Riding the Midnight Express with Billy Hayes

Following two critically acclaimed runs Off-Broadway and after sold out engagements in Edinburgh, London, Melbourne, Australia and Beirut, Lebanon, Billy Hayes is again taking his riveting one-man show back on tour. In this “engrossing”, “spellbinding” performance, Billy recounts the true story of his time in Turkish prisons and his brazen, harrowing escape. It’s an epic journey of self-discovery, a cautionary, yet uplifting tale of desperation, determination and personal transformation.

Hayes, a journalism student at Marquette University, wanted to experience the world so he could write about it. But when he was arrested at the Istanbul airport in 1970 with two kilos of hashish taped to his body, the Turkish High Court sentenced him to life in prison. Not exactly the experience he was looking for. Five years later, Billy escaped from Imrali Island prison in the dead of night – rowing 17 miles across the Sea of Marmara in a raging storm.

On his return to the US, Hayes wrote Midnight Express. Published in 18 languages, the book was an instant bestseller. When the iconic film was released in 1978, Billy Hayes became a mythical figure – a modern-day Billy The Kid. 40 years after his notorious escape, Hayes remains a cultural anti-hero known throughout the world.

If you’ve seen the movie, you might think you know Billy’s story. But you probably don’t. Midnight Express didn’t win any Oscars® for factual accuracy. While the film was about prison – a chilling exploration of the depths of incarceration in a foreign land – Riding the Midnight Express with Billy Hayes is about the prisoner. It’s an intimate, gripping memoir that can only be told by the man who lived it. For more information, including video clips, visit the official show website.


“A SENSATIONAL STORY…Intrinsic Power…Engrossing…”
-The New York Times

“Spellbinding…Charismatic…Hayes is a master storyteller”
-Times Square Chronicles

“Prime edge-of-the-seat stuff”

“A profound and illuminating theatrical experience that will leave you uplifted and inspired. The is a performance not to be missed.”

“A remarkable tale which Hayes articulates with great charm, humor and energy. Part memoir, part thriller, part philosophical contemplation of freedom, this absorbing story proves Hayes to be a fascinating character and charismatic storyteller.”
-ThreeWeeks, Edinburgh