Amanda Jill Robinson and Jenna Pinchbeck have teamed up to bring the vibrant edu-comedy duo to the city of Brotherly Love. Whether performing an event or teaching their "Mastah Class", or hosting the podcast Learning Through Laughter, Ruth and Estelle are dedicating to creating engaging, joy-filled, inclusive experiences through bold story telling, humor, and heart.
On a winter night in 2014, while rehearsing for a holiday cabaret, Amanda and Jenna started playing around as two spunky, big-hearted, open-minded broads with a love of cocktails, bagels and rock n’ roll. We never could have imagined that six years later, these women would not only teach and entertain, but become our way of bringing some joy to the world.
Our most recent endeavor was writing, producing, and performing our world premiere play, Ruth and Estelle’s A Sequins of Fortunate Events for the 2020 Philly Theatre Week. The show was an opportunity for us to pluck Ruth and Estelle from their improv roots and plant them in a scripted environment to share their origin story.
Set in the Summer of ‘69, Sequins begins with R&E’s move from Toledo, Ohio to New York City with nothing but a box truck and a dream of making it in theatre. What they find along the way proves to be far more exhilarating; a wildly successful career in Love Coaching. And it’s all thanks to an unassuming little bar in Greenwich Village.
Audience Comments and Reviews:
“The whole little production is big. Awesome acting, writing, staging, flow/structure/pacing.”
“I’ve laughed harder at this show than the last four shows I’ve seen and I paid hundreds of dollars to see them.”
“You guys should get a tape (recording) of it into the hands of someone like Tina Fey. Seriously. She'd love it.”
“Listening to them speak was like watching the familiarity with my best friends. We are loud. We are fun. We are like sisters. We forge a web of love between us that sometimes can’t be understood. That forge of love has gotten us all through divorces, marriage, and childbirth and beyond. Ruth and Estelle have that same bond of friendship...” -ToiTime.com
Created by Amanda Jill Robinson and Jenna Pinchbeck, Masta Class is designed to unite a classroom in unearthing and celebrating the uniqueness of every student’s artistry.
Much like a traditional master class, students will partake in a series of vocal and physical warmups and receive one-on-one feedback and suggestions while exploring the world of their song—but with a twist. During the class, we as teachers play Ruth and Estelle, a dynamic pair of educators and entertainers who got their acclaim by coaching the original cast of Cats. We hope to inspire students to delve just as deeply into the minds of the characters in their songs.
We approach our coaching through a lens of joy and play, encouraging a dive into the silly to bring out a song’s underlying truth. We believe in the power of laughter and its unique ability to level a playing field. When we laugh together, we can learn together and leave all judgement and self-doubt at the door where it belongs.
The Masta Class!
“I felt freer and warmed up to focus on my intentions and obstacles in the song.”
“I actually felt very comfortable with a little bit of silly. This is not a bad thing. I think it helped me get out of my head and not be hard on myself. The energy in the room was so warm and I didn't feel judged or that I had to prove myself.”
“I feel as though other classes are stressful for me with the need to perform for my classmates...The way R&E explained the adjustment seemed like a hoot and made me want to do it and not stress about it.”
“I enjoyed the exercises that Ruth and Estelle gave me because it allowed me to explore some more 'extreme' motivations/emotions of the song. Going to these extremes, I found, helped me find some interesting tidbits to latch onto and use. Because of this, I tried some new things emotionally and physically and it felt good!"