The Book of Ruth
nytheatre.com review by Jocelyn Szabo
August 15, 2004
A Yankees fan forever, I was thrilled to be seeing a play about the legendary Babe Ruth. I could not wait to taunt my cousins (diehard Red Sox fans) with my new knowledge of the Babe. Unfortunately, The Book of Ruth proved to be a disappointment.
I applaud the efforts of writers Doug Byer and Robert Philp. The idea behind the piece is wonderful —who doesn’t want to hear the story behind a legend like Babe Ruth? The script reveals him to be an alcoholic and a womanizer. Of course, no man is without his faults, legend or not. But to bring to light certain truths without adding a sense of humanity makes me dislike both the writers and the legend—the writers for destroying a baseball legend and the Babe for being less of a man than I had hoped for all these years.
Don Schmidt makes an admirable attempt at capturing the charisma of the Babe, but he has trouble with his lines, and in fact, so much trouble that it became a distraction. One-man shows are extremely difficult and so I give Schmidt credit for his effort, nevertheless.
Ultimately, the writing does make a statement, and although the Babe that I came to know here was not someone I liked, maybe that’s what Byer and Philp were going for all along.