Luna Stage Opens 25th Season November 2 with Paradise a play by Laura Maria Censabella

WEST ORANGE, N.J. - Oct. 11, 2017 - PRLog -- Luna Stage opens its 25th season on November 2 with a production of Paradise by Laura Maria Censabella, a co-production with Passage Theatre in Trenton. The season will include the world premiere of Razorhurst, a musical commissioned by Luna, with book and lyrics by Kate Mulley and music by Andy Peterson. The season will conclude with Craig Alan Edward's play The Man in Room 306, a piece that premiered at Luna in 1995 and was restaged in 2010 before transferring Off-Broadway. These productions represent the culmination of 25 years of work for Luna, which was founded by Jane Mandel in 1992 in a small space in Montclair and evolved into its present home as an anchor arts-producing organization the Valley Arts District in West Orange/Orange led by Cheryl Katz.

The mission of Luna Stage is to develop and produce thought-provoking theatre that gives voice to emerging American playwrights and new life to contemporary and classic plays that speak to our times. As producer, educator and innovator, Luna Stage is committed to collaborating with artists of multiple disciplines and partnering with our community to illuminate the diverse perspectives of our society.

Over the course of its history, Luna Stage has contributed to the development of over 50 new works for the stage. Our world premieres have gone on to be produced in New York and across the country earning the theatre a reputation for artistic excellence. Over the years Luna has won many distinctions such as being named on's 10 best productions in both 2015 and 2016. It was honored by the New Jersey Theatre Alliance 2015 Curtain Call, and by the 2015 International Centre for Women Playwrights. [attached list of Luna world premieres, and awards - will be done later today]. But Luna does more than produce plays. It offers classes for children and adults and our developmental programs for early career artists inspire our community members to nurture their own creativity and vision.

Jane Mandel the founding Artistic Director says: "Luna is the manifestation of my belief in the transformational power of theatre. It came out of a very special collaboration with a group of women artists. We started in my living room and moved to renting a room in a church and then to our first space, a 1,000 square feet on Label Street near the Walnut Street train station."

Cheryl Katz, current Artistic Director says this about Luna's work: "We look for stories that are told from a very personal perspective but that speak to larger truths. We look for plays that challenge our beliefs and preconceptions and spark introspection, conversation and new understanding. But within this criteria, there has always been so much latitude for variety and this 25th season is no exception."

Paradise by Laura Maria Censabella, a co-production with Passage Theatre, is directed by Kel Haney, an NYC-based director focused on new plays, but with many NYC and regional credits. The cast features Lily Balsen, who tours nationally with a solo adaptation of The Secret Life of Bees, and Grant Shaud, a Broadway and Off-Broadway veteran best known for his regular role as Miles on the TV series Murphy Brown.

Performances begin Thursday, November 2 and run through November 19. For complete performance information go to the website: or call 973-395-5551. For tickets click here.

About the Play

Paradise premiered at Underground Railway/Central Square Theater in spring 2017 and was initially commissioned by Ensemble Studio Theatre and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. It will also be produced by Gulfshore Playhouse later this fall.

Paradise is about two outsiders - a gifted Yemeni-American teenager and her disillusioned biology teacher - who form an unlikely scientific partnership in the hope of securing her a scholarship. But when conflicts arise over religion, science, and the boundaries of mentorship, their capacity to alter the course of each other's lives becomes greater than either had imagined.

Jim Peskin
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Tags:Theater, Theatre
Location:West Orange - New Jersey - United States
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