Thursday, January 2, 2020

World Premiere of “American Rookie” at Luna Stage

World Premiere

American Rookie
written and performed by Dipti Bramhandkar
directed by Padraic Lillis

WHEN: January 11-January 20; Saturdays at 8:00 pm, Sundays at 3:00pm, Mondays at 7:00 pm
WHERE: Luna Stage, 555 Valley Road in West Orange
TICKETS: $20; Code: FAMILY5 for $5 student ticket with each adult ticket for Monday Performances; available at or by calling OvationTix at 866-811-4111.
Suggested for ages 16 and older.
Running Time: 60 minutes, no intermission 

Part coming-of-age tale, part social commentary, and part comedy, this one-woman show explores what it means to be an immigrant at a time when the country can't stop talking about it.

Inspired by Bramhandkar's experiences growing up in America after moving from Mumbai to rural Upstate New York, American Rookie brings to life the joy, humor, and pain of the assimilation process —from mimicking 80's fashion and studying Judy Blume books to constructing a new American persona altogether.

American Rookie is a show I needed to see when I was a teenager,” says Bramhandkar. “I was grappling with my Indian and immigrant identity on top of the awkward, cringeworthy moments of that time of life. I wanted to talk about big topics like race and belonging but as portrayed in everyday moments - funny, sad, and seemingly ordinary ones - that shape our understanding of each other. My hope is to invite everyone into a conversation about what we have in common at a time when our country feels divided.”

Dipti Bramhandkar is a NYC-based playwright and performer. As a lifelong prose writer, her words moved from the page to the stage after a serendipitous theater retreat in 2014. Later that year, her play, The Accident, won numerous awards at the Frigid Festival, and threw her headlong into the world of theater, writing several short plays, as well as producing numerous readings. In 2019, she was invited to be Playwright-in-Residence at Guild Hall in East Hampton. She is currently preparing for a reading of her play Islands of Contentment for Labyrinth Theater Company’s Barn Series at Cherry Lane Theater in January 2020. Dipti is a graduate of Cornell University (BA) and Cambridge University (MA). Please visit for more information about Ms. Bramhandkar.

Padraic Lillis (Director) is the Founding Artistic Director of The Farm Theater. Last fall he was The Humana Visiting Scholar and Artist in Residence at Centre College where he developed and directed ten student solo shows. He has directed and developed over twenty solo shows that have had Off-Broadway runs, toured internationally, and been presented at The Kennedy Center. His plays are published with Dramatists Play Services and his solo show Hope You Get To Eleven or What are we going to do about Sally? was awarded Outstanding Solo show at the Planet Connections Festivity. Other awards include: New York Innovative Theatre Outstanding Director, NY International Fringe Festival’s Overall Excellence in directing, and Best Short film at the Milan International Film Festival for his film Hand Over Hand, which he wrote and directed. Padraic hosts The Farm Theater’s Bullpen Sessions podcast. He is the resident dramaturg for Compass Needle, a member of the LAByrinth Theater Company, and a lifelong Yankee fan.

American Voices Series

The 2019-2020 Season marks the inauguration of the American Voices series, featuring original work by contemporary American solo theatre artists.The newly-renovated 60-seat Luna2 showcases these intimate, entertaining, and timely performances.

About Luna Stage

Luna Stage develops and produces vibrant plays about local and global experiences. We bring 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—we celebrate the diverse voices that surround us.

Luna is committed to eliminating barriers to participation and nurturing the next generation of audiences and artists. In addition to its artistic season, the company offers classes for children and adults, and developmental programs for early-career artists.

Luna Stage has contributed to the development of over 100 new works for the stage, earning a reputation for artistic excellence. Luna’s unique approach to producing, as well as the work itself, fosters an environment of inclusivity, understanding, and infinite possibility.