21. John Adams: Although I only really learned of the brilliance of this man in the last few years, mostly thanks to David McCullough’s biography of him and the HBO special of the same name, I am overwhelmed by how prescient he was and by how much he and I are alike. He was a man who struggled to be liked and listened to. He was a man that was nearly always correct. He was a man that was almost constantly being overshadowed by more charismatic individuals. I am in awe of the similarities between us and have found profound respect for this man who did so much for the American Revolution and has languished in the shadows for generations because of a handful of mistakes. I say ye, John Adams!
22. Shirley Maclaine: No single actress or actor has had as much impact upon my personal life as this single, courageous woman who has been willing to stand up for her beliefs, and her politics for nearly the entirety of my life. Without her example I don’t know if I would believe in reincarnation, or half the other beliefs I hold. She has been too often maligned, and to her credit has taken most of it in stride. I believe she is talented as well, but my admiration for her comes from her ability to speak her mind.
23. Mame: This musical is still one of my favorites and has one of the best books ever written for a musical and one of the most admirable characters. Mame is down a lot but out never. Her motto, “open a new window,” was regularly reinforced in my house by my father, and is a song that I carry in my heart to this day. If we could all be like her we would all be tolerant and possess a lust for life that so few achieve on either front. As characters go she is My Best Girl.
24. Axel Kleinsorg: While I was at Susquehanna I had the great pleasure of befriending an elderly man who took me under his wing and treated me like a member of his family. Axel was a treasure in every way; gentle yet firm, kind yet highly opinionated, talented yet somewhat out of touch with contemporary trends in his field. He was a treasure trove of all things past and I spent many afternoons in an armchair at his home with his two Siamese cats listening to stories from theatrical days long past. In every way he was my crazy uncle at Susquehanna and I love him still and miss him every day that we cannot communicate directly.
25. New England Clam Chowder: I have had this tasty soup so many places it defies description, but it is always my first favorite whenever I get to a restaurant. Oh, I do have other soups that I tend to like a little more, but this is my utility favorite and I will get it whenever it’s on the menu and as often as possible.