“A performance that’s one of the best of the year, and feels something close to profound.” – New York Theater
“As a feat of mental athleticism, it’s remarkable. As a rich performance, it’s even better.” – Times of Israel
BAY STREET THEATER (Scott Schwartz, Artistic Director & Tracy Mitchell, Executive Director), GOLDAVISION in association with the MUSEUM OF JEWISH HERITAGE – A LIVING MEMORIAL TO THE HOLOCAUST
Tickets at https://mjhnyc.info/BDR
(New York, NY)— Beloved psychologist Dr. Ruth Westheimer celebrates her 94th birthday this June, and in celebration, six-time Tony- and Emmy-nominated actor Tovah Feldshuh and the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust will present a special virtual broadcast of the one-woman Off-Broadway show, Becoming Dr. Ruth.
The virtual presentation – from Monday, June 6 at sundown to Sunday, June 12 at 11:59 PM ET – follows the Museum’s wildly successful Off-Broadway presentation of Becoming Dr. Ruth in late 2021 – so successful that the Museum added additional performances before the show closed on January 2, 2022.
“I have had the honor of portraying many heroic Jewish women, but none have been so relentlessly optimistic and uplifting as Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer,” says Tovah Feldshuh. “Ruth’s little-known backstory stands as a monument to resourcefulness and the courage and strength to never give up. Against all odds, no one turns lemons into lemonade like Dr. Ruth!”
The production marked Tovah Feldshuh’s return to the stage in New York City since she starred in Pippin and followed her acclaimed performance as noted sexologist Dr. Ruth Westheimer at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor.
Directed by Bay Street Theater’s Artistic Director Scott Schwartz, Becoming Dr. Ruth chronicles the life of noted psychologist Dr. Ruth Westheimer, from her early years fleeing Nazi Germany, living as an orphan in Switzerland, to her service in the Israeli armed forces as a sharpshooter, and her later life and career in New York. Becoming Dr. Ruth is a humorous and heartfelt portrait detailing Dr. Ruth’s remarkable journey against so many odds to become a pioneer in the psychology of human sexuality and the world’s most famous sex therapist.
The production – which has a runtime of 90 minutes – was presented in the Museum’s Edmond J. Safra Hall on the same stage as National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s smash hit Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish. You can purchase tickets – $18.00 for Museum members and $24.00 for non-members – to see the livestreamed event from Monday, June 6 at sundown to Sunday, June 12 at 11:59 PM ET at https://mjhnyc.info/BDR. Viewers will receive a dedicated link after purchase; once viewers begin to watch the production, they will have 72 hours to finish watching.
The production received rave reviews. “As a feat of mental athleticism, it’s remarkable. As a rich performance, it’s even better,” said the Times of Israel. “A performance that’s one of the best of the year, and feels something close to profound,” raved New York Theater. “Charming, self-deprecating, warm and quick, Tovah Feldshuh captures the Dr. Ruth we know, and then some,” wrote Berkshire Fine Arts. Hi! Drama wrote, “Tovah Feldshuh brilliantly captures the spirit of the famed sex therapist…Good things come in small packages. Give yourself the best gift and go see Becoming Dr. Ruth.” And, Crescent City Jewish News lauded the performance, saying, “Feldshuh hits a home run, scores in ‘Becoming Dr. Ruth’… Feldshuh’s portrayal of “Dr. Ruth” is remarkable.” – Crescent City Jewish News
Tovah Feldshuh is a six-time Emmy and Tony Award-nominee and has been awarded three honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters. Additionally, for her theatre work, she has won four Drama Desks, four Outer Critics Circle Awards, three Dramalogues, the Obie, the Theatre World, and the Helen Hayes and Lucille Lortel Awards for Best Actress. She just has been twice nominated as Best Actress in a Drama in Los Angeles for her work in the play Sisters-in-Law, in which she originated the role of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She recently won the prestigious Audie award for her narration of The Gift by Holocaust-survivor Dr. Edith Eger. Broadway credits include Yentl (Tony nom), Cyrano, Rodgers & Hart, Dreyfus in Rehearsal, Saravá! (Tony nom), Lend Me a Tenor (Tony nom), Irena’s Vow, Golda’s Balcony (Tony nom) and the show stopping, trapeze-swinging Berthe in Pippin (composed by Stephen Schwartz).
Off-Broadway and around the country: Dozens of productions playing everything from Aunt Abby Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace, Irene Young in The Prompter, both under the baton of Scott Schwartz, to Tallulah Bankhead, Katharine Hepburn, Sarah Bernhardt, Shakespeare’s Juliet, three singing queens of Henry VIII and nine Jews from birth to death in Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh! Most recently, she portrayed Holocaust denier Brenda Goodsen opposite Ed Asner in The Soap Myth by Jeff Cohen. Last fall, her concert, Tovah is LEONA!, where she inhabits the infamous Queen of Mean, Leona Helmsley, returned to the Mizner Performing Arts Center in Boca. On television, she has starred in The Walking Dead, Law & Order (Emmy nom), Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and the history making mini-series Holocaust (Emmy nom). In film: Kissing Jessica Stein (Golden Satellite Award), A Walk On The Moon, Brewster’s Millions, Just My Luck, Daniel, The Idolmaker, Paramount Pictures’ Clifford The Big Red Dog, the soon to be released Start Without Me with Finn Wittrock, and an award-winning performance as Prime Minister Golda Meir in Golda’s Balcony: The Film. She just returned from the Cannes International Film Festival having played Tony Hopkins’ wife and Anne Hathaway’s mother in James Gray’s Armageddon Time which is now a contender for the Palme D’Or. On the page, Tovah’s first memoir, Lilyville: Mother, Daughter and Other Roles I’ve Played, was published last year by The Hachette Book Group and was selected by Good Morning America and Town & Country as a “must read” and by Amazon as one of their best sellers. “Lilyville is less physical location and more a place in [Tovah’s] heart — and psyche… Glued to every page, I laughed. I cried. I envied.”—Easthampton Star. “A revealing look at family, expectations, and forgiveness, and what it means to perform for audiences of thousands when the voice of one person is all that truly matters.”― Town & Country. An adventure traveler, follow Tovah’s expeditions around the world on Instagram @tovahfeld. Her greatest adventure has been her 45-year marriage to Andrew Harris Levy as well as being the mother of Brandon, married to Jami, Amanda married to Joel, and grandmother to Rafael, Camille, Sidney Mei, and newborn Amelia.
Dr. Ruth Westheimer, who was born on June 4, 1928, may best be known for having pioneered talking explicitly about sex on radio and television, but as it turns out, that is only a small part of her rich and diversified life. Born in Germany in 1928, Dr. Westheimer was sent to Switzerland at the age of ten to escape the Holocaust, which wiped out her entire immediate family. At the age of seventeen she went to then Palestine where she joined the Haganah, the Israeli freedom fighters, was trained to be a sniper and was seriously wounded in a bomb blast. She later moved to Paris to study at the Sorbonne and in 1956 went to the U.S. where she obtained her Masters Degree (M.A.) in Sociology from the Graduate Faculty of the New School of Social Research and Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in the Interdisciplinary Study of the Family from Columbia University Teacher’s College.
Her work for Planned Parenthood led her to study human sexuality under Dr. Helen Singer Kaplan at New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center, where she became an Adjunct Associate Professor. Subsequently she taught courses at various institutions of higher learning including Princeton and Yale. She currently is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia’s Teachers College. She continues to lecture worldwide. She is the author of 46 books, including Stay or Go, Roller Coaster Grandma and Crocodile You’re Beautiful. She’s been the executive producer of five documentaries. She can be found on Twitter @AskDrRuth where she has over 100,000 followers. A one-woman show about her life, “Becoming Dr. Ruth” has played in the Berkshires, Hartford and off-Broadway and continues to tour. And a documentary about her life, Ask Dr. Ruth, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival as well as theaters across the country and is now airing on Hulu. Dr. Westheimer, a widow, has two children, four grandchildren and resides in New York City.
Mark St. Germain‘s play Becoming Dr. Ruth premiered July 2012 at the Barrington Stage Company in the Berkshires, played at Hartford Theaterworks, and was brought to New York to the Westside Theatre. His play Freud’s Last Session ran for two years Off-Broadway, closing July 2012, and has been open in Argentina since January 2012 and in repertory in Sweden, Australia, and Denmark. Scott And Hem In The Garden Of Allah co-premiered in the summer of 2013 at the Contemporary American Theater Festival and Barrington Stage Company. His play The Best Of Enemies, first produced by the Barrington Stage Company, is now being produced throughout the country. The Fabulous Lipitones, a musical comedy co-written with John Markus, premiered at the Theatrical Outfit in Atlanta in 2013, and then at Goodspeed Playhouse. Mark’s other plays include Camping With Henry And Tom (Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics Circle Awards), Ears On A Beatle, The God Committee, Out Of Gas On Lover’s Leap, and Dancing Lessons. Mark wrote the Tammy Wynette musical Stand By Your Man, which began at the Ryman Theater in Nashville. With composer Charles Strouse, he co-wrote the book for his adaptation of Dreiser’s American Tragedy. With composer Randy Courts, Mark has written the perennial musical The Gifts Of The Magi as well as Johnny Pye And The Foolkiller (AT&T Award Grant) and Jack’s Holiday (Playwrights Horizons). Television work includes Writer/Creative Consultant for The Cosby Show and Dick Wolf’s Crime and Punishment. He co-wrote director Carroll Ballard’s film Duma and produced and directed the documentary My Dog, An Unconditional Love Story with Richard Gere, Glenn Close, Edward Albee, and others. Mark also wrote the award-winning children’s book Three Cups. Mark is an Associate Artist of the Barrington Stage Company, a recipient of the William Inge Festival’s New Voices Award, a member of the Dramatists Guild and the Writer’s Guild East, and an alumnus of New Dramatists.
Scott Schwartz (Director) is the Artistic Director of Bay Street Theater and directed this production of Becoming Dr. Ruth there this past June. He is an internationally renowned artist whose work has been seen on Broadway, Off-Broadway, across the United States, in Great Britain, Europe and Asia. Most recently before the pandemic, he directed The Prince of Egypt at the Dominion Theatre on the West End in London. He directed the Broadway productions of Golda’s Balcony, starring Tovah Feldshuh, and Jane Eyre (co-directed with John Caird). His Off-Broadway work includes Murder for Two, Bat Boy: The Musical (Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics Circle Awards, Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical; Drama Desk Award nomination, Outstanding Director of a Musical), tick, tick…BOOM! (Outer Critics Circle, Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical; Drama Desk nomination, Outstanding Director of a Musical), The Foreigner starring Matthew Broderick, Rooms: A Rock Romance, Kafka’s The Castle (Outer Critics Circle nomination, Outstanding Director of a Play), Gigantic, and No Way to Treat a Lady. He directed the U.S. premiere of Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame at La Jolla Playhouse and Paper Mill Playhouse, and also in Japan and Germany. Other recent credits include the World Premiere of Séance on a Wet Afternoon starring Lauren Flanigan at Opera Santa Barbara and subsequently at New York City Opera; a revised version of the musical Big Fish at the Seoul Arts Center in Seoul, Korea; and the world premiere of The Prince of Egypt at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley and Fredericia Teater in Denmark. Some of the leading regional theaters he has directed at include Dallas Theatre Center, Denver Center, Geffen Playhouse, Goodspeed Opera House, La Jolla Playhouse, Old Globe, Paper Mill Playhouse, Pasadena Playhouse, Signature Theatre, and others. He is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, an Associate Artist at the Alley Theatre, and a graduate of Harvard University.
About Bay Street Theater
Bay Street Theater is a year-round, not-for-profit professional theater and community cultural center, which endeavors to innovate, educate, and entertain a diverse community through the practice of the performing arts. It serves as a social and cultural gathering place, an educational resource, and a home for a community of artists. Producer Tracy Mitchell serves as its Executive Director, Scott Schwartz as its Artistic Director. For more information, visit www.baystreet.org.
About The Museum Of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is New York’s contribution to the global responsibility to never forget. The Museum is committed to the crucial mission of educating diverse visitors about Jewish life before, during, and after the Holocaust. The third-largest Holocaust museum in the world and the second-largest in North America, the Museum of Jewish Heritage anchors the southernmost tip of Manhattan, completing the cultural and educational landscape it shares with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
The Museum of Jewish Heritage maintains a collection of almost 40,000 artifacts, photographs, documentary films, and survivor testimonies and contains classrooms, a 375-seat theater (Edmond J. Safra Hall), special exhibition galleries, a resource center for educators, and a memorial art installation, Garden of Stones, designed by internationally acclaimed sculptor Andy Goldsworthy. The Museum is the home of National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene and JewishGen.
The Museum’s current offerings include Boris Lurie: Nothing To Do But To Try, a first of its kind exhibition on the 20th century artist and Holocaust survivor on view through November 6, 2022. The Holocaust: What Hate Can Do will open in the Museum’s main galleries on June 30, 2022.
Each year, the Museum presents over 60 public programs, connecting our community in-person and virtually through lectures, book talks, concerts, and more. For more info visit: mjhnyc.org/events.
In addition, the Museum offers free, pre-recorded virtual lessons for students, taught by a Museum educator, using its Holocaust Curriculum lesson plans. Designed for middle and high school, the lessons, available on demand, allow for student interaction via chat and polls, offer certificates of completion, and resources for additional research. For more information: https://mjhnyc.org/education/virtual-lessons/
The Museum receives general operating support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on the Arts.