2017-2018 Season

Luna Stage Production History. Celebrating 26 Seasons!

November 2 - November 19, 2017


By Laura Maria Censabella

A Co-Production with Passage Theatre

Thursdays at 7:30pm
Fridays at 8pm
Saturdays at 8pm
Sundays at 3pm
Plus an added matinee performance on Thursday November 9th at 2pm

Two outsiders - a gifted Yemeni-American teenager and her disillusioned biology teacher - 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.

Directed by Kel Haney

Cast: Lily Balsen and Grant Shaud

Production and Design: Bethanie Wampol (Set Design), Dante Olivia Smith (Lighting Design), Emily Auciello (Sound Design), Robin Shane (Costume Design), Dan Viola (Production Manager), and Courtney Labossiere (Stage Manager)

Running Time: Approximately 2 hours with intermission

Talkback Schedule: Sunday, November 5th and Thursday, November 16th

Paradise was originally commissioned and developed by The Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Project

Watch Cast Interviews

Production Photos


Photo Credit: Jeff Stewart


"I thought the play was beautiful and the story was told with compassion and integrity." - Tiffany Walker, Founder and CEO of Pathways Toward Peace, Orange, NJ

Meet The Cast

Lily Balsen

LILY BALSEN: tours nationally in a solo adaptation of 'The Secret Life of Bees,' staged by master director Wynn Handman. NYC theatre credits include A Good Muslim and Kandahar to Canada (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Pentecost and Therese Raquin (Atlantic Stage 2/PTP), and Comedy of Sorrows (HERE Arts). Regional credits include Barrington Stage (MA), Theatre J (Washington, D.C.), Alliance Theatre (Atlanta), Olney Theatre (MD) and Walking the Dog Theatre (NY). She also records audio narration for children's books, and enjoys writing and performing original sketch comedy. She attended Middlebury College. lilybalsen.com, @lilybalsen, @lilyzlb.

Grant Shaud

GRANT SHAUD: Broadway: Relatively Speaking (three plays by Woody Allen, Elaine May, and Ethan Coen), Torch Song Trilogy (Harvey Fierstein). Off-Broadway: Writer's Block (Woody Allen), Atlantic Theater Co.; The Starry Messenger (Kenneth Lonergan), The New Group; Four Dogs and a Bone (John Patrick Shanley), Manhattan Theatre Club; After Ashley (Gina Gionfriddo),Vineyard Theatre, and others. Regional: Out of the City (Leslie Ayvazian), Passage Theatre, Trenton, NJ; Laughing Wild (Christopher Durang), Los Angeles; Out, Philadelphia Theater Co. Film: "Wall Street," "The Distinguished Gentleman," and others. Television: Series regular on "Murphy Brown," "Oliver Beene," and "Madigan Men" (with Gabriel Byrne), and various guest spots, most recently "Odd Mom Out" and "Younger." Grant is a member of The Ensemble Studio Theatre (NYC).

Meet The Director

Kel Haney

Kel Haney is a NYC-based director who focuses on new work. Recent directing credits include: Chris Cragin-Day's FOSTER MOM, Quiara Alegria Hudes's WATER BY THE SPOONFUL, and Deborah Brevoort's MY LORD, WHAT A NIGHT (Premiere Stages); Neil LaBute's THE WAY WE GET BY (American Theater Group - regional premiere); Chris Cragin-Day's A WOMAN, Neil LaBute's WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS, and Vickie Ramirez's GLENBURN 12WP (59E59); Gardiner Comfort's YOU'RE NOT TOUGH (HERE, Dixon Place); Jonathan Caren's THE RECOMMENDATION (The Flea). She has directed/developed new work with Abingdon Theatre Company, The Amoralists, Ars Nova, Atlantic Theater Company, Cherry Lane, Keen Company, Labyrinth, The Lark, Manhattan Theatre Club, Ma-Yi, Naked Angels, New Dramatists, New Georges, Partial Comfort, Playwrights Realm, Rattlestick, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, Westport Country Playhouse, & Williamstown. Also: MTC Directing Fellow, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, Mabou Mines Residency, Old Vic/New Voices Exchange and a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre. Ms. Haney also directed the critically acclaimed short films, I AM THEM and STAY CLOSE. Upcoming: Haney/Comfort's THE ELEPHANT IN EVERY ROOM I ENTER (New York Theatre Workshop's Next Door at NYTW). www.kelhaney.com

Meet The Playwright

Laura Maria Censabella

Laura Maria Censabella is pleased to be working with Luna Stage and Passage Theatre on this co-production of Paradise. It 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. Laura's full-length play Carla Cooks The War won the $10,000 William Saroyan Human Rights/Social Justice Drama Award for 2015. Other plays have been developed/produced at the O'Neill Playwrights Conference, Philadelphia Festival Theatre for New Plays, the Women's Project and Productions, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Portland Stage Company, The New Harmony Project, The Working Theatre, and Urban Stages Outreach, among others. She has won three writing grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts; two in Playwriting for Abandoned in Queens (published in The Best Short Plays 2012-13) and Carla Cooks The War (published online by Connotation Press), and the Geri Ashur Award in Screenwriting for Truly Mary. Truly Mary was subsequently developed at The New Harmony Project with director Angelo Pizzo and producer Michael London. For two years she wrote for daytime serial television, winning two Emmy Awards, and her short film Last Call is available on Netflix (Best Short Drama Prize at the Breckenridge Film Festival). She received a B.A. in Philosophy from Yale University with a concentration in Theater Studies, and is part-time Assistant Professor in Playwriting at the New School for Drama where she won the Distinguished University-Wide Teaching Award.