Airline Highway

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Airline Highway (play)

Written by Lisa D’Amour
  • Miss Ruby
  • Sissy Na Na
  • Bait Boy
  • Zoe
  • Tanya
  • Wayne
  • Krista
  • Terry
  • Francis
  • Ensemble
Date premiered December 4, 2014 (2014-12-04)
Place premiered Steppenwolf Theatre
Chicago, Illinois
Original language English
Genre Black comedy
Setting The Hummingbird Motel, Off Airline Highway, New Orleans, Louisiana
Official site

Airline Highway is an American play, written by Lisa D’Amour and set in New Orleans. Commissioned by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the play made its Broadway debut in April 2015. It received four Tony Award nominations, including Best Featured Actor in a Play for K. Todd Freeman and Best Featured Actress in a Play for Julie White. Additionally, it received three Drama Desk Award nominations, winning one for Freeman.[1] Its final performance was on June 7, 2015.[2]


Airline Highway takes place in the parking lot of The Hummingbird Motel, off the titular highway near New Orleans, where the residents have gathered to celebrate the life of Miss Ruby, an iconic burlesque queen who has been a mother figure to them all. Miss Ruby’s life is nearing its end, and she requests that her funeral takes place while she is still alive. As the Mardi Gras-esque celebration continues into the night, the stories of the residents, their pain and disappointments unfold.


2014 Original Production

The original production of the play was performed in Chicago, Illinois, by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company from December 4, 2014, until February 14, 2015. The production was directed by Joe Mantello with set design by Scott Pask. K. Todd Freeman performed the role of Sissy Na Na, with Kate Buddeke as Tanya, Scott Jaeck as Wayne and Robert Breuler in the ensemble.[3]

Broadway Production

The play was produced on Broadway by the Manhattan Theatre Club at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre from April 23 through June 7, 2015.[4] Directed by Mantello, both Freeman and Jaeck reprised their roles, and Julie White portrayed Tanya.

Broadway Cast

Carolyn Braver – Zoe
Todd d’Amour – Ensemble
Shannon Eagen – Ensemble
Venida Evans – Ensemble
Joe Forbrich – Ensemble
K. Todd Freeman – Sissy Na Na
Leslie Hendrix – Ensemble
Scott Jaeck – Wayne
Sekou Laidlow – Ensemble
Ken Marks – Francis
Toni Martin – Ensemble
Caroline Neff – Krista
Tim Edward Rhoze – Terry
Judith Roberts – Miss Ruby
Joe Tippett – Bait Boy
Julie White – Tanya
Understudies: Todd d’Amour (Bait Boy), Shannon Eagen (Zoe), Venida Evans (Miss Ruby), Joe Forbrich (Francis, Wayne), Leslie Hendrix (Tanya), Sekou Laidlow (Sissy Na Na, Terry) and Toni Martin (Krista)


Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
2015 Drama Desk Awards[4] Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play K. Todd Freeman Won
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Julie White Nominated
Outstanding Play Nominated
Drama League Awards[4] Distinguished Performance Julie White Nominated
Tony Awards[4] Best Costume Design David Zinn Nominated
Best Lighting Design Japhy Weideman Nominated
Best Featured Actor in a Play K. Todd Freeman Nominated
Best Featured Actress in a Play Julie White Nominated


  1. ^ Variety list of Drama Desk Award winners for 2015
  2. ^ “Tony-Nominated ‘Airline Highway’ Plays Final Performance Today”, June 7, 2015
  3. ^ Airline Highway Program by Steppenwolf Theatre Company (PDF)
  4. ^ a b c d Airline Highway – Broadway – Backstage

External Links

  • Official website
  • Airline Highway at the Internet Broadway Database

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