Is Thelma the oldest Jewish woman on stage?

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Is Thelma the oldest Jewish woman on stage?

This week 97-year-old Thelma Ruby hits the boards again with her one woman show

Brigit Grant is the Jewish News Supplements Editor

Aged 97 Thelma Ruby is still performing
Aged 97 Thelma Ruby is still performing

At the age of 80, Sir Paul McCartney may be the oldest solo performer to headline at Glastonbury when he plays this weekend, but on Thursday, 97 year-old Thelma Ruby will be the oldest Jewish woman to do a one-woman show in London.

In their twenties Thelma Ruby, now 97 and Sit Paul McCartney, 80

Born and raised in Leeds, the daughter of a Lithuanian dentist, Thelma is bringing her autobiographical show of songs, sketches and extracts from leading roles to Pizza Express Live at The Phesantry in Chelsea and there are only a few tickets left.

A child performer in Music Hall, billed as “Dainty Little Paula Ruby”, Thelma has had a major career on stage with roles including Golda which she played opposite Topol’s Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, Mistress Quickly to Orson Welles’s Falstaff in Shakespeare’s Henry IV and she joined  Dame Judi Dench in the original stage production of Cabaret in 1968.

Thelma in Cabaret with Dame Judi and as Golda with Topol in Fiddler on the Roof

In a week when Kate Bush who is 64 in July has made history for being the youngest and oldest woman to have a self-written UK number one song, Thelma balks at her youth as she began her solo shows in 2018 when she was 93. Honoured at a Women of the Year lunch and awarded the Oldie of the Year alongside Dame Glenda Jackson and David Cameron’s mother, Thelma who lives in Wimbledon says this may be the last time she treads the boards, but that’s not definite.

Tickets available:

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