11 10 2003

What a long week it has been.

My friend, Sharon Johnson, longtime film critic for The Patriot-News, died this week. She was 60.

When I was a young reporter, just starting out and horribly green, she was one of the people who gently and lovingly mentored me. Sharon’s guidance and advice and support has been so important to me over the years. When the political minefield in the newsroom became heated, she showed me how to navigate safely through. She was such a clear thinker and excellent communicator. I loved reading her reviews, and watching her put interview subjects completely at ease.

When I left news to be an entertainer, she supported and encouraged me. She’d come to shows and congratulate me. She’d call and suggest parts I should audition for. At some point, she said she can’t imagine a director who wouldn’t want me to be their Coalhouse Walker Jr. (the lead character in “Ragtime.”) I learned since her death that she was planning a group trip to see me perform next week. I’m missing her already. I can’t imagine a world without her.

Yesterday I was driving to harrisburg to do nunsense, and I stopped at walmart in selinsgrove to get a soda. Car wouldn’t start. I called a bunch of places nearby. No one could help. I called AAA. A very friendly redneck guy came by and tried to jump the car. Didn’t work. Then he took my battery out and replaced it with his own. Didn’t work. He did some investigating and decided it was the starter. He wouldn’t take any money for helping me. You can’t judge a book by its cover. The garage showed up and towed my car to Harrisburg. Not for free mind you. For more than a hundred dollars. By this time, there wasn’t time to get someone from hbg to come get me and have me make the show on time. SO instead of starting classes at the Triangle Theater in Philly today, I’m spending even more money to get my starter replaced. But the mechanic said it won’t be as bad as it could be, because they didn’t have to do a complete diagnostic on the car because i already knew it was the starter.

Again, thank you to the guy in the parking lot!




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