Tuesday, April 16, 2019

'Heartland' Extends Through May 5 at Luna Stage-Read Reviews

Luna Stage’s “Heartfelt Masterpiece”

Reviewers call HEARTLAND “searing…powerful” and
“a privilege to watch” with "formidable performances"

Heartland, now playing at Luna Stage, will extend through May 5. The new play, which opened April 4, has received audience and critical acclaim. Broadway World called it a “heartfelt masterpiece rife with comedic brilliance and the triumph of the human spirit.”
Heartland features Kareem BadrBrian Corrigan, and Lipica Shah, giving what New Jersey Jewish News described as “formidable performances.” NJJN further describes the play by Gabriel Jason Dean as “searing…powerful… [a play] about relationships—how they are made and how they can break. Highly recommended."

Set in Omaha and Afghanistan, Heartland weaves back and forth through time, unraveling a mystery that illuminates the cost of defending an American Empire. NJ Arts Maven described it as exploring “compassion, responsibility, regret, redemption, forgiveness and, above all, love… [an] examination of the human heart…one you will talk about for days afterward.”

The production is directed by Luna’s Artistic Director Ari Laura Kreith.  It is the final play of Luna’s 2018-2019 Season and will close following this limited extension.
As Out in Jersey wrote, “Heartland is a double-edged title for the play. It refers to the center of the United States as a geographical area. But it also refers to the land where one’s heart lies, that place where one feels a sense of belonging and rightness. Both meanings are displayed in this thoughtful and emotional play. It is a privilege to watch fine actors at work in such a well written and well directed theatre piece. You owe it to yourselves to travel to the Heartland.”

Heartland now runs through May 5, at Luna Stage in New Jersey’s Valley Arts District. Tickets are $16-39, and are available at or by calling 973-395-5551. Special events, including pre-show LunaLit book-related events and talk-backs with guest experts and members of the creative team, are scheduled throughout the run. The full schedule, including the schedule of talk-backs and events, is available at

About the Artists

Kareem Badr is an actor, improviser, and teacher based out of Austin, TX. He is thrilled to be making his Luna Stage debut in Heartland. Recent stage credits include The Actor in Woman in Black, Brigham Young in For Time and Eternity, and Nazrullah in Vortex Rep's production of Heartland in Austin. He is a co-owner of The Hideout Theatre, and performs and teaches internationally with his improv troupe PGraph. (Photo center).

Brian Corrigan’s performance experience includes… Theater: Measure for MeasureAs You Like ItThe Taming of the ShrewGun ShyBelow the BeltSylviaBaby with the Bath WaterAll in the TimingEl Grande de Coca-Cola. Film & Television: The BlacklistInside Amy SchumerMaster of NoneThe Late ShowForeverHouse of CardsLaw & Order SVUBlow OutBeing ThereBest Friends. Over 40 years of radio and television commercials, primarily as a voice actor. (photo right)

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-TimeOrangePassing 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 VoiceAdmissionTime After TimeThe FollowingWhite CollarPokémonMobile 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. (Photo Left.)

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.

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.

Heartland by Gabriel Jason Dean
Directed by Ari Laura Kreith
At Luna Stage, 555 Valley Road, West Orange, NJ | 973 395 5551
Now Running | Closes: Sunday, May 5
Performance Schedule: Thursday at 7:30 pm, Friday & Saturday at 8 pm, Sunday at 3pm
Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes, no intermission

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