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Airline Highway

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Closed June 7, 2015

"A beautiful and mesmerizing kaleidoscope of a play!"


Why See Airline Highway?

Welcome to the airline highway

Originally premiering at Chicago's Steppenwolf Downstairs Theatre in late 2014, this moving brash and pitch-black comedy drama is a tribute to those outcasts who make our lives that little bit more interesting and colorful. The production received four 2015 Tony Award nominations, including two Best Performance in a Play awards for its cast members, K. Todd Freeman and Julie White!


The story revolves around 85 year-old Miss Ruby, a once famous burlesque dancer in New Orleans' French Quarter, where she made her name. Now living at the run down Hummingbird Hotel, a once glamorous salon that attracts many different members of society, she decides that she'd like to hold her funeral. Before she dies.A huge party is convened in the parking lot of the hotel where a host of colorful and shady characters come to celebrate their idol.

Among Miss Ruby's friends are Krista, a homeless stripper; the substance-abusing sex worker Tanya,; Sissy, a transvestite with a heart of gold; Terry the apathetic handyman; Francis, an idealistic drifter and poet; and the hotel's Wayne, the Hummingbird's determinedly independent manager, who over the course of one day, celebrate the life of Miss Ruby and examine the community that exists between life's outcasts.

Their very lifestyle is at risk from a huge supermarket about to be built across the highway, threatening an influx of gentrification from the Starbucks and organic food monolith; this party also marks their last hurrah as Miss Ruby is unable to keep campaigning in her dying state.

Originating with Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, this is the second play from Lisa D'Amour, the Pulitzer Prize nominee for Detroit. Airline Highway is a pitch-black comedic tribute to those who exist on the outskirts of town and societal norms.

did you know?

The character of Miss Ruby is based on a real-life person! The living legend that is New Orleans' Chris Owens still performs her incredible burlesque routine on Bourbon Street and has become something of an icon in the French Quarter.

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Additional Information


Previews from: 1 April 2015

Opening night: 23 April 2015


My not be suitable for younger audience members

Run time

Two hours and 15 minutes with one intermission

And before you stop reading

Please note that the images above show the original Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago cast

Cast and Creative


Carolyn Braver as Zoe
K. Todd Freeman as Sissy Na Na (2015 Tony Nominee for his role)
Scott Jaeck as Wayne
Ken Marks as Francis
Caroline Neff as Krista
Tim Edward Rhoze as Terry
Judith Roberts as Miss Ruby
Joe Tippett as Bait Boy
Julie White as Tanya (2015 Tony Nominee for her role)


Written by Lisa D'Amour

Directed by Joe Mantello



Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play - Julie White

2015 Drama Desk Nominations

Outstanding Play
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play - K. Todd Freeman
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play - Julie White

2015 Tony Award Nominations

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play (K. Todd Freeman)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play (Julie White)
Best Costume Design of a Play (David Zinn)
Best Lighting Design of a Play

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Please note: The term Samuel J. Friedman Theatre and/or Airline Highway as well as all associated graphics, logos, and/or other tradermarks, tradenames or copyrights are the property of the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre and/or Airline Highway and are used herein for factual descriptive purposes only. We are in no way associated with or authorized by the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre and/or Airline Highway and neither that entity nor any of its affiliates have licensed or endorsed us to sell tickets, goods and or services in conjunction with their events.