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Becoming Dr. Ruth

a One Woman Show
CATEGORY : COMEDY
by Mark St. Germain

COMPANY : ART Station Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : ART Station Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 4990

SHOWING : November 03, 2016 - November 20, 2016

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Everyone knows Dr. Ruth Westheimer – from her career as a pioneering radio and television sex therapist. Few, however, know the incredible journey that preceded it. From fleeing the Nazis in the Kindertransport to Switzerland, to joining the Haganah in Jerusalem as a sniper, to her struggle to succeed as a single mother newly arrived in America, Mark St. Germain deftly illuminates this remarkable woman’s untold story. "Becoming Dr. Ruth" is filled with the humor, honesty, and life-affirming spirit of Karola Ruth Siegel, the girl who became “Dr. Ruth,” America’s most famous sex therapist.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director David Thomas
Dr. Ruth Westheimer Judy Leavell
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REVIEWS

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Née Karola Siegel
by playgoer
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
4.0
Dr. Ruth Westheimer has led an eventful life. "Becoming Dr. Ruth" traces that life from Nazi-era Germany to her height of fame, using as its setting the apartment she is preparing to move from following her husband’s death. In packing up, she comes across various items that trigger memories from her past, which she then imparts to the audience (acknowledging them as "company"). It’s an eminently workable playwriting device.

The set at Art Station is a lovely representation of a cluttered New York apartment, designed by Michael Hidalgo. Bookcases and dollhouses fill the periphery of the room, and myriad props fill the bookcases and dollhouses. A special feature is a large-screen computer monitor upstage center that acts as a window except when it displays enlarged images of photos Dr. Ruth is viewing. The technology of the screen and of the sound system are excellent examples of the first-rate work Mr. Hidalgo consistently produces.

David Thomas has directed the show to use the full extent of the stage in a very natural manner. Judy Leavell, speaking in an approximation of Dr. Ruth’s German accent, travels the stage with ease, somehow appearing shorter than she actually is. Her performance is ingratiating and sweet, but at the performance I attended she had several episodes of struggling with transitions into new story segments. It’s only those awkward moments that detract from Art Station’s production.

Dr. Ruth Westheimer had a traumatic childhood and pursued various endeavors in various countries before becoming a sex therapist who achieved media fame. It’s not an overly dramatic life, but it has been dramatized ably by Mark St. Germain. Judy Leavell and David Thomas, along with a crackerjack technical team, have brought it fully to life on the Art Station stage. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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