Ohio Star Theater’s ‘Ruth’ shines in all the right ways

Ohio Star Theater’s ‘Ruth’ shines in all the right ways
Dave Mast

Filled with plenty of music, dance, action and emotion, “Ruth” will continue to thrill audiences at Ohio Star Theater in Sugarcreek through Nov. 9.


If someone offered up a story plot full of twists and turns, loyalty, intense scenes that are full of drama, love, and psychological manipulation, would it move one to think of a “Mission Impossible” movie or perhaps a James Patterson novel?

One such story is unfolding right now at Ohio Star Theater in Sugarcreek, where the presentation of the story “Ruth” is playing and will run through early November.

For those unfamiliar with the story of Ruth, it is the eighth book of the Bible and tells the story of Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi and how love, loyalty and faith can lead to a fulfilling life, despite living through devastation.

The live stage production is a first of its kind in that it is the first licensed Sight & Sound production to take place outside of the two larger Sight & Sound theaters in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and Branson, Missouri.

“We get to introduce our community to a Sight & Sound licensed production right here in our own backyard in Sugarcreek, Ohio,” said Mike Miller, president of Dutchman Hospitality Group. “There are many talented people contributing to this production, and we are so happy to have them on our team.”

He said the story of Ruth is a shining example of how God has used ordinary people to do his work throughout time.

Miller said Dutchman Hospitality co-owners Bob and Sue Miller began building a relationship with Sight & Sound owners Glen and Shirley Eshelman nearly two decades ago. That paved the way for this new production relationship that brought “Ruth” to Sugarcreek.

The production has already experienced a great deal of success. The positive run has created a buzz, and Ohio Star Theater hopes to parlay this into an ongoing relationship with Sight & Sound.

Kyle Miller, who plays Naomi, said many people in the cast are Christians who draw strength from their characters from personal experiences.

“We draw a lot from our own experiences, and it is very empowering and heartwarming to be on stage and to be able to tell this incredible story,” Kyle Miller said. “I love that we can share this message that anyone can be used to do God’s work. It’s such a powerful message.”

Kyle Miller said she grew up in a Christian home, and the book of Ruth had always held a spot very close to her heart.

She said the themes displayed in Ruth are needed now in today’s climate of division.

“In this political climate, it is so important to share the story of joy, happiness and acceptance,” Miller said, “especially since Ruth is a foreigner and people are not initially kind to her. But she is a person of faith, and God chooses to use her at the end of the day.”

Ruth’s loyalty to Naomi is a central element, and Miller’s connection to her good friend Annie Heartney, who plays Ruth, helps them portray the sincerity, love and loyalty to one another.

“It’s so powerful for two really good girlfriends in real life to be able to portray such a powerful feminist duo on stage,” Heartney said. “There’s a timelessness to their love and commitment to one another as mother and daughter-in-law.”

Heartney, who wasn’t immersed in the story of Ruth before garnering the part, said once she earned the role, she immersed herself in learning everything she could about Ruth and the story.

She said it became so personal that there are moments on stage where she gets so caught up in what’s taking place that she is brought to tears.

“Calling this artistically fulfilling would be the biggest understatement,” Heartney said. “You’ll see me cry on stage, and the tears are real. It almost gets too real.”

Loading next article...

End of content

No more pages to load