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: Alexandra Wolitzer

2013.11.Jonah'sYears@PGT.BlogPost.PostCampaignEntries

Dear friends,

This is the final piece of writing by one of Jonah’s PGT friends. We hope you’ve enjoyed the series. Thanks to everyone who submitted an essay!

Billy


 

Alex Wolitzer remembers …

WritersPix.AlexandraWolitzer.02aHaving graduated from Skidmore College in May of 2012, Alex immediately started teaching in Washington, DC. She has taught students of all levels and ages, and is currently at McKinley Middle School teaching a self-contained class of eight students with intellectual disabilities. They love when she puts on recordings of, and serenades them with, show tunes!

*    *    *

Dear Jonah,

Where I am today, you are always with me. I’m a teacher for adolescent students in inner-city D.C. Imparting my love of the theatre to them and watching them gobble it up reminds me so much of the passion and fervor you and I shared at PGT so many years ago. If only I could play the “uke” as you did, I think I’d have them hooked!

I want to thank you for being a friend. I remember like it was not long ago at all watching you endlessly share your voice, your time, and your heart with those with whom we worked, played, and grew at PGT. Especially for sharing it all with me. There are too many times for me to count where you were an open ear and a shoulder to cry on before rehearsals even started. Whether it was something going on at school or anxiety about our show, you always had something to say, be it realistic and constructive or hysterical enough that I forgot all about it!

But of all of the times that you were there with a kind word or to brush that ever-present chip off of my shoulder, the memory I want to share involved but a few words. Rehearsing for A Man of No Importance, I felt so nervous because it was my first experience with PGT, and I was one of the youngest actors in the cast. Not only were you so warm and welcoming, but you never made me feel as though I was new; it was like we’d been friends forever. So when I bought my first pair of character shoes, I was worried I would look like such a doofus! During our dinner break, you came down to the Asian market with me, and on the way back—on the first floor still—my heel broke! I was absolutely mortified that I’d have to walk through the White Plains Mall, with one shoe only, back to the cast of accomplished actors that I’d just met! You said these words:

“Shut up. Embrace it. Hop on.”

Mason, Alex, Jonah and Will Hair 2008

Mason, Alex, Jonah and Will
Hair 2008 (well, a cast party at least)

You bent over and had me climb on your back for a piggy-back ride! You carried me up the stairs, through the White Plains Mall, and all the way back to the PGT studios. And for the first time—maybe even in my life—I actually found security in laughing at myself and feeling secure in my skin. No matter how many words of wisdom or comfort you could have imparted on me, those six made such a dramatic impact on how great I felt about my clumsy bad luck, my kooky personality, and me overall.

As I said, in what I do today, you are always with me. My students just watched Rent for the first time. And watching my adorable class of inner-city kids sing “No Day But Today,” “La Vie Boheme,” and “Seasons of Love” the way you and I once did when we were just singing for no apparent reason whatsoever brings me such joy.

You live on in all of us, Jonah.

Alex (or as you once called me for a week straight, “Shortypants”)

 

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

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