“I’m busier than ever — amazing!” says Dr. Ruth Westheimer, 85, older but ever ebullient. A biographical play, “Becoming Dr. Ruth: The Unexpected Journey,” written by Mark St. Germain with her support, is running Off-Broadway (“I prefer ‘near-Broadway’ to Off-Broadway,” she laughs). She is working on her 36th book. A passionate Zionist, in recent years she has made several documentary films about Israel’s minority populations — Druze, Bedouins, Ethiopians, Chercassians — exploring their family lives and sociology. She’ll be teaching a course next semester at Columbia University on how the American family is depicted (not very well or kindly) in the media.
One of the most extraordinary women of our time, Dr. Ruth Westheimer almost single-handedly brought a frank discussion of sexuality to a society largely governed by Puritanical, and then Victorian, ideas about erotic pleasure. Now the compelling life history of the diminutive, German-accented powerhouse comes to the stage in Mark St. Germain’s one-woman show, “Becoming Dr. Ruth: The Unexpected Journey,” starring Debra Jo Rupp. The play, which is currently in previews, opens next week at the Westside Theatre in Midtown.