Happenings Lifestyle Reader Contributed

Jewish Family Services Hosting Performance of ‘RIPTIDE’ at JCC in West Hartford

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A meet and greet will be held following the performance on Wednesday, April 17.


Jewish Family Services of Greater Hartford is excited to present “RIPTIDE,” written and performed by Julie Ridge, at the Mandell JCC of Greater Hartford in West Hartford on Wednesday, April 17 at 6:30 p.m. We would greatly appreciate your attendance at this event to help raise awareness about mental health through Julie’s inspirational story.

Ridge’s performance will be followed by a meet & greet with kosher refreshments in the Chase Family Gallery. Please visit the JFS Events page to learn more and purchase tickets ($18).

About the Show:

On Sept. 9, 1982, on her 25th birthday, Julie Ridge became the 242nd person to swim from England to France. In April of 1991 Ridge unceremoniously received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder I and was hospitalized for 21 days.

Act I of RIPTIDE tells the story of how a casual mile-a-day pool swimmer became an English Channel swimmer in nine short months and her 17 hour, 55 minute zig-zag journey across those grey murky seas. Act II tells the less glamorous story of a world-record holding endurance athlete/author/Broadway actor, who wakes up one not-so-fine day floridly manic, locked down on an unforgiving NYC psychiatric ward – and her arduous journey back to sanity and a fulfilling life.

RIPTIDE is written and performed by Julie Ridge. The staged reading in two acts was first produced Off Broadway in NYC in 2018, reprised for the 2021 and 2022 United Solo Festival Off Broadway, and performed at Temple Israel in Sharon Mass and the Sedona Festival in 2023.

About Julie:

Julie Ridge swam the English Channel in 1982, became the first person to swim two consecutive non-stop laps around Manhattan Island in ’83 (earning her a guest appearance on the David Letterman Show); completed the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon in ’84; and swam into the Guinness Book of World Records in 1985 by swimming one 28.5 mile lap around Manhattan each day for five consecutive days. From 1982-1991 she was a key member of the Manhattan Island Swimming Association, the organizing and sanctioning body for swims around Manhattan. Julie was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 1985. In 1990 she bicycled across America with her father, Frank Ridge.

Ridge earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Acting from Boston University in 1978 and her Masters of Social Work from Columbia University in 1994. She has performed on Broadway in “Oh! Calcutta!,” is a published author and has been a foster and adoptive parent to special needs children. In 2013, Julie established the Frank Ridge Memorial Foundation Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to living well with mental health conditions through awareness and understanding, in loving memory of her father. In 2018, her one-woman show RIPTIDE (previously titled “BIPOLAR & THE ENGLISH CHANNEL”) premiered Off Broadway at the Studio Theater in New York City.

RIPTIDE was reprised Off Broadway in the 2021 and 2022 United Solo Theater Festival, and again in 2023 at the Sedona Festival and Temple Israel in Sharon Mass. Zac Norrington’s short documentary film “BREATHE,” featuring the intersection of Ridge’s double swim around Manhattan Island and her life with bipolar disorder, debuted at the NYCDOC Film Festival in 2022 and was presented at the 15th Annual prestigious ReelAbilities Film Festival in 2023.

Currently, Ridge works as a licensed psychiatric social worker, designing and facilitating learning seminars for continuing education contact hours for mental health care professionals in New York. She is proud mom to Jason Peterson-Ridge. Ridge lives well with bipolar disorder.

Questions? Please reach out to our Community Mental Health Liaison at [email protected]. We hope to see you there!

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