Sold Out Hit, “Dr. Ruth, All the Way” returns to Barrington Stage Sept. 19 to Oct. 7

Debra Jo Rupp plays Dr. Ruth Westheimer in the play about the sex therapist’s long and interesting life. KevinSprague photos.

When Mark St.Germain’s autobiographical show about Dr. Ruth began its run in the smaller of the two Barrington Stage theatres, they figured chances were good that it would play to decent sized audiences. But with Dr. Ruth in town, Debra Jo Rupp’s brilliant portrayal of the famed sex therapist, not to mention the fistfuls of great reviews (read the Burns and Murray Review), the world premiere engagement became a sold out phenomenon, and one of the summer’s most difficult tickets to obtain. It seems everyone was curious about her real life, from Nazi survivor, to sniper, to mom. Only Brad Cooper playing The Elephant Man in Williamstown got as many tongues wagging, and phones ringing off the hook.

But when push came to shove, they could not extend the run of Dr. Ruth, All the Way, other shows had long been slated to fill the St.Germain stage on Linden Street. So it completed it run and closed. Some 4000 lucky ticket holders had managed to see it.

But now Julianne Boyd, Artistic Director, and Tristan Wilson, Managing Director, are planning to present a fall return of Dr. Ruth, All The Way Boyd directed the original produciton. Again starring stage, film and television actress Debra Jo Rupp (That 70s Show), Dr. Ruth, All the Way will run from September 19 – October 7 at St. Germain Stage (formerly Stage 2) at the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 36 Linden Street, Pittsfield.

“We are thrilled that our audiences have embraced Dr. Ruth, All the Way and look forward to sharing Dr. Ruth’s life story and Debra Jo Rupp’s amazing performance with many more people this fall,” said Artistic Director Julianne Boyd. In the interim, some tightening of the original script have been made, and the slightly changed show will have a second press opening on Sunday, September 23 at 3pm.

No specifics yet, but rumors continue to fly about this production going to New York City. The most credible source of this possibility: Dr. Ruth herself. Seen here is Debra Jo Rupp using the background of Times Square to tell about Dr. Ruth’s life in New York City. Photos: Kevin Sprague.

About the Play

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.

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 and joining the Haganah in Jerusalem as a scout and sniper, 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 Karola Ruth Siegel, the girl who became “Dr. Ruth,” the internationally known radio and TV “sepxert.”

The Production

The design team includes Brian Prather (sets/projections), Scott Pinkney (lights), Jennifer Moeller (costumes), Gabriella Pollino-Rodman (wigs) and Jessica Paz (sound). Kate J. 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 has performed at Williamstown Theatre Festival in True West and A Flea in Her Ear, 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). 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.

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, played 775 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. 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. 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) 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), Follies (2005), the world premiere musical The Game, based on Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Mack and Mabel, A Little Night Music, 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 My Name Is Alice (Outer Critics’ Award) and its sequel 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 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 Wednesday-Friday at 7:30pm, Saturday at 4pm and 8pm, and Sunday at 3pm. Tickets: $40-$49. barringtonstageco.org Box Office: (413) 236-8888.

One thought on “Sold Out Hit, “Dr. Ruth, All the Way” returns to Barrington Stage Sept. 19 to Oct. 7

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