by The Vortex

Jan. 17 - Feb. 09, 2019


presents the 

National New Play Network 

Rolling World Premiere of


A new play by Gabriel Jason Dean

Directed by Rudy Ramirez

 Dr. Harold Banks, a retired University of Nebraska professor of Comparative Literature and Afghan Studies, is reeling after his adopted daughter Getee is killed by the Taliban while teaching children outside of Kabul. When Afghan refugee Nazrullah arrives at his door carrying Getee's prized books, the two men form an unlikely bond. Heartland draws a line from the “Cold War” to the “War on Terror” and demands that we reckon with the consequences of defending an American Empire. Set in both Maidan Shar, Afghanistan and Omaha, Nebraska, and inspired by true events, Heartland is a story of healing, grace, and connection.


Heartland was conceived and written by Gabriel Jason Dean as a direct response to the true story of the US government’s textbook propaganda contributing to the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan. With the longest war in US history still ravaging Afghanistan with US involvement since 2001, we must continue to be engaged in public discourse on this devastating conflict.


The VORTEX is committed to producing "urgent, unashamed art," and Heartland is Gabriel Jason Dean’s most urgent piece. He excavates stories of race and class at the heart of our fractured country. In Heartland he focuses on how we have spread a history of violence across the world. Government choices change the lives and break the hearts of ordinary folk from the fields of Nebraska to the hills of Afghanistan. 


Gabriel Jason Dean’s plays Terminus and Qualities of Starlight received multiple B. Iden Payne and Austin Critics’ Table Awards for excellence in writing, performance, design, direction, and production with their world premiere VORTEX productions.


Heartland was first produced as a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere by Geva Theatre Center, Rochester, NY, New Repertory Theatre, Watertown, MA, The VORTEX, Austin, TX, and InterAct Theatre Company, Center City, PA.


Directed by Rudy Ramirez, VORTEX Associate Artistic Director. Starring Lowell Bartholomee (Harold),Kareem Badr (Nazrullah), and Kacey Samiee (Getee). 


Scenic Design by Ann Marie Gordon. Lighting Design by Patrick Anthony. Costume Design by Delena Bradleyl Sound Design by David DeMaris. Prop Design by Helen Parish. Dari language coach, Hasti Ahmadi. Stage Management, Tamara L. Farley.Photography, Errich Petersen. Video Documentation, Jose Lozano of Magic Spoon Productions. Monica Kurtz and Tim Ervin, American Sign Language Interpreters.   Bonnie Cullum, Producing Artistic Director.


Heartland is funded and supported in part by Bloomberg Philanthropies, National New Play Network (NNPN) Rolling World Premiere, VORTEX Repertory Company, and by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.


Feature by Robert Faires in the Austin Chronicle, January 17, 2018


Gabriel Jason Dean (Playwright) is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter from Atlanta, GA who currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. His critically-acclaimed plays include IN BLOOM (Kennedy Center Paula Vogel Award, Laurents / Hatcher Award Finalist, Princess Grace Award Runner-Up); QUALITIES OF STARLIGHT (Broadway Blacklist, Kesselring Nomination, Essential Theatre New Play Prize, B. Iden Payne Awards for Outstanding Comedy & Best Original Script; TERMINUS (James Tait Black Prize Finalist, B. Iden Payne Awards for Outstanding Drama & Best Original Script, Austin Critic’s Table Award Best Production) HEARTLAND (National New Play Network Smith Prize Runner Up, InterAct 20/20 Commission), THE TRANSITION OF DOODLE PEQUEÑO (American Alliance for Theatre & Education Distinguished Play Award, Kennedy Center TYA Award, New England Theatre Conference Aurand Harris Award); and others. He has written book and lyrics for the musicals MARIO & THE COMET and OUR NEW TOWN. Screenplays include PIGSKIN and D'ANGELICO, TV Pilots WE BELONG, HOBOHEMIA, and animated series TENDERFOOT. His plays have been produced or developed throughout at places such as New York Theatre Workshop, Manhattan Theatre Club, McCarter Theatre, Araca Group, The Lark, The Flea, The Civilians, Oregon Shakespeare, The Kennedy Center, The Amoralists, Geva Theatre Center, PlayPenn, Interact, The Playwrights’ Center, Davenport Theatrical, Stage Left, The VORTEX, Theatre [502], Aurora Theatre, Seattle Children's Theatre, Dallas Children’s Theatre, People’s Light and Theatre, Dad's Garage Theatre, Actor's Express, Horizon Theatre, Source Festival, Essential Theatre, and the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. Gabriel received the Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, Dramatist’s Guild Fellowship, and the Sallie B. Goodman / McCarter Theatre Fellowship. His scripts are published through Samuel French, Dramatic Publishing and Playscripts. He is on faculty for Spalding University’s Brief-Residency MFA Program, is a Visiting Writer in Residence at Muhlenberg College, an alum of The Civilians R&D Group, an Affiliated Writer at The Playwrights’ Center, an Associate Artist with Monk Parrots and a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop. Current commissions with Geva Theatre and The Amoralists. MFA: UT-Austin Michener Center for Writers. 


by Gabriel Jackson Dean
The Vortex

January 17 - February 09, 2019
The Vortex
2307 Manor Road
Austin, TX, 78722


January 17-February 9, 2019 8 pm 

Saturday, January 26--American Sign Language ASL-Interpreted Performance 

Free to Deaf and Hard of Hearing Audiences

Friday, January 31--Live Streaming Howlround.com/tv

Wednesday, February 6 --Industry Night


The Eloise Stage @ The VORTEX

2307 Manor Rd. Austin, TX 78722

Free Parking. Bus Route.

The Butterfly Bar @ The VORTEX opens nightly at 5pm with full bar and hand-crafted cocktails.

Patrizi’s @ The VORTEX opens nightly at 5pm with delicious homemade Italian food.


Tickets: $35-$15

$35 Priority Seating  

$25 General Admission 

$15 Discount/Artist/Student/Senior/Veteran

www.vortexrep.org     512-478-5282

Advanced Reservations Recommended.  Limited seating.

Radical Rush Free Tickets: Limited free tickets for each performance in the spirit of sustainability, accessibility, and the gift economy. Radical Rush tickets released at 7pm each night-in-person only.

Blue Star Theatre: Discounts for Military, Veterans, and their families

2-for-1 admission: Thursday and Sunday with donation of 2 cans for SAFE Austin.