Southern Rep Theatre Celebrates 30th Season With Opening Of ‘Airline Highway’

NEW ORLEANS – Southern Rep Theatre and the University of New Orleans (UNO) Department of Film and Theatre announced the regional premiere of Lisa D’Amour’s ‘Airline Highway’ which opens Southern Rep’s 30th season and runs from October 5 – 30, 2016, at UNO’s Robert E. Nims Theatre. 

         “‘Airline Highway’ is a story following quintessential New Orleans characters through a not so quintessential event – the ‘living funeral’ of one of their own,” Aimée Hayes, Southern Rep’s producing artistic director, said. “The party for Miss Ruby brings a group of friends together for a celebration of life. We are excited to start a new tradition by having the show open on a Monday night and look forward to sharing Lisa D’Amour’s heartfelt homage to the ecstatic moments that make up life in New Orleans. Additionally, it’s a privilege for Southern Rep Theatre to be able to partner with the University of New Orleans to bring this play home to be performed at the city's namesake university."

         “Airline Highway” follows instantly recognizable characters through an unforgettable evening at an infamous location. As with most parties in New Orleans, the celebration for Miss Ruby at the Hummingbird Motel goes late into the night. The colorful group of gathered friends have stories to tell and drinks to share while making a few new memories to honor the well-known burlesque dancer before she is gone. The award-winning cast includes veteran film and television actors and grande dame of New Orleans theater Janet Shea as Miss Ruby.

         Playwright Lisa D’Amour is a native New Orleanian who has been closely involved with this production. “The moment has finally arrived,” she said. “‘Airline Highway’ produced just a few miles from Airline Highway! I am so grateful to Southern Rep – their production of ‘Detroit’ last year was so spectacular. I can’t wait to see what they do with this one. This play means so much to me – it grapples with the ways in which New Orleans is trying to grow, change and survive while staying true to its history, rituals and the many fabulous, diverse communities that weave together to make it the greatest city in the universe. Thank you, Southern Rep for taking on this joyful, unruly play!”

         D'Amour's play “Detroit,” for which she was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, ran to sold-out houses in Southern Rep's 2015 staging and won Big Easy Awards for Best Play and Best Ensemble.

         “Airline Highway” premiered at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago and moved to Broadway in 2015, where it received four Tony Awards. The regional premiere will bring this New Orleans tale home and allow the people that made the characters famous to see and appreciate their story.

         “Airline Highway” is directed by Aimée Hayes and features Todd d’Amour, Elizabeth Daniels, Madeline Kolker, Christine McMurdo-Wallis, Chivas Michael, Thomas Francis Murphy, Lance E. Nichols, Carl Palmer and Janet Shea, plus an ensemble of 12.

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