Review of Florida Studio Theatre performance of Mark St. Germain’s “Becoming Dr. Ruth” with Susan Greenhill as Dr. Ruth
By: Sherry Janes
In an interesting turn of events, Susan Greenhill, who was actually on the Dr. Ruth TV series, now finds herself cast in the role of Dr. Ruth herself. One remarkable woman portraying another. In an almost two hour production without an intermission, Susan, as Dr. Ruth, flawlessly relates the life story of this legendary icon, maintaining her unmistakable German accent.
Following the death of her third husband, the audience is invited into the NYC apartment of Dr. Ruth as she revisits her life. She shares the traumatic separation from her family during the holocaust at the age of 10. However, being sent on her own to a Swiss orphanage became her salvation, as her family disappeared at the hands of the Nazis.
Without family or resources, Karola Ruth Siegel immigrated to Israel, following the end of WWII. She even became a sniper in the Israeli army.
Her unquenchable desire for knowledge, along with her determination to survive and constantly seek joy in her life, takes her from the orphanage for Jewish refugee girls to a career as an internationally known figure. As the chapters of her fascinating life are revealed, one can easily see that this is a most extraordinary person.
After earning her Doctorate degree, she is discovered and invited to host a new show on radio, where she earns the name of Dr. Ruth. On to TV, authoring books and receiving many awards throughout her famous career, she is the embodiment of hope and inspiration.
This is a poignant, moving story that is uniquely shared with a charming sense of humor. You are taken to the point of trying to overcome your emotions one minute to laughing the next. This is a charming portrayal of the legendary Dr. Ruth. Susan Greenhill, as Dr. Ruth, well deserved that instantaneous standing ovation.
From Nazi Germany to American Radio Icon,
FST presents Becoming Dr. Ruth
in the Keating Theatre June 25
(Sarasota, FL) — Florida Studio Theatre announces the opening of the second show in the Summer Mainstage Season Becoming Dr. Ruth, by Mark St. Germain. The show will open in the Keating Theatre June 25 and run through July 27, 2014. Subscriptions to see all three shows of the season can be purchased for as little as $39. Single tickets range from $34-44. Tickets may be purchased online at FloridaStudioTheatre.org, by phone at (941) 366-9000, or by visiting the Box Office.
Witness the heroic journey of Dr. Ruth Westheimer as she revisits her fascinating life after the death of her third husband. From her time as a young child in a Swiss orphanage to her time working as a celebrity sex therapist, Dr. Ruth approaches the chapters of her life with a charming sense of humor. A moving, funny portrayal of one woman’s determination to survive, thrive and keep learning.
Directing the show will be FST’s Associate Director, Kate Alexander. Alexander recently directed the hit show Freud’s Last Session, also written by Mark St. Germain. When asked about her preparation process for this show Alexander stated, “In thinking about Becoming Dr. Ruth, I had a moment. Even with her hard life as a young survivor of WWII, without family and immigrating alone to Israel, she became a sniper in the Israeli Army, and forged an exemplary life study and meaning. She embodies what it means to be alive and continually ‘chooses joy.’ She is witty, funny, and brave, but beneath that is a woman. A woman who chose not to be a victim and not to surrender to the emotions of the catastrophic elements in her life. This direct ability to defy circumstance and choose the life-affirming emotion of joy is quite remarkable and a sustaining force in the play.”
Playing Dr. Ruth is returning FST company member Susan Greenhill. With previous roles including Shirley Valentine, Ficton, Southern Comforts and …And L.A. Is Burning. Greenhill speaks to the task of portraying this life force of a woman. “I look at it as if I’m inviting the audience in to experience my Dr. Ruth. Many actors have played Lincoln or Roosevelt or Golda Meir. Each have put their own stamp or interpretation on it. The most important aspect for me is embodying the heart of the character.”
Dr. Ruth has certainly garnered a reputation in her later years as a feisty yet lovable public figure. However, few know how she became this legendary icon. Becoming Dr. Ruth looks at the intimate and inspiring story of one small body that exudes strength, humor, and above all hope.
ecoming Dr. Ruth will open in the Keating Theatre June 25 and run through July 27, 2014. Subscriptions to see all three shows of the season can be purchased for as little as $39. Single tickets range from $34-44. Tickets may be purchased online at FloridaStudioTheatre.org, by phone at (941) 366-9000, or by visiting the Box Office.
About Florida Studio Theatre
Known as Sarasota’s Contemporary Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre was founded in 1973 by Jon Spelman. Starting out as a small touring company, FST traveled to places such as migrant camps and prisons. The company eventually settled down into a permanent home, acquiring the former Woman’s Club building – now renamed the Keating Theatre. In the years that followed, Florida Studio Theatre established itself as a major force in American Theatre, presenting contemporary theatre in its five theatre venues: the Keating Theatre, the Goldstein Cabaret, the renovated Gompertz Theatre, the John C. Court Cabaret and the new Bowne’s Lab Theatre.
Even with its growth, Florida Studio Theatre remains firmly committed to making the arts accessible and affordable to a broad-based audience. Under Richard Hopkins, Artistic Director and CEO, FST develops theatre that speaks to our living, evolving, and dynamically changing world. As FST grows and expands, it continues to provide audiences with challenging, contemporary drama and innovative programs.