Riding the Midnight Express OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS


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Opening Night:
February 5, 2014
March 23, 2014

Theater: St. Luke's Theatre / 308 West 46th St., New York, New York, 10036


First he wrote the best-selling book. Then came the Oscar® award-winning movie. Now - live on stage – performed by the man who lived it. For the first time, Billy Hayes recounts his time in a Turkish prison and his brazen, harrowing escape. Witness the true, riveting story that captivated imaginations around the world. You'll never forget his cautionary, yet uplifting tale.

  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Riding the Midnight Express

    Correcting the Film Version of a Sensational Story ‘Riding the Midnight Express With Billy Hayes,’ at St. Luke’s

    Andy Webster

    February 5, 2014: There is intrinsic power in escape stories; consider films like Papillon or Escape From Alcatraz. With Riding the Midnight Express With Billy Hayes, the writer Billy Hayes tells his own. It’s been presented before: in Midnight Express, his 1976 memoir about five years he spent imprisoned in Turkey for trying to smuggle hashish, and in the 1978 movie adaptation. But as he makes clear in this one-man show, the movie omits much of his ordeal, and what it does present has, shall we say, a high degree of historical revisionism.

  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF Riding the Midnight Express

    Riding the Midnight Express With Billy Hayes

    Zachary Stewart

    February 5, 2014: International drug-smuggling just ain't what it used to be. When a 22-year-old Billy Hayes first spirited 2 kilos of Turkish hashish out of Istanbul in 1969, he was able to walk right onto a Pan Am flight with the drugs not-so-cleverly hidden beneath a faux plaster cast. Imagine getting that by the full-body scanners today! By his fourth trip to Turkey in 1970, with airport security tightening after a string of terrorist attacks, Hayes' luck had run out. He was arrested as he boarded the plane and eventually sentenced to life in prison. So how does he find himself telling his incredible story on the stage of St. Luke's Theatre? That is very much the subject of Riding the Midnight Express, a thrilling firsthand account of his much-publicized prison break.

  • BLOG CRITICS REVIEW OF Riding the Midnight Express

    Theater Review (NYC): ‘Riding the Midnight Express With Billy Hayes’

    Carole Di Tosti

    February 6, 2014: Riding the Midnight Express With Billy Hayes, written and performed by Billy Hayes and currently at St. Luke’s Theatre, is a profound and illuminating theatrical experience that will leave you uplifted and inspired. Directed by John Gould Rubin, the production is a reexamination of Hayes’s experiences in Turkey in the 1970s, when he was smuggling hashish, caught, and given a life sentence in a Turkish prison. Some of the gruesome aspects of the story were chronicled in the film Midnight Express.

  • CURTAIN UP REVIEW OF Riding the Midnight Express

    CurtainUp Review Riding the Midnight Express

    Elizabeth Ahlfors

    February 6, 2014: Riding The Midnight Express is the harrowing true story of 23-year-old Billy Hayes after his arrest at the Istanbul airport and the nightmare that followed. It became a best-selling book in 1976 and an Academy Award winning film in 1978. Under a plaster cast taped around his body, officials had found two kilos of hashish Hayes was smuggling out of Turkey. It was a crime of Hayes' own doing that called for four years of prison in Turkey.

  • THEATER PIZZAZZ REVIEW OF Riding the Midnight Express

    Turkish Re-Fright: Riding the Midnight Express

    JK Clarke

    February 5, 2014: Anyone who has seen the 1978 thriller Midnight Express (which was nominated for six Academy Awards and won two—for its haunting soundtrack and for Oliver Stone’s terrific script), likely remembers the film vividly. It is a harrowing account of a young man, Billy Hayes, who, in 1970, is arrested at the Istanbul, Turkey airport for smuggling several kilos of hashish. Hayes’ ordeal in Turkish prisons is the stuff of nightmares, but it is his wild escape that is most indelible. And even more breathtaking is that the events, with a good deal of poetic license, actually happened.



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