How does it feel to watch a play about yourself?
Pretty good as far as author, media personality and sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer is concerned.
She was at Theaterworks in Hartford Friday, Saturday and Sunday to catch performances of the poignant “Becoming Dr. Ruth,” by Mark St. Germain.
“I pinch myself when I watch so I keep my mouth shut,” said the petite Westheimer who celebrated her 85th birthday earlier in the week. “I sit on the edge of my seat when I watch the play. They have done an incredible job.”
Westheimer, whose pre-celebrity story includes fleeing from the Nazis in the Kindertransport when she was 10 years old, joining the Haganah in Jerusalem as a scout and sniper and her life as a single mother in America, gave actress Debra Jo Rupp a thumbs up when it comes to playing the role of the pioneering radio and television sex therapist, whose given name was Karola Ruth Siegel.
“She did a tremendous job,” said Ruth, who on opening night Saturday, was wearing a silver heart and chain Rupp had surprised her with for her birthday.
The good doctor had much to say about Hartford, noting that her visit was one of “all smiles.”
“I rode the carousel at Bushnell Park today for free,” she said, explaining how she was the 92nd person out of first 100 who were eligible for the free ride during Connecticut Open House Day Saturday. “I had not ridden a carousel since I was a child in German.”
And on Sunday, she was treated to a private tour of the Mark Twain House & Museum, courtesy of Jacques Lamarre, the well-known, multi-talented outgoing communications director there.
“He’s a show in himself,” quipped Theaterworks artistic director Rob Ruggiero who arranged the special visit for Westheimer. “I’ll pick you up at 10:20. It’s a date.”
“Don’t say that,” said the feisty Westhheimer who was widowed many years ago. “I don’t want people to think I have someone. I’m looking!”