Former Orthodox Man Tells Stories of His Father — and Elvis — in One-Man Show
Steve Wruble is performing a one-man show at Manhattan’s Cherry Lane Theater as part of its “True Stories” series.
The show — “Escape From Daddyland” — explores Wruble’s relationship with his father, who was Elvis Presley’s proctologist.
“My father was a busy guy,” Wruble said. “He wanted things to be his way. He wanted me to be Orthodox. When I said I didn’t want to be, he said, ‘just don’t tell your children.’ I said, ‘you want me to pretend to be somebody I’m not?’ He said, ‘that’s exactly what I’m saying.’”
Wruble, who played tennis at a Christian school, eventually transferred to a yeshiva for the rest of high school. He attended Boston University, and wanted to be a doctor like his father.
“I didn’t know I was smart until I went to college,” he said. “I barely broke 1,000 on the SAT. I was in the college of ‘Basic Studies.’ I didn’t realize if you studied, you could do well. I thought I was stupid because I had a reading problem. I was a class clown.”
He said he was supposed to meet Elvis one day, but got into trouble, and wasn’t allowed to go.
When Elvis died, he said his father remembered the legendary performer as respectful Christian who helped Jews on the Sabbath.
Wruble 62, said he stopped being Orthodox about 20 years ago.
The show features original songs written by Wruble, who said he enjoys playing guitar with a country flair, and is thrilled to make his acting debut.
Wruble, who is also a psychiatrist, said he advises people in relationship to be honest with their partner — and equally, to be honest with themselves.
“Instead of doing what you think you’re supposed to do, you should do what is right for you,” he said. “I think some people live in their head and aren’t willing to be vulnerable.”
His father is 90 and alive, and is living with his mother in Memphis.
“I think he had some issues with it,” Wruble said about the show.
And what does he hope people take away from the show?
“I would love people to investigate what drives people to be who they are” and to be more open in their lives and relationships, he said. “People should go after what they’re passionate about, and if they don’t know what they’re passionate about, they need to figure it out. I think in general, people need to be more courageous.”
Directed by Gretchen Cryer, the show will run through May 22.
The author is a writer living in New York.