While some knew him as Jonah and others as Mac, we all loved and respected him. And we miss him dearly.

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Jonah @ PGT: Ross Baum



Dear friends,

Our autumn fundraiser has ended, but Jonah’s friends have asked to continue writing about him. So we’ll keep sharing those writings here. Enjoy!



Ross Baum remembers …

WritersPix.RossBaum.01aRoss graduated from Syracuse University in 2012 with a degree in musical theatre. He spent the past year performing with Disney Cruise Line and is now pursuing his MFA at New York University’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.

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I only had the privilege of performing in two shows with Jonah, but I will never forget the many characters he brought to life on the PGT stage, each and everyone distinct, unique, and utterly “Jonah.” From the doctor in Marvin’s Room to the infamous thug in Lucky Stiff to the howling, hippie-life-loving big brother in Hair, and so many others, old and young, good and evil, Jonah portrayed a range of characters in his five years at PGT that most actors could only dream of in a lifetime.

Jonah and Ross "Hair" (Jun 2008)

Jonah and Ross
“Hair” (Jun 2008)

Two specific memories come to mind when I think of Jonah. As rebellious high school seniors, as if we didn’t have enough of each other already during Hair tech week, the Class of 2008 would often gather after rehearsal to hang out and enjoy the last of our time together. One particular evening we found ourselves in Anya’s basement, having an outrageous dance party to – of all things – the Hair cast album. As we had been instructed not to get haircuts for the previous six months, I think everyone felt super cool at their ability to throw their extra long hair around. But not Jonah. There he was, in the middle of it all, dancing just as hard as anybody, but not with his hair flowing – he was rocking his signature black-and-white checkered fedora. That, to me, was Jonah in a nutshell – he tackled things with such commitment and ferocity but always in his unique way. He rarely went with the crowd but always found himself in the center of it all. Everybody in our community loved him. And I’m reminded of him every time I return to PGT and walk by the black-and-white checkered wall painted in his honor. It always brings me back to the image of that black-and-white hat bouncing up and down in a sea of long hair.

The second memory is an onstage moment from Hair. At the end of Jonah’s introductory monologue, he exclaimed, “Look at the moon!” and gave a long, loud howl. That was always one of my favorite moments in the show. It was the way he created the picture for the audience, the way he filled the theatre with his voice, the way he inspired the rest of us to join in with him. Since then I’ve been surprised at how many times I actually hear or use the phrase “Look at the moon” in real life. And every time, no matter where I am or who says it, I always smile and think of Jonah.



P.S. Your donation at jonahmac.org is always welcome! We are ever grateful for your friendship and support.

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