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From Sniper To 'Sexually Speaking': The Dr. Ruth Story On Stratford Stage

Alice McMahon takes on the title role in "Becoming Dr. Ruth," a Square One Theatre production debuting May 4 in Stratford.
Alice McMahon takes on the title role in "Becoming Dr. Ruth," a Square One Theatre production debuting May 4 in Stratford. Photo Credit: Contributed

STRATFORD, Conn. — Everyone remembers Dr. Ruth, the pint-sized purveyor of frank sex talk who became an unlikely star of radio and television in the 1980s.

But do you know how she got there?

Square One Theatre Company will conclude its 27th season with Mark St. Germain’s “Becoming Dr. Ruth,” an illuminating look at a backstory most fans have probably never known.

Born in Karlstadt, Germany, young Karola Ruth Siegel had to flee the Nazis in the Kindertransport, later joining the Haganah, the Jewish underground freedom fighters in Jerusalem, first as a scout, then as a sniper.

“Becoming Dr. Ruth” presents an honest, funny and ultimately life-affirming portrait of a woman who was far bolder than many knew.

“It’s a simple premise, which is fascinating (and heartbreaking) all on its own,” wrote a New Yorker reviewer. “The playwright convincingly and humorously conveys Wertheimer’s surprising dignity, courage and resilience.”

Thomas Holehan directs Alice McMahon in the title role.

The play runs from May 4 to 21 at Stratford Academy, 719 Birdseye Street. Performances are: Thursdays (May 4, 11, 18) at 7 p.m.; Fridays (May 5, 12, 19) at 8 p.m.; Saturdays (May 6, 13, 20) at 4 and 8 p.m.; and Sundays (May 7, 14 21) at 2 p.m.

Single tickets are $20 for adults and $19 for senior citizens and students. For tickets, call 203-375-8778 or go to squareonetheatre.com.

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