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New Jewish Theatre’s ‘Becoming Dr. Ruth’ Shows Sex Therapist in New Light

Debra Jo Rupp in the 2013 production of Dr. Ruth

There’s more to renowned sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer than meets the eye, according to the New Jewish Theater promo of Mark St. Germain’s ‘Becoming Dr. Ruth.’

Westheimer, who pioneered radio sex therapy in the 1980s, was a refugee from Nazi Germany, escaping to England on the Kindertransport. She later joined the Haganah, came to America, and got married three times.

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“We learn that there is much more to the 4’7 matronly therapist than meets the eye, ” according to the NJT, which invites you to join her on this humorous, hope-filled journey, with the honesty and the life affirming spirit of the girl who became “Dr. Ruth.”

Actress Susie Wall, who plays Dr. Ruth Westheimer in Mark St. Germain’s one-woman drama (the actress in our illustration image is Debra Jo Rupp in the 2013 production of the play), told NPR she’s not impersonating the famed sex therapist, which isn’t a simple feat considering that famous heavy German accent and jovial mannerisms, which practically invite a comic impersonation.

“People want to talk about sex and suddenly here was a little matronly woman who did and (she’s) not threatening. And she made them laugh, ” Wall said.

“The issue is for it not to be an impersonation, ” director Jerry McAdams told NPR. “The most important thing is she is so well known that if you try to be Dr. Ruth in kind of a cartoonish sense, you’ll lose the audience. This is a terrific actress who’s doing a really good script.”



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