Review: ‘Ride Sally Ride’ at B Street Theatre

Ride Sally Ride

Two aviation legends kick down some aviation doors.

Two aviation legends kick down some aviation doors.

Photo courtesy of B Street Theatre

Sat 1pm, Sun 1pm & 4pm; Through 2/29; $19-$24; B Street Theatre, 2700 Capitol Ave., (916) 443-5300,
Rated 4.0

B Street Family Series’ newest production celebrates women who literally reached for the stars. Ride Sally Ride, written by local playwrights Tara Sissom and Katerina Pruitt, traces the rocky road and eventual accomplishments of Sally Ride, the first American woman in space.

The play spotlights Ride’s struggles to be taken seriously from her young life through her eventual acceptance into NASA astronaut training. With a creative touch, the play imagines Ride (Brittni Barger) gaining a supportive shadow figure in the form of another female aviation legend—Amelia Earhart (Elisabeth Nunziato), who helps Ride along her journey.

The production elements are very creative—from Earhart’s three-piece wings-and-nose airplane to the sights and sounds of the space shuttle Challenger launch. Both Barger and Nunziato give engaging portrayals of these heroes of flight.

What makes the B Street Family Series so engaging is how the productions usually involve the young audience members—at times speaking directly to them, making asides in their direction and asking them to participate in cheers and sometimes jeers.

And Ride Sally Ride is no exception—the young audience cheers when Ride is selected into the NASA astronaut program, they help with the countdown of the space shuttle launch, and particularly gratifying is their instant reactive guffaws and groans when sexist comments are made, such as science is “a man’s field,” girls should only take home economics, or a woman’s ultimate goal is marriage.

Amelia and Sally both would be mighty impressed with the young audience’s instinctive recognition of inequality.