“Herbert, I told you not to knock over the babies.”
from “A Children’s Party in Philadelphia.”
Ruth Draper was “a virtuoso of one-person theater.”
“The trouble with success is, it takes all your time and you can’t do the things you really want to do.”
from “Three Women and Mr. Clifford”
“The writing, the acting, and especially the sense of humor are remarkably timeless.”
David Owen in The New Yorker
“Darling, you must remember always, I must be the most important.”
from “The Actress.”
Ruth Draper was “one of the great dramatists of the 20th century.”
“I have a box, but I haven’t any men.”
from “The Italian Lesson.”
“Each of her characters was like a Rembrandt on stage.”
“The lady wants the bunch, the whole bunch, and nothing but the bunch.”
from “Doctors and Diets.”
“When I first discovered Ruth Draper's recordings, suddenly I had a standard. I had something to aspire to.”
and Her Company of Characters
Ruth Draper was the undisputed queen of the one-woman theater in the 20th century.
Starting in the early years of the 20th century until the night she died in 1956, the native New Yorker entranced audiences all over the world by performing her own original character sketches.
Read about the reach of Ruth Draper’s influence -- from Joyce Grenfell and Uta Hagen, to Lily Tomlin and Annette Bening.
Draper always said that her ability to conjure up characters on stage was a collaboration between her and the audience.
By recording audio versions of her monologues, Draper became the rare stage performer whose work survives her. Though the recordings, she continues to influence professionals and enthrall audiences.