BWW Review: BECOMING DR. RUTH at Florida Repertory Theatre

BWW Review: BECOMING DR. RUTH at Florida Repertory Theatre

Florida Repertory Theatre’s production of BECOMING DR. RUTH by Mark St. Germain, directed by Florida Rep ensemble member Chris Clavelli, tells the story of Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer.

Susan Greenhill played Dr. Ruth, and she truly was flawless in the part. From the moment she walked on stage to the moment she walked off, she thoroughly embodied Dr. Ruth, even down to her accent. As Greenhill told the story of Dr. Ruth‘s life, she had incredibly sincere emotion; she would grow teary-eyed at some of the more somber events in her life, and the joy she exuded when mentioning happier times was evident. I am sure it isn’t easy to lead a one-woman show for 90 minutes without any real break, but Greenhill did it beautifully. I really enjoyed the lively personality she showcased through this role; I don’t think anyone else could have played Dr. Ruth better.

BECOMING DR. RUTH teaches the audience a lot of Ruth K. Westheimer’s history; things that may not be as well known by many people. Dr. Ruth is much more than a sex therapist and media personality. As told in the play, Dr. Ruth has had many hard times throughout her life, including fleeing the Nazis during the Holocaust. There were many poignant and inspiring moments in the show, but also many hilarious ones, and I enjoyed that balance. BECOMING DR. RUTH had a very conversational feel to it, as Greenhill directly addresses the audience as she’s telling Dr. Ruth‘s life story, and I really liked that aspect. It was definitely interesting to learn more about her and see how she became the infamous Dr. Ruth.

One thing that I thought made this production very cohesive and emphasized Greenhill’s storytelling was the technical aspect of it. The lighting and projections, designed by Rob Siler, and the sound, designed by Katie Lowe, helped the show flow very smoothly, and I appreciated the thought and detail that was clearly put into designing these parts of the show. The set, designed by Bert Scott, worked very well for this production. It is set up like Dr. Ruth is packing up her home to move, and this gave the show a very intimate feel.

BECOMING DR. RUTH is playing in Florida Rep’s ArtStage Studio Theatre through October 28, so get your tickets fast! You won’t want to miss this one. Performances are Tuesday-Thursday at 7 PM, Friday-Saturday at 8 PM, with 2 PM matinees on Thursday, Sunday, and selected Saturdays. To buy tickets, you can visit www.floridarep.org, call Florida Rep at 239-332-4488, or stop by the box office at 2268 Bay Street, Fort Myers, FL, 33901.

by Emily Yorgey Oct. 20, 2018