Our Events


Fully Registered: Dear Ruth, a New Musical

Saturday, June 1, 2024 - 2:00 PM | Members' Room | open to the public | free of charge | registration required


This all-ages musical follows Ruth, one of the thousands of Jewish refugee children given safe passage on the Kindertransport in the months leading up to World War II. As Ruth adjusts to life with her adoptive family, including her foster sister Elinor, she struggles to hold on to her connection to her musical father, left behind in Nazi Germany. Ruth must reconcile grief with joy, loss with connection, past trauma with future hope, and two different loves: that which she feels for her father, and that which she feels for her adoptive family. Ultimately, integration can only come when Ruth reaffirms for herself the power of music.

This one-time-only staged reading presents the script and songs of Dear Ruth performed by a talented full cast. The performance lasts approximately 80 minutes, followed by a half-hour talkback with the creators. Image: The Liverpool Kindertransport commemorative statue, created in 2006 by Frank Meisler and Arie Oviada.

Book by Allison Benko
Music by Grace Oberhofer
Lyrics by Allison Benko and Grace Oberhofer (shown here)
Directed by Ann Noling

Grace Oberhofer (Composer, co-Lyricist) is an artist who tells stories about women–either real or imagined–who are not perfect, but rather, amazing. A Tacoma, WA native and a Tufts graduate, Grace works as a composer, performer, sound designer, and educator. Her compositional works include the Icons/Idols choral play series with playwright/lyricist Helen Banner (OPERA America, New Ohio/IRT), Hot Cross Buns with playwright/co-lyricist Julia Izumi (Corkscrew, Seattle Rep), A Doll's House: A New Opera with director/co-writer Allison Benko (The Tank, Central Square, Corkscrew), among others. Grace’s work has been supported by the OPERA America Discovery Grant, New Georges, NYSCA, Seattle Rep, Brown University/Trinity Rep, O’Neill Theater Center, and Central Square Theater, among others. She’s been commissioned by YNYC and the New Ohio/IRT Archive Residency. Grace is an alumna of the BMI Musical Theater workshop and the New Dramatists Composer-Librettist Studio, and is a current fellow of the Seattle Opera Creation Lab.

Allison Benko (Librettist, co-Lyricist) is a writer, educator, and director based in Brooklyn. Her writing includes “The Before” (Weston Playhouse, Postcard Plays), Another Mikado (originally commissioned by the Ridgewood Gilbert & Sullivan Society), Rebels v. Tories (commissioned by the Fairfield Museum), and The Arthur Miller Centennial (Gloucester Stage Company). She is currently working on her first novel. Allison has taught playwriting classes in Vermont, theater interpretation and writing classes in Shanghai, at the New York Aquarium’s summer camp, and an online theater games pandemic course for 2nd and 3rd graders. As a director, she worked on an outdoor touring production of Seussical (Weston Playhouse), Every Christmas Story Ever Told (Gloucester Stage Company), two productions of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, and the site-specific Rebels v. Tories (Fairfield Museum), along with world premieres of musicals, plays, and opera at Players Theatre, Project Y, and Corkscrew Theatre Festival, among others. She served as Assistant Director for Oslo at Lincoln Center, which won a Tony Award for Best Play. Allison has also been a Guest Artist at the Tholpavakoothu Puppet Centre in Kerala, and she is an alumna of the 24 Hour Plays as well as the Lincoln Center Directors’ Lab. She currently works full-time as the Associate to the Artistic Director at Theatre for a New Audience. allisonbenko.com

Ann Noling is an NYC-based director and teacher, born and raised in Brooklyn. Favorite projects include Bess Wohl’s Small Mouth Sounds at Brooklyn College, the live digital play Pim’s Metamorphoses by Neil Redfield, Jessica Dickey’s ensemble Amish Project at WTF professional training program, and Julia Izumi’s Meet Murasaki Shikibu Followed by Book-Signing, and Other Things in the NYC Fringe. Her work is grounded in an exploration of faith
and hope. She believes hope and perseverance are courageous radical acts and the desire to explore this courage, to question it, and to share it, drive her practice as an artist. She has directed new work seen at The Tank, Dixon Place, The Brick, and The Fourth Street Theatre, and is a frequent collaborator with 2nd Best Dance Company. She has worked with Playwrights Horizons, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Manhattan Theatre Club, The Vineyard Theatre, and New York Theater Workshop in various directing and artistic fellowships and internships. She received her BA in American Studies with a focus in Critical Race Theory and Performance Studies from Tufts University, and her MFA in directing from Brooklyn College.

This event is generously underwritten by Alexander Sanger in honor of Jeannette Watson Sanger.