Conducted by Playwriting & Literary Intern Sean Patrick Nill
How was your first experiences at the B Street back in the 90’s?
You mean Educating Rita?
Oh, and Park your Car at Harvard Yard?
Oh yes, dear Buck directed that, he was great; very good director, so diplomatic, so understanding of the actor’s process. And then Bill McNulty who not only directed Educating Rita, and did it really well, but also acted in the play opposite me, and also did that really well. And I loved that B Street gave us all those opportunities. And I loved Sacramento! Sacramento was a memory for me of quiet streets with this urban sensibility. And it’s grown so much. And B Street’s grown so much. I think it’s such a wonderful place. The way that it operates is genius. I admire Buck enormously, I admire his ethos. He’s a man of true principles. He’s stuck to this crazy wonderful place with this family of talented actors and where the train’s chug along during the shows, and the audiences love it, and they love coming here. I’m very excited for their big move, I think that’s well-deserved.
Tell me about your experience with this play?
I auditioned in New York for the understudy in the Off-Broadway production, which I rarely do, but I felt passionate about the play and the story and the woman. Got the job; sadly the show closed pre-maturely, but I was then invited to perform the role at Penguin Repertory Company in Stony Point, New York. It was such a terrifying joy to finally play this wonderful and demanding role in front of audiences, who reaffirmed our belief in this play and the theatrically epic life story of Dr. Ruth.
And you’ve met Dr. Ruth?
Several times, and Dr. Ruth is a real life force! She’s so funny, and yet has been through so much. I mean, those ten years, those first ten years of her life, she had a very happy childhood, a really happy childhood. She would go to her grandparent’s farm, her maternal grandparents’ farm, in this little village outside Frankfurt and there were always geese around and she loved these geese. And she’s been back to Frankfurt several times, and the last time she went to her parent’s apartment, it was exactly the same. And she went out to her grandparent’s farm and she said, “The geese were still there.” But no one knew her parents. No one knew her grandparents. No one had ever heard about them. It’s so heart-breaking and yet she’s been able to do so much good with the greatest attitude and the greatest laugh. I’m honored to tell her story.
At this moment, purple.
Hell’s Kitchen, New York City.
Person You Admire?
Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women International, of which I am a proud member.
Advice to the World?
Find a way to listen to the messages of your heart, no matter what’s around you.
Anne O’Sullivan currently stars in Becoming Dr. Ruth at B Street Theatre now through February 26. Reserve tickets online at bstreettheatre.org or call the Box Office at 916-443-5300.