Producing artistic director Ted Pappas directs David Rambo's biographical play, through Dec. 14, in the O'Reilly Theater, PPT's home in the heart of Downtown's Cultural District. Pappas also designed the production's costumes. Opening is Nov. 21.
According to PPT, "Ann Landers started life as Eppie Lederer, along with her identical twin sister, Popo. In 1955 she became the writer of a newspaper advice column that would eventually bring her 60 million readers. In The Lady With All the Answers we'll meet Ann in 1975, a chic and sassy 57-year-old who describes herself as a 'Jewish Joan of Arc.' At this point she is a celebrity, living in a world of Chanel and chocolate, bubble baths and bouffant hair. Speaking directly to the audience, Ann will tell us about her friends — everyone from Hubert Humphrey to Hugh Hefner — and her twin, who became Dear Abby. But mostly she'll talk about the questions that led to her most famous columns."
Ruoti's career as an actress in the Pittsburgh region includes leading roles in over a dozen productions at the Public. Favorites include Adriana in last season's Comedy of Errors, Jocasta in Oedipus the King, Hannah in The Night of the Iguana, Masha in Three Sisters and the title roles in Hedda Gabler and Edith Stein. Her work has been seen at the City Theatre, Three Rivers Shakespeare Festival, Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre (PICT), barebones productions and the Pittsburgh Playhouse, as well as appearances with the International Poetry Forum and the Pittsburgh Symphony. Favorites among these include Maria Callas in Master Class at City, King Lear and The Seagull at PICT, and Eleanor in Unseam'd Shakespeare Company's The Lion in Winter. She also performed two seasons with the Philadelphia Theater Company. She was recently honored with City Theatre's Robert M. Frankel award for outstanding commitment to new play creation and support of the arts.
Pappas said, "She is an actress of tremendous skill and intelligence, great humor and vulnerability, flawless instincts and real charisma. But above all, she is fearless. Helena performs without a net."
The design team is James Noone (scenic), Allen Hahn (lighting) and Zach Moore (sound). Fred Noel is the production stage manager, and Adrienne Wells is the assistant stage manager. In addition to his work on television's "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," Rambo wrote the plays God's Man in Texas, The Spin Cycle and The Ice-Breaker, which was read at Pittsburgh Public Theater as part of the Public Exposure series. He has adapted Sinclair Lewis' "Babbit," written a new book for the Lerner & Loewe musical Paint Your Wagon, and adapted several classic screenplays for live performance, including "All About Eve," "Casablanca," "Adam's Rib" and "Sunset Boulevard."
Since 2005, The Lady With All the Answers has been produced by Northlight Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Old Globe Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre and Pasadena Playhouse.
Tickets are available at (412) 316-1600 or www.ppt.org.