Airline Highway
Closed 2h 20m
Airline Highway
67

Airline Highway NYC Reviews and Tickets

67%
(32 Reviews)
Positive
62%
Mixed
19%
Negative
19%
Members say
Great acting, Entertaining, Ambitious, Slow, Disappointing

About the Show

A rag-tag collection of strippers, hustlers and philosophers have come together to celebrate the iconic burlesque performer Miss Ruby.

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Member Reviews (32)

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35
Unfocused, Pointless, Unengaging, Insipid, Disappointing

See it if you enjoy slice-of-life pieces, heavily populated, w no story arc. The set was impressively squalid, the characters not nearly as convincing

Don't see it if you value a strong script: well-constructed w believable characters and insights. An unwatchable mess.

50
Boring, Ambitious, Dated, Irrelevant

See it if you have an MTC subscription.

Don't see it if you prefer plots to soliloquies. Too ambitious.

Critic Reviews (45)

The New York Times
April 23rd, 2015

"A bright-blazing production...brims with humor and pungent life. It features a flawless cast...Ms. D’Amour’s play has a loose, baggy structure that sometimes works against it, but this aptly reflects the aimlessness of its characters, who live day to day and would rather not think about the unhappy past or the foggy future...the teeming energy that floods the stage helps roll past the more heavy-treading passages."
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Time Out New York
April 23rd, 2015

"Although the characters are familiar in many ways, director Joe Mantello and his accomplished cast breathe spirit into most of them, and the big, boozy party scene has jazzy vigor...'Airline Highway’s' multiple plot threads are pulled out (or forgotten) in a rushed, unsatisfying denouement that resorts to summarizing its message to the audience in the form of a (literal) high-school class presentation. Like the cinder-block–mounted car the play has color and beat-up charm, but doesn’t go anywhere."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
April 23rd, 2015

"A beautiful and mesmerizing kaleidoscope of a play by Lisa D’Amour...In its loving attention to squalid detail, it does a novel’s worth of work."
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The Hollywood Reporter
April 23rd, 2015

"Despite being given a dynamic production with a highly capable cast, this rambling character-driven piece lacks drive and clarity of purpose. While it's a vividly populated canvas, the playwright doesn't do anything much of interest with it...Many in the audience will have lost patience long before then with this disappointing play."
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Entertainment Weekly
April 23rd, 2015

"D’Amour’s writing can be incredibly on-the-nose. Her affection and lack of judgment for the seedy characters within is truly felt. Their aimlessness might translate literally to some audiences while the refreshing lack of melodrama might entice others...Director Joe Mantello has wisely retained most of his first-rate Steppenwolf cast. They make 'Airline Highway' more than worth a one-night stay."
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Variety
April 23rd, 2015

"Like a lot of all-night parties, this one doesn’t stand up to the light. The scribe has installed a well-observed group of misfits and losers in the Hummingbird Motel, a haven for social outcasts. But aside from throwing her makeshift family that state-of-the-art shindig, she doesn’t give them much to do — or let them do anything for themselves...'Airline Highway' comes from a long tradition of waiting-room plays, which see a lot of misery but not much action."
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The Wall Street Journal
April 23rd, 2015

"It’s a wholly derivative piece of work that has been knocked together from refurbished spare theatrical parts...For all its shameless familiarity, the first act of 'Airline Highway' is perfectly watchable, even entertaining...Not so the second act."
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Deadline
April 23rd, 2015

"D’Amour, while clearly sympathetic to her characters, conjures a world too neatly balanced, too eccentric, too oddly wholesome. They’re types, not people. 'Airline Highway' never reaches the status of powerful Katrina post-mortem it seems to be striving for."
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Chicago Tribune
April 23rd, 2015

"D'Amour has done some good work since Chicago...'Airline Highway' does not go for the jugular nor rage with the anger that some in New Orleans legitimately feel...it feels very much like the work of a hometown writer, whose first impulse is affection and surely not cold-eyed analysis. This still is a play that breathes the New Orleans air and, to his credit, Mantello offers a sophisticated reading of those rhythms, jagged and unpredictable, somnolent and then crackling with energy."
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New York Post
April 23rd, 2015

"Hungry for clichés? 'Airline Highway' is chock full of them...overstuffed and unfocused...The play doesn’t know what to do with itself...There’s one fabulous, unexpected scene at the end — Miss Ruby’s address to her troops. Gorgeously lit and hauntingly poetic, it makes you angry for the show’s missed opportunities."
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AM New York
April 23rd, 2015

"'Airline Highway' presents a lively, detailed portrait of a lower class community in the South. But nice as it is to have a wide assortment of colorful characters, the focus too often drifts away from the central players of the plot. It ends with many of the conflicts unresolved."
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NY1
September 13th, 2015

"If you're familiar with the large ensemble plays of Lanford Wilson, you'll find comparisons to 'Airline Highway.' There are also echoes of Tennessee Williams. If 'Airline Highway' doesn't rise to the level of those lauded works, MTC is giving this play a splendid production...'Airline Highway' takes its place among a host of existential works. Extremely thoughtful and poetic, it provides perspective but little new insight on a world that one character describes as 'no B.S., no pretending, no exit.'"
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Talkin' Broadway
April 23rd, 2015

"Its shifting the lens down the social and class scale results in a fascinating collage of personalities on the brink...D'Amour's writing otherwise strains against its own obviousness...Once you've heard a little, you'll want to learn more, but you won't get to know pretty much anyone sufficiently well enough."
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Front Row Center
April 24th, 2015

"Playwright Lisa D’Amour’s script is a slow road to nowhere...Veteran director Joe Mantello does his best to breathe life into the production, skillfully staging the actors across Pask’s fine multi-level set, and firing up a rousing party scene at the start of act two. But in a landscape made infamous by Tennessee Williams, this tale is oddly lacking in poetry.”
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DC Theatre Scene
April 23rd, 2015

"'Airline Highway' is above all a series of interrelated character portraits, although the playwright tries to put a thin narrative frame around those portraits...She writes about characters who others call losers – people who deserve to be represented on stage."
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The Wrap
April 23rd, 2015

"For theatergoers who like big casts that are well directed in huge, rambling plays, a visit to see 'Airline Highway' is recommended...I’m a sucker for big casts, especially very talented ones, which 'Airline Highway' delivers under the expert direction of Joe Mantello...D’Amour should have let 'Airline Highway' ramble more and not tried to tie everything up."
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New York Theatre Guide
April 23rd, 2015

"Lisa D'Amour's script is a slow road to nowhere...In a landscape made infamous by Tennessee Williams, this tale is oddly lacking in poetry. If the Hummingbird is symbolically a fragile nest filled with small lives, its creator left out the tension and passion that could have turned it into a "Motel Named Desire.""
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USA Today
April 23rd, 2015

"In 'Airline Highway' the lyrical, funny, aching new play...all are drawn with both haunting specificity and an utter lack of sentimentality...You may not want to join this family, but you will love and honor its members."
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Newsday
April 23rd, 2015

"We have been down such a road far too often before...D'Amour spells the whole thing out with a plea to 'embrace the incoherence of it all.' I wish I could."
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WNBC
April 23rd, 2015

"A loose-limbed character study by Lisa D’Amour...There aren’t any sort of tidy resolutions in 'Airline Highway,' and we never get the feeling these has-beens at the Humming Bird will pay Miss Ruby any due. They’re stuck, but at least they’re having a swell time."
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The Huffington Post
April 27th, 2015

"Every character is aggressively colorful in Lisa D'Amour's new comic drama Airline Highway. Set in New Orleans, it's like very bad Tennessee Williams, with each new person spouting cold truths, snappy rejoinders and hard-won pearls of wisdom until you long for someone to just show up and not have a backstory or some pain bursting to get out. No such luck."
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C
April 23rd, 2015

"Her intriguing but diffuse new drama is more of a soft-focus snapshot of urban poverty than the powerhouse it could have been...there are just too many characters for a play that can already feel rather diffuse and unfocused."
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As Her World Turns
June 29th, 2015

"Bait Boy’s teenage stepdaughter represents us — the audience — as an outsider trying to understand this community, and her character feels forced. But I love the world of this show and I did not want to say goodbye to these people when the curtain went down. While the whole ensemble is impressive, Julie White and K. Todd Freeman deliver particularly standout performances."
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NJ.com
April 23rd, 2015

"D'Amour's writing unsparingly, unabashedly gets at fundamental aspects of the human condition. There are patches of the drama that drag when everyone talks over one another. But this feels realistic and uncovers something about each character's desire to connect – however scarred they may be – over bonds they've formed and broken in the past...Director Joe Mantello creates a detailed world, with nuanced performances from an ensemble cast."
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Variety
December 15th, 2014
For a previous production

"A nearly unimprovable production...D’Amour’s deep and decidedly soulful work takes us convincingly into the world of strippers, hookers and party-animal bartenders in pursuit of the search for what Miss Ruby, their dying substitute mother, calls “ecstatic experience”...The play doesn’t sugarcoat human misery, although it is also filled with wit and humanity and plenty of energy stemming nonstop from an ensemble that doesn’t have a weak link...It’s a beautiful play."
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Chicago Tribune
December 14th, 2014
For a previous production

"A romantic treatment of the town's colorful loners and outliers and the spontaneous families that spring up among those let down by real relatives. A frequently poetic piece of writing and a fine match for an ensemble-oriented group of distinguished actors who imbue these characters with spunk, spirit and vulnerability. That far — and it's a long way traveled — so very good...It sometimes verges on an unintentional Disney-fication of the dispossessed which needs more edge, and more grit."
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Talkin' Broadway
December 18th, 2014
For a previous production

"Airline Highway is strongly reminiscent of Lanford Wilson's The Hot l Baltimore and to his Balm in Gilead for its look at a community of losers. It's a good addition to the genre, though. New Orleans native D'Amour has a great sense for these people, and Joe Mantello has assembled a superb and mostly Chicago-based cast to bring them to life. "
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Chicago Sun-Times
December 14th, 2014
For a previous production

"This is a hugely ambitious play, streaked with much humor and heartfelt talk. And there is a particularly wonderful sequence in which several of the characters take turns singing “improvised” verses. But really, isn’t there something terribly naive and simplistic about the belief that the souls of the dispossessed are innately nobler than those of the strivers?"
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Time Out Chicago
December 16th, 2014
For a previous production

"These are all deeply recognizable, empathetic performances, and Mantello manages our focus with great skill, but it’s hard to fully invest in the characters in the slow-burning first act. D’Amour often has two or three conversations overlapping, and it can feel like you’re missing information. Airline Highway can seem a bit clogged with traffic, but as an exploration of chosen families stocked with expert performances, it’s a road worth traveling."
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Around The Town Chicago
December 31st, 2014
For a previous production

"Mantello has taken the words of D’Amour and with his own “amour” has painted a picture for us of the outcasts and misfits of the world and how they can make life more interesting than those who lead what we call normal lives. To make this happen, besides the brilliance of the script and story, and the rousing energetic cast, it takes the production staff to fill the whole thing out."
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Stage and Cinema
December 17th, 2014
For a previous production

"D’Amour employs a maddening mix of (supposedly realistic) overlapping banter and cross-talk, as well as dialogue mood swings that raucously lurch from small recollections to big resentments. The ear-splitting result: a kind of “island of lost causes,” a loudmouth Catfish Row fueled by tall tales and short fuses that’s no greater than its parts...Airline Highway (as generic as its title) couldn’t be more interesting to see or more derivative to hear. It’s never condescending, just very, very unfresh."
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Chicago Theatre Review
December 17th, 2014
For a previous production

"Lisa D’Amour’s play is staged with genius and sensitivity by Joe Mantello and performed by an ensemble of extraordinary actors. People everywhere will always be the same, but when offered the chance to improve their lives they become reborn. In this celebration of a life well-lived, a cast of fascinating characters show the audience the importance of enjoying each morsel of life’s banquet, and how to glean every precious moment of wisdom from that experience."
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Chicago Theater Beat
January 19th, 2015
For a previous production

"'Airline Highway' isn’t perfect, not by a long shot. D’Amour seriously undermines the wattage of the drama later in that final act...Life isn’t that simple. Neither are people. But until those last 10 minutes or so, however, 'Airline Highway' is ensemble work at its finest, and a fascinating view of New Orleans you’ll never find in any guide book."
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Windy City Media Group
December 24th, 2014
For a previous production

"Even though Lisa D'Amour purports to flout the Crescent City's reputation as a sodom-and-gomorrah fantasyland, her invocation of the nostalgie de la boue long-associated therewith inadvertently winds up affirming it...There's nothing sadder than watching a play brimming with potential shoot itself in the foot. What a shame if this headed-for-Broadway play was hobbled by audiences puzzling over the motives of a cheap plot device introduced to lend a pretense of social conflict."
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Hyde Park Herald
January 14th, 2015
For a previous production

"D’Amour’s play falls short in a variety of ways...The limited story line is contrived. The characters are more generic than compellingly individual. The stakes aren’t high enough for us to care about them. The quasi-poetic writing at times borders on pretentious and preachy. The hard-to-follow overlapping conversations become tiresome. And, anyway, all this has been done before — and done better, by Wilson, among others...The main reason to see the show is some of the acting."
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S
December 19th, 2014
For a previous production

"'Airline Highway' is easily one of the best new plays I've seen in 2014, a year in which I've seen several excellent ones...This fine new play is well-worth everyone's time, money and consideration. And though it has substantial depth despite ambiguous acuity, 'Airline Highway' is also a whole lotta fun."
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C
January 18th, 2015
For a previous production

"Airline Highway is a sort of extended existential moment, a cross-section of life’s seamy side, an empathic montage of candid snapshots...I liked these well-drawn characters — all of them brought to multifaceted life by a skilled cast under the direction of Joe Mantello — better than I liked this often implausible and seemingly unfinished play. Imagine Jean-Paul Sartre’s “No Exit” without the despair: That’s the drama at hand."
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Chicago Splash
December 21st, 2014
For a previous production

"Alluring yet muddled...Though there is some great work happening on stage I’m not sure what this show is trying to tell us about this specific tribal “family.” I really don’t get what the purpose of this play is. The puzzling amount of mixed messages coming across in "Airline Highway" are as fuzzy and aimless as the lives of the meandering characters that inhibit this play."
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Chicago Critic
December 17th, 2014
For a previous production

"With such a large cast, there isn’t so much of an overarching plot as a series of mini-struggles...Everybody in the cast gives an excellent performance, providing depth to the characters who can only get so much dialogue...You’ll likely come away from this play glad you’re not one of the people in it, but also aware of a part of the world you’re closed off from. And in that regard, Airline Highway lets you think you’ve glimpsed it."
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Chicago Reader
December 17th, 2014
For a previous production

"Alternately stagnant and rousing...One big problem: it's less interested in giving characters fully fleshed-out lives than in teaching a Big Lesson about the importance of embracing the unconventional, defying the expectations of consumerist culture, and suffering the consequences...It's not a bad lesson to learn, as far as it goes, and director Joe Mantello ultimately provides ample reason to care about this bunch, coaxing deeply compassionate performances from all of his actors."
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T
January 10th, 2015
For a previous production

"A sometimes warm, sometimes biting tribute...This ensemble is an incredible force. They are bombastic, deeply flawed and thrilling to watch as each stumbles further from the ideal self they’ve expended such effort to project...Do yourself a favor: see “Airline Highway” onstage, then keep your eyes open for it everywhere you go."
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Chicago Stage Standard
December 24th, 2014
For a previous production

"There are moments when the many themes within the play are voiced strongly, clearly, and empathetically. But the rest of the point is muddled in the mass of ensemble on stage holding six conversations at once. It’s just that none of these conversations are very distinct. What is the play trying to say? Visually engrossing, but the true capacity for connection gets lost somewhere. You feel like a wallflower at a party where everyone thinks you’ve sold out."
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J
December 19th, 2014
For a previous production

"D'Amour needs to fully trust her writing and this solid cast to convey who these characters are, without adding superfluous detail that slows things down, overly granulating already textured stories...D'Amour also struggles with the ending as she tries to sum up with a mighty exclamation point."
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R
January 4th, 2015
For a previous production

"A powerhouse of a new play...Audiences should run, not walk as it has the makings of the next big Chicago transfer...Do not miss 'Airline Highway.' I implore you to spend your time with these misfits, and find yourself in them. There is beauty in this rundown parking lot."
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Newcity Stage
December 14th, 2014
For a previous production

"The show feels like less than the sum of its parts, with little post-curtain resonance...By failing to express either anger at the present moment or hope for the future, the play, like its characters, is a dead end."
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