You might think you know Dr. Ruth, but do you?
Having escaped the Nazis by Kindertransport, serving as a sniper in Palestine, and finally, finding fame as America’s best-known sex therapist, this riveting one-woman show moves beyond the superficial aura of celebrity to examine Dr. Ruth’s remarkable story—a life lived for others in defiance of the evil that took her parents and radically altered her life’s trajectory.
riveting…an inspiring look at an intriguing personality who has lived an extraordinary life.
As the play begins, Dr. Ruth (Naomi Jacobson) greets the audience from the living room of her Manhattan apartment, surrounded by large, white boxes stacked like mountains. Designed by Paige Hathaway, the set also features piles of memorabilia strewn on the floor—disarray that indicates Dr. Ruth is packing up to move on in one of the many transitions she has faced in her life. The boxes, however, hold a bit of their own magic. As her tale unfolds, she opens them to reveal miniature glimpses of scenes from her past. Thanks to Colin K. Bills’ expert lighting, the shadowboxes, although small, are easily seen from a distance.
Only a brief portion of the story is devoted to Dr. Ruth’s best-known role of radio show host, but there too, humor and insights into her character and motivations abound. It becomes apparent that the people who called into her show, as well as those who routinely tuned in to listen, trusted the charming and straightforward Dr. Ruth in large part because she rejected the use of euphemistic language on a subject that most of us are more comfortable cloaking in substitute terms.
Helen Hayes Award-winner, Naomi Jacobson (Dr. Ruth), embodies the feisty and fabulous Ruth K. Westheimer with a mastery of her mannerisms and accent that lend authenticity to the proceedings. Written by Mark St. Germain and directed by Holly Twyford, this production of “Becoming Dr. Ruth” is an inspiring look at an intriguing personality who has lived an extraordinary life. We’ve waited a long time to safely enjoy live theatre again. If you’re considering venturing back yourself, this production will make you wonder how we survived so long without it.
Running Time: Approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.
“Becoming Dr. Ruth” runs through October 24, 2021 at Theater J, 1529 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here. For Theater J’s Covid policy and safety guidelines, please click here.