Thursday, July 22, 2010


A major new entertainment experience gets rolling this fall in New York City with the launch of THE RIDE, a multi-media, multi-discipline production that moves guests through midtown Manhattan on custom-built vehicles, while an ever-changing show featuring actors, performers, and everyday citizens unfolds on the streets before them.
With an on-sale date in early August and a September launch, THE RIDE will operate year-round from its home base at the New York Marriott Marquis in the heart of Times Square.

THE RIDE draws on a variety of creative talents from New York City who provide a delightfully wry, satirical, and ultimately loving look at the city in all its fabulous, unvarnished glory.  The production and artistic team includes writers and producers whose credits include television (“Late Night with David Letterman,” “The Colbert Report” and “Saturday Night Live”), and major live entertainment events. Created by Brooklyn-based director, designer and entertainment entrepreneur Michael Counts, THE RIDE features a script by award-winning writer and producer John Bobey, who serves as chief writer and director (“Late Night with David Letterman,” Comedy Central’s “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn” and “Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher,” and “Saturday Night Live”), and writers Kim Gamble (Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” and “Tough Crowd”) and Jack Helmuth (feature film “May the Best Man Win”).

THE RIDE’s specially designed, custom-made vehicles are the tallest allowed by federal law.  Equipped with stadium-style seating that orients riders sideways to look through massive windows, the vehicles encourage audiences to view city streets and building fa├žades as if they were the most expensive and authentic sets ever built.  On-board hosts entertain riders as they travel through the streets of midtown Manhattan, commenting on New York’s history, its iconic sites and structures, while also incorporating actors and performers along the route who interact with the vehicle and its passengers.
“Finally, a game-changer has arrived in New York entertainment,” says THE RIDE President and Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Danforth.  “This is a completely immersive, completely original experience that puts a spin on the way people experience New York by turning the city into an ever-evolving performance.”  Danforth says riders on test versions of THE RIDE were thrilled by the concept that everything and everyone in New York is potentially part of the show.

Performers on THE RIDE vehicles, and those posted along its 4.2-mile route, are drawn from the worlds of stand-up and improvisational comedy, ensuring a unique experience on every trip, and guaranteeing entertainment even when traffic, weather, visiting dignitaries, or other unexpected things tie up city traffic. 

Nothing in New York is spared from THE RIDE’s comedic send-ups, from traffic and tiny apartments to Wall Street executives and the food-cart vendors who feed them.  Surprise guests and characters show up unexpectedly along the route.  Iconic New York sites east and west are featured too – from the Chrysler Building and Grand Central Terminal to Times Square and Columbus Circle.

THE RIDE is about experiencing the fabric of New York – honestly and unflinchingly – through the eyes of talented and truly funny people who love the city and its history, and who have chosen to be life-long residents here,” says company founder Michael Counts.

THE RIDE vehicles provide entertainment on their own – inside and out.  Measuring more than 13 feet high, 45 feet long, and eight feet wide, the custom-built vehicles encompass millions of dollars of custom seating, audio, video, and wireless technology that together provide mind-boggling environments to enhance both the external vistas and the content of each performance.  Powerful directional speakers and exterior lighting allows on-board performers to make everyone on the street part of the experience. 
“The fun and magic of THE RIDE is the interaction between the riders and people on the street,” says writer/director John Bobey.  “Our passengers can be seen by everyone outside and vice versa.  People smile, wave, blow kisses, and, well…other things happen too.”

Engineers from LDV Bus Converter Company who designed and built THE RIDE vehicles say they met the challenge by reshaping and “amping up” rock-star-size tour buses, developing custom fiberglass molds so unique, three are now patented. 

“Bringing Michael Counts’ vision to life was an awesome challenge that inspired the whole team here at LDV – we took these enormous vehicles and made them bigger,” says engineer Jason Gulky.  “Once they were in the studio, we stripped them down to their skeletal structures, raised their roofs more than a foot, installed hundreds of feet of tubing to accommodate miles of wire, and rebuilt the interior to accommodate three rows of stadium-style seating, nine tons of HVAC capacity, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of audio, video and wireless equipment.”

Sound designer Brett Jarvis, of Jarvis Sound and Music Design, says the biggest challenge in outfitting the vehicles with crystalline sound and audio was “cramming an IMAX theater’s worth of equipment into a rolling room the size of a small studio apartment.”  With more than 3,000 LED lights and a surround-sound system that can emulate everything from an A-train rumble to Studio 54, Jarvis says the vehicles give riders “a wonderful sensory overload, not unlike sitting on the Jumbotron at Madison Square Garden.”

Above and beyond the technical wizardry designed to wow riders and spectators alike, CEO

Jonathan Danforth says THE RIDE’s unique perspective on New York – and the people who make it come alive – will indelibly bond riders with the world’s greatest city.

Individual and group tickets for THE RIDE go on sale in early August, and will be available three ways: online at; by phone at (866) 299-9682; and in person at THE RIDE Box office located at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel, 1535 Broadway between 45th and 46th Streets.

Rehearsals of THE RIDE take place in August and September, with media previews planned in September.  (For reservations, see the MEDIA CONTACTS section below.) 
THE RIDE is supported by a comprehensive media and promotional campaign, including paid and collaborative advertising, promotions with major media sponsors, national publicity, and an aggressive social media/word-of-mouth campaign designed to reach target audiences.

The New York Marriott Marquis, located on Broadway between 45th and 46th Streets in the heart of Times Square, is the home of THE RIDE.  In addition to being the starting and ending points for THE RIDE, Marriott Marquis has an on-site box office at the Broadway Baby NY Gift Shop.

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