Billy Hayes' RIDING THE MIDNIGHT EXPRESS Opens Tonight at St. Luke's Theatre
First he wrote the best-selling book. Then came the Oscar-winning movie. Now Billy Hayes comes to the New York stage with his powerful one-man show, RIDING THE MIDNIGHT EXPRESS with BILLY HAYES, directed by John Gould Rubin.
After captivating audiences in preview performances at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Hayes will appear in a limited run at the St. Luke's Theatre (308 West 46th Street) in the heart of New York's theatre district, now through March 23rd, before heading back to the British Isles for a special engagement at London's "Soho Theater."
Hayes' story became an instant legend with the publication of his best-selling book, MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, in 1976 and the release of the OSCARÒwinning movie in 1978. For the first time on the live stage, Hayes recounts the five years he spent in a Turkish prison and his brazen escape. He reveals aspects of his adventures never before told, elaborates on many instances portrayed in the film version, and corrects some of the plot-lines and scenes that were fictionalized for the movie - especially the actual, true story of his harrowing, white-knuckle escape.
Since Billy escaped in 1975, he has spoken about his ordeal on television, in classrooms and lecture halls, even back in Turkey. But he has never spoken about it in a theatrical setting, until now. RIDING THE MIDNIGHT EXPRESS with BILLY HAYES was originally presented at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
RIDING THE MIDNIGHT EXPRESS With BILLY HAYES, written by Billy Hayes and directed by John Gould Rubin, will run at the St. Lukes Theatre, 308 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036. Tickets are $66.50 & $39.50. Premium Seats Available. For performance schedule, more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.ridingthemidnightexpress.com or www.telecharge.com, or call 212-239-6200.
TONIGHT, February 5th at 8:00pm
Friday, February 7th at 5:00pm
Saturday, February 8th at 11:00pm
Sunday, February 9th at 2:00pm
BILLY HAYES was a middle class kid growing up in a suburb on Long Island in the Sixties (yes, those Sixties: Free Love. Political Protests. Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n Roll) when he went off to college to study journalism. While at Marquette University, Billy realized that the best inspiration for a writer is to experience what he writes about first hand. So he decided to follow the advice of the ultimate guru of the time, Timothy Leary, to "turn on, tune in and drop out".
Billy rode motorcycles across Europe and ran with the bulls in Pamplona. And he made a decision that would change his life in ways he never imagined. He began to smuggle hashish from Turkey, selling it to his friends back in the United States. Until he was arrested at the Istanbul airport in October 1970 with two kilos of the stuff taped to his body. Whoops! Hayes was sentenced by the Turkish court to 30 years in prison. Not exactly the experience he was looking for.
Five years later, in October 1975, Billy Hayes escaped from Imrali Island Prison in a daring effort that began by rowing 17 miles across the Sea of Marmara in a raging storm. On returning home, he finally got his chance to become a writer. In 1976 Hayes' best-selling book chronicling his time in prison and his escape, Midnight Express, was published and translated into 18 languages. In 1978 it was made into an OscarÒwinning motion picture starring Brad Davis as Billy. Billy Hayes became an iconic figure in American culture and his name became etched in media lore.
Since tHen Hayes has had an extensive career as an actor, director, screenwriter and public speaker and continues to write in a variety of media and formats. In early 2013 Hayes published The Midnight Express Letters: From a Turkish Prison 1970-1975. The third book in his trilogy, MidnightReturn, which explores his life after prison and the parallel lives of those he left behind, has just been released.
Hayes credits the Yoga he practiced every day while he was incarcerated with getting him through the hard times and keeping him centered. He frequently advocates for prison Yoga programs throughout the country. Hayes met his wife, Wendy West, at the Cannes Film Festival when MidnightExpress premiered there in 1978. They have been married since 1980 and live in Los Angeles. For more information, including video clips, go towww.billyhayes.com
John Gould Rubin is a producer as well as a director and is presently the Artistic Director of The Private Theatre, for whom he directed a radical, site-specific Hedda Gabbler in a townhouse for 25 and a sexually explicit production of August Strindberg's Playing with Fire at The Box, the notorious burlesque house. This summer he directed "Double Indemnity" at The Old Globe in San Diego. He is the former Artistic/Executive Director of LAByrinth Theater Company, for whom he directed eight shows including premieres by John Patrick Shanley and Erin Cressida Wilson, and produced Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train Off Broadway, commercially, at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, at Donmar Warehouse and on London's West End; and Our Lady of 121st Street for LAByrinth and Off Broadway. Recent productions he directed include The Caucasian Chalk Circle (to be remounted this coming winter), The Seagull and, last season, the musical The Fartiste. He produced the tour of Stephen Dillane's one-man Macbeth in London, Sydney and New Zealand. Last summer Mr. Rubin developed a radical Peer Gynt based around the British, wheel chair using actor Neil Hancock for The International Ibsen Festival in Oslo and a bilingual workshop of Ximena Escalante's revolutionary Electra Despierta at California Institute of the Arts. He is presently in development for a Broadway musical about the transition from swing to bebop via the life of Dexter Gordon and Turn Me Loose, a one-man show about Dick Gregory. He is also developing two pieces, one about Sargent Shriver and another about the contemporary American political polarization. In addition, he is developing a reinvestigation of Bertolt Brecht's Drums in the Night in collaboration between The Private Theatre and Classical Theater of Harlem.
The show is produced by Barbara Ligeti whose theatrical experience covers decades of one-man shows including launching the early career of Eric Bogosian; the post 911 rant, Reno, Rebel Without a Pause; Margo Jefferson's 60 Minutes in Negroland and last year's Cherry Lane Theater presentation of Turning Page. Other credits include - stage -Broadway and regional - 3 Tony nominated plays - Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, 'Night, Mother, Hurlyburly (in LA starring Sean Penn and Danny Aiello). Off Broadway - Ruby Dee in Saint Lucy's Eyes, Havana Is Waiting, Made In Heaven, and Psycho Therapy. Film/TV - "Motorama," Robert Downey's "Hugo Pool," "Ebenezer" (TNT), "Forever Fabulous" (Lifetime Cable), "Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam" (HB0 - Peabody Award) and "Better Living With Oz Garcia" (a series for the Lime Channel which Ligeti also directed).