was runner-up for the Princess Grace. His play for children, The Transition of Doodle Pequeño received the AATE Distinguished Play Award, the NETC Aurand Harris Award and has been anthologized numerous times. Other notable plays include Terminus (2016 Austin Critic’s Table “Best Drama”) and Qualities of Starlight (2016 Broadway Blacklist, Kesselring Nominee). Fellowships include the Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, the Dramatist’s Guild Fellowship and the Sallie B. Goodman/McCarter Theatre Fellowship. Dean is currently an affiliated writer at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis and a usual suspect at New York Theatre Workshop. He earned his MFA at the University of Texas at Austin’s James A. Michener Center for Writers.

Ari Laura Kreith recently directed Luna’s production of Pirira. She is also the founder and Artistic Director of Theatre 167, where she conceived and directed The Jackson Heights Trilogy — three full-length plays collaboratively written by 18 playwrights featuring 37 actors in 93 roles in 14 languages. NYC World Premieres: Mourning Sun (Theatre 167/Uganda), Pirira, Tina Howe’s Singing Beach. European premiere: Adam Guettel’s Myths and Hymns. Immersive, site-specific: Queens Museum, NY Transit Museum; touring excerpts of Marina Budhos’ novel Watched. Commissions: New Ohio; Queens Theatre. LPTW Lucille Lortel Visionary Award; NYIT Caffe Cino Fellowship. BA: Yale, MFA: UC Davis, Member: SDC. www.arilaurakreith.com

About Luna Stage
Luna Stage develops and produces vibrant plays about local and global experiences. Luna brings communities together for artistic events that spark conversations and create understanding and change. Firmly rooted in New Jersey's Valley Arts District—a crossroads of cultures—the Company celebrates the diverse voices that surround us. Luna Stage is dedicated to eliminating barriers to participation and nurturing the next generation of audiences and artists.

Luna’s classes for children and adults, and its developmental programs for early career artists, inspire community members to nurture their own creativity and vision.
Luna Stage has contributed to the development of over 80 new works for the stage, earning a reputation for artistic excellence. Some of those plays have gone on to productions in New York City and beyond. Luna’s unique approach to producing, as well as the work itself, fosters an environment of inclusivity, understanding, and infinite possibility.

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