Categories: Mimi Sells, THE BUZZ

THE BUZZ: Take ‘Ride’ for a Spin at the Old Globe. But you have to hurry!

By Mimi Sells

April 10, 2024

Livvy Marcus as Martha and Alex Finke as Annie in Ride, 2024. Photo by Jim Cox.

Run, don’t walk, to the Old Globe for the fabulous “Ride: A New Musical.” Be ready to be swept away by the astonishing tale of Annie Londonderry ( the real Annie Cohen Kopchovsky), the first woman to claim to circumnavigate the world on a bike. In 1894!  

Before women had the vote, before even the idea of women’s liberation, Annie climbed on a bike, jettisoned the traditional hoop skirts and the “impediments” of her husband and children back home in Boston, and undertook a 15-month journey of wild derring-do and self-promotion. Along the way she shattered conventional wisdom about a woman’s role and seized her independence by two-wheeling – and wheeling and dealing – her way through the world..

This bike ride was a world-changing event. Suffragist Susan B. Anthony was quoted as saying “the bicycle has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.”

But “Ride” isn’t a political polemic or a stodgy, self-righteous piece of theater.  Instead, it is a thrilling, inventive and rollickingly-paced musical that breaks new ground for its creative energy, execution and staging.

Did I mention that there are only two people in “Ride”? Well, that’s because you barely notice it as the two wildly talented actors inhabit multiple characters and emotional states with the merest of costume and set changes. And, of course, there’s a bicycle! 

Livvy Marcus as Martha in Ride, 2024. Photo by Jim Cox.

Alex Finke, playing Annie, is a non-stop singing, wise-cracking, perpetual motion machine who creates both the outlandish alter ego of Annie Londonderry and the brow-beaten, bereft Annie Cohen Kopchovsky who escapes her tenement life for a 15-month, barrier-busting wheels up adventure.

Livvy Marcus, who plays Martha, is her side-kick, straight man, and always transforming partner. And Marcus, too, can sing her lungs out in the most surprising ways..

Ride’ is a 90-minute, no intermission, tour de force of acting, singing, stagecraft and magic (yes there’s magic, too).  It was a smash hit in London in 2023 with the book written by Freya Catrin Smith  and music and lyrics by Freya Catrin Smith and Jack Williams. 

While San Diego’s Old Globe Theater may be hosting  the American Premiere, “Ride: A New Musical” will surely spin its wheels all the way to Broadway.  Catch it while you can! It ends April 28.

For more about Annie Londonderry’s wild ride, read Annie Kopchovsky Cohen’s story in the New York Times article.

Ride at the Old Globe Theatre
March 30-April 28

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