With three special events that will give Berkshire residents a chance to meet and ask questions of Dr. Ruth Westheimer, tickets are being snapped up for the new play about her life – Dr. Ruth, All the Way – whose first preview performance is June 19.
While area residents have always been a major component of the Barrington Stage audience, this brand new play about Dr. Ruth Westheimer seems to have touched a special spot in everyone’s hearts. And it can’t hurt that a major talent like Debra Jo Rupp is playing Westheimer on stage. It will likely be her toughest challenge yet. Who can duplicate Dr. Ruth’s wonderfully weird accent, or that indelible smile! Rehearsals are already underway.
Meanwhile, interest in this new play has stimulated a favorable public response at the box office, making it necessary to extend the play deeper into the company’s summer season. Being in the smaller of Barrington’s two stages,I would suggest that it’s not a good idea to wait until the last minute if you want to see it.
News of the extended run came from Julianne Boyd, Artistic Director, and Tristan Wilson, Managing Director. The dates are now from June 19 through July 21 at St. Named after the playwright Mark St. Germain – who wrote Dr. Ruth, All the Way, – performances take place on the Germain Stage (formerly Stage 2) in the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 36 Linden Street, Pittsfield. Opening Night is Saturday, June 30 at 8pm.
The play is being directed by Boyd, and features stage, film and television actress Debra Jo Rupp (That 70s Show – complete bio below) in the title role. In addition three very special events have been planned for those wishing to see and hear Dr. Ruth in person.
June 29. BOOK SIGNING WITH DR. RUTH. Friday at 4pm. Dr. Ruth Westheimer will sign her new book Sexually Speaking: What Every Woman Needs to Know about Sexual Health as well as her witty and touching book Musically Speaking: A Life Through Song. Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 555 Hubbard Avenue, Pittsfield, MA.
July 2. TALKING SEX WITH DR. RUTH. Moderated by playwright Mark St. Germain, Mainstage, 30 Union Street, Pittsfield. Monday at 7pm. Join America’s favorite sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer for a brief talk followed by a Q&A as she answers all your most pressing questions. Buy a VIP ticket and join us for a special post-show Chocolate & Champagne reception with Dr. Ruth. Tickets: $35 and $25; VIP: $75. All proceeds will benefit BSC’s New Works Initiative.
July 3. POST SHOW DISCUSSION WITH DR. RUTH. St. Germain Stage (formerly Stage 2) at the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 36 Linden Street, Pittsfield. Following the Tuesday 7:30pm performance of Dr. Ruth, All the Way.
View from the Director’s Table
“We are thrilled to be presenting the sixth world premiere by BSC Associate Artist Mark St Germain,” said Artistic Director Julianne Boyd. “Working on Dr. Ruth, All the Way with Mark, Debra Jo Rupp and Dr. Ruth has been an exhilarating experience. We are moved and honored that Dr. Ruth has allowed us to tell her life story, one filled with humor, sadness, longing but above all else, resilience.”
Dr. Ruth, All the Way is the first commission of Barrington Stage’s New Works Initiative. This commission is courtesy of Sydelle and Lee Blatt & Rosita Sarnoff and Beth Sapery.
Dr. Ruth’s Amazing Journey
Everyone knows the pioneering radio and television sex therapist Dr. Ruth but few know the incredible journey that preceded it. From fleeing the Nazis in the Kindertransport to joining the Haganah in Jerusalem, to her struggles to succeed as a single mother coming to America, Dr. Ruth, All the Way is filled with the humor, honesty and life-affirming spirit of Korola Ruth Siegel, the girl who became “Dr. Ruth.”
The team for the show
The design team includes Brian Prather (sets/projections), Scott Pinkney (lights), Jennifer Mueller (costumes), Gabriella Pollino-Rodman (wigs) and Jessica Paz (sound).Kate Cudworth is production stage manager.Debra Jo Rupp (Dr. Ruth) BSC: Ring ‘Round the Moon, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Laramie Project. Debra Jo Rupp is never happier than when she is performing on stage in the Berkshires, close to home. She has performed at Williamstown Theatre Festival in True West and A Flea in Her Ear; at the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Mornings at Seven; and the Chester Theatre Company production of Lee Blessings’ Body of Water.
In New York, Debra Jo has appeared on Broadway with Kathleen Turner and Charles Durning in the 1990 revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. She starred Off-Broadway in Cynthia Heimel’s A Girl’s Guide to Chaos (American Place), Frankie and Johnny in The Clair de Lune (Westside Arts) and The Butcher of Baraboo (Second Stage). Other Regional: Blithe Spirit and The Middle Ages (Whole Theatre Co.), Taking Steps(Virginia Stage Co.), Wall of Water (Yale Rep), Noises Off (Cape Playhouse), Moonlight and Valentino (Shafer Theatre).Debra Jo has made over 300 television and film appearances and is probably best known for her role as “Kitty Forman” on the hit series “That 70’s Show”.
Her feature films include playing Jay Baruchel’s mom in She’s Out of My League, Kickin It Old Skool, Air Buddies, Clockwatchers with Toni Collette and Parker Posey, Spymate, Lucky 13, Sgt. Bilko with Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd, and her first film Big with Tom Hanks.
Among her notable television appearances are booking agent “Katie” on “Seinfeld”, Phoebe’s sister-in-law on “Friends” and “From the Earth to the Moon” (dir. Sally Field), “ER”, “The Office” and “Better With You” to name a few.Mark St. Germain (Playwright) is the acclaimed playwright of The Best of Enemies and Freud’s Last Session. Freud’s Last Session, Barrington Stage Company’s longest running play, has played over 700 performances Off-Broadway, and has been performed nationally and internationally. He’s written Ears on a Beatle (BSC),The God Committee (BSC) and Out of Gas on Lover’s Leap. Other plays include Camping with Henry and Tom (Outer Critics Circle Award and Lucille Lortel Award) and Forgiving Typhoid Mary.
Mark co-wrote the screenplay for Carroll Ballard’s Warner Brothers film, Duma. He most recently directed and produced the documentary My Dog, An Unconditional Love Story, featuring Richard Gere, Lynn Redgrave and Glenn Close among many others. It was chosen to be the first documentary shown on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Television credits include Writer and Creative Consultant for The Cosby Show, Life Stories and Dick Wolf’s Crime and Punishment. With Randy Courts, he has written the musicals The Gifts of the Magi, Johnny Pye and the Foolkiller, winner of an AT&T “New Plays for the Nineties Award,” both produced at the Lamb’s Theater, NYC.
Jack’s Holiday was produced at Playwrights Horizons. Mark’s musical, Stand By Your Man – The Tammy Wynette Story was created for Nashville’s Ryman Theater and has toured nationally. Mark wrote the children’s book Three Cups, illustrated by April Willy. He is an alumnus of New Dramatists where he was given the Joe A. Callaway Award, a member of the Dramatists Guild and the Writer’s Guild East. He was awarded the “New Voices in American Theatre” award at the William Inge Theatre Festival. Mark is a Board Member and Associate Artist at Barrington Stage Company.Julianne Boyd (Director) co-founded the Barrington Stage Company in January, 1995. Her directorial credits at BSC include last season’s critically acclaimed production of The Best of Enemies, Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2010), A Streetcar Named Desire (2009), the 2005 production of Follies, the world premiere musical The Game, based on Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Mack and Mabel, Cyrano de Bergerac and The Importance of Being Earnest. In 1997 she directed BSC’s smash hit production of Cabaret, which won six Boston Theatre Critics Awards and transferred to the Hasty Pudding Theatre in Cambridge for an extended run. Ms. Boyd conceived and directed the Broadway musical Eubie!, a show based on the music of Eubie Blake which starred Gregory Hines and garnered three Tony nominations. She also co-conceived and directed (with Joan Micklin Silver) the award-winning Off-Broadway musical revue A…My Name Is Alice (Outer Critics’ Award) and its sequel A…My Name Is Still Alice. From 1992 to 1998 Ms. Boyd served as President of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, the national union representing professional directors and choreographers in the U.S.
Dr. Ruth, All the Way is sponsored by Esta and Kenneth Friedman and sponsored in part by Dr. Arthur and Terry Wasser.
Dr. Ruth, All The Way will be presented at the St. Germain Stage (formerly Stage 2) at the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 36 Linden Street, Pittsfield. Performances are Tuesday-Friday at 7:30pm, Thursday at 3pm (excluding June 21), Saturday at 4pm (no 4pm on June 23 and June 30) and 8pm, Sunday at 3pm. Please note Saturday, July 7 evening performance is at 7:30pm. Opening Night: Saturday, June 30 at 8pm. Tickets: $15-$49. Seniors: $28 all matinees. Website: barringtonstageco.org