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: Ryan McGovern



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!



Ryan McGovern remembers …

WritersPix.RyanMcGovern.01Ryan McGovern is a freelance writer/director and founding creative director of RooMcGoo.com, a web platform for new musical comedy. He is also a proud graduate of PGT and Emerson College, where he studied Directing for Stage and Screen.

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I remember with remarkable clarity the moment I first set foot in PGT, and much of the process for the first show I did there, The Hadleyburg Project, which is the show that introduced me to Jonah. As a 14-year-old who stood out like a big theatrical thumb at my all-boy sports-centric high school, I believe working on that show, and finding PGT, has stayed with me on such a deep level because it was the first time I found peers – specifically male peers – who I really connected with, who I felt equal to.

I remember Jonah specifically as one of “the guys” who was so open to me and who welcomed me from the beginning of the process, since we were “the underclassmen” at the time. At first, Jonah so freely making conversation and jokes with me as an instant friend was almost … jarring. Didn’t he know I’m different? That I’m not like him and the other guys? That we aren’t supposed to get along? But my insecurities faded (as they do at PGT!) and Jonah and I bonded over a joke here, and a joke there.

Jonah and Ryan "The Hadleyburg Project" Jan 2007

Jonah and Ryan
“The Hadleyburg Project”
Dec 2004

Lots and lots of jokes, really. Jonah’s sense of humor and his openness are two distinct qualities of his personality I still remember, and they were more important to me during a rough year of high school than I think I ever realized.

That was the only show we were in together, but once you were in a show with someone it was always exciting to go see them in a new role every season, your old friend in a whole new show! And when I think back on all of the PGT performances I saw in high school, I have more specific memories of Jonah on stage than of any other peer I saw in those shows. He appeared in so many roles, and many were so vastly different, but he brought his own distinct personality to each of them so that they’re all strung together in my mind like a reel of “Jonah’s greatest hits.”

And I think, again, this is because of the humor and openness that he always brought with him on stage – that was how he brought each new character to life in a way that was distinctly “Jonah,” while also somehow being completely different from the last character you saw him play.

Now that I am a young director and working with a new generation at PGT, I appreciate on a whole new level how rare these qualities are, and how tricky it can be to put them into action so effortlessly. And I try my best every day to teach our young actors to enter the space, and more importantly, to approach life, with humor and openness.

As Jonah proved to me, it can go a long way.



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

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