Ruthie Fierberg is a savvy, intuitive, and creative freelance journalist. Based in New York City, Ruthie is the creator and host of the podcast Why We Theater, which intersects theatre and social justice in panel discussions between artists and field experts. She has written for such national publications as Playbill, Parents, American Baby, Parents Latina, Good Housekeeping, and Backstage. An in-demand moderator, Ruthie is the regular host for Second Stage Theater Company's new artist talk series 2STREAM and has led talkbacks and panels for the 92nd Street Y, the JCC Manhattan, Disney Theatrical Productions, and BroadwayCon 2016-2021. Most recently, she served as the Executive Editor of Features and Branded Content at Playbill, creating innovative and engaging content through in-depth written pieces, multimedia and video features, live broadcasts, and as executive producer of digital concert specials, two of which (Pride Spectacular and ¡Viva Broadway!) were short-listed for Primetime Emmy Awards in 2021.
A skilled interviewer, Ruthie has the ability to quickly develop an easy rapport with her subjects. She has interviewed hundreds of celebrities, including Hollywood A-listers such as Judith Light, Nathan Lane, Aaron Sorkin, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Hudson, Melissa McCarthy, and Ethan Hawke; Olympic athletes like Roger Federer, Bode Miller, and Kristi Yamaguchi; and hundreds of theatre artists such as Dominique Morisseau, Pulitzer Prize winner David Henry Hwang, six-time Tony Award-winner Audra MacDonald, two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster, Tony-winning designers David Zinn, Clint Ramos, and Jessica Paz, Tony-winning choreographer Sergio Trujillo, award-winning writers Tim Minchin, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and groundbreaking multi-hyphenate Lin-Manuel Miranda. Ruthie prides herself on her ability to bring out true personalities in her conversations and unearth one-of-a-kind stories.
Her experience extends beyond the page in her video work. She has taken on the roles of talent scout, interviewer, script-writer, on-set producer, and post-production director while working on multiple video series for Playbill, and previously at Parents. She also served as the Backstage media correspondent at the 2014 Tony Awards, producing over 35 red carpet videos overnight.
Ruthie is an independent worker, and a collaborative team player, who throws herself into her work. She wields an unbridled passion for the arts. Most of all, she aims to champion great thinkers and notable people in all fields and bring their stories to light. Her goal is to start meaningful conversation, encourage thoughtful people, and create change.
That passion to use onstage art in order to manifest change in our offstage lives paved the way for Why We Theater on the Broadway Podcast Network. Launched in 2020, the podcast examines one play or musical in each episode as a jumping-off point to confront societal issues such as racism, colorism, voting rights, fake news, digital technology addiction, the school-to-prison pipeline, anti-Semitism, raising LGBTQIA+ kids, and more. The podcast caters to listeners who may not have seen a particular show and who may not even be theatre fans. Every episode begins with the artist laying the foundation of their own work. Award-winning writers and directors of pieces like Soft Power and The Lifespan of a Fact break down the message inside their stories and how they created that story. Then, real-world experts in the corresponding field (i.e. NSA Jake Sullivan or This American Life’s Ira Glass) offer advice and action steps (thought patterns to monitor, petitions to sign, organizations to support, etc.) as tools to do the work.
Ruthie attended Barnard College of Columbia University, where she graduated Cum Laude with her B.A. in Psychology. During her time at Barnard, she became the theatre editor of the Columbia Daily Spectator, writing and editing for the daily paper, expanded weekend arts section, and the weekly arts & culture magazine The Eye. Though she spent her first couple of college summers volunteering at hospitals in clinics, she later interned for Broadway producers Kevin McCollum and Jeffrey Seller (Rent, In The Heights), and later as an editorial intern at Backstage magazine. After graduating she worked for a time at SpotCo (one of Broadway's premiere advertising and marketing firms). She then worked at Time Out New York in marketing and branded content before moving to Meredith Corporation to work at the Parents Network. In 2015, she became the Features Editor at Playbill, spearheading more in-depth interview content and expanded video content. Ruthie created Playbill's live from the red carpet special alongside colleague Felicia Fitzpatrick and hosted approximately 40 openings plus the annual Tony Awards each year. She also worked on Playbill Travel's Broadway on the High Seas cruises, booking and managing talent on board the ship, as well as stage managing and designing lighting for each show. In 2017 she was promoted to Senior Features Editor and—later in her tenure—to Executive Editor of Features and Branded Content. Over the years she has appeared on SiriusXM radio and NPR as a guest expert.
Outside of theatre, Ruthie is obsessed with tennis (¡Vamos Rafa!) and travel—and has often combined the two by venturing to the French Open, the Australian Open, Indian Wells, and more. (She will make it to Wimbledon.) Ruthie is a dancer and a Bikram yogi. She is a fierce justice advocate, specifically involved with such causes as Covenant House International and The Actors Fund.
Photograph by Emma Fierberg