Play shows how people can bounce back and lead others – Mainline Media News

Award-winning journalist and writer Gloria Hochman, a Winwood resident and the widow of Stan Hochman, an amazing sports columnist for the Daily News, attended Sunday’s reading of a new play at Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley. Gloria worked with Michael Solomon, whose autobiography the play is based on, although it had nothing to do with the play. However, she interviewed Michael a few years ago for an article she was doing about bipolar depression. Then Michael asked her to work with him if he wanted to write his autobiography.

Hochman has always been interested in mental health and forms of mental illness, and her book about Patty Duke, an Oscar-winning actress who has been involved in bipolar disorder all her life, “Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic Depression” is a New York Times bestseller for a long time. .

Michael Solomon, who is an active congregation at Har Zion Temple in Peng Valley, is a peer counselor and active in the mental health community. He wanted to write his autobiography and then turn it into a play so he could convey the message that people could turn their lives around, as Solomon did.

“Studies have repeatedly shown that creative people tend to have a set of characteristics – intelligence, independence and sensitivity, combined with empathy for others and a personality style that allows them to be more adventurous and willing to take risks,” said Hochman. “So many gifted and talented people – actor Patty Duke, composer Robert Schumann, theater director and producer Joshua Logan, statesman Winston Churchill, artist Vincent Van Gogh – have suffered from bipolar disorder.

“Michael Solomon demonstrates his own brand of giftedness, generated by his intensity and his sensitivity to others. He became a beacon in the self-help movement; he is determined to tell that together with appropriate medication and psychotherapy teamwork with a charismatic leader can be powerful and effective. He shares his story so that others like him can start their journey to mental health and fulfill their dreams, ”Hochman said.

She helped Michael write his book “It Comes From Within”.

Solomon is married and quite active in the Temple of Har Zion, acting as a pastor at services. He is also a longtime officer and speaker of the non-profit organization Tikvah AJMI, which provides counseling, communication and vocational training for people with mental illness.

Solomon recalled: “My publisher recommended a playwright – Will lives in Pittsburgh. I paid him to turn my book into a play “Half a Bike”.

Its publisher Donna Cavanaugh in the Delaware Valley recommended the playwright. The play was staged at Har Zion Temple on Sunday afternoon, May 15 at 2 p.m., in front of a small but devoted audience.

There are four main characters, ”Solomon said. “I play myself, two professionals – two psychiatrists, and my friend – Brad, someone else who deals with mental illness.”

Solomon and his wife Judy live in Lafayette Hill. The reading of the play lasted 80 minutes. His wife Judy found it wonderful – it was the first time in front of a live audience.

Many years ago, she interviewed Michael about manic-depressive illness for a magazine. He contacted me years later and said he wanted to write a book because it turned his life upside down. We co-authored his book.

Michael self-published his book. He performs a lot, sells books at events where he performs – received very good reviews.

Hochman remarked, “Mental illness is so prevalent, so much depression, even before a pandemic. Lots of depression in teens.

“I am very pleased that Michael, through his book, through the play, has continued to shed light on this difficult mental state – that there is a way out,” Hochman said.

She spent forty years at the Adoption Center as a publicist. She retired from there a few years ago. She kept in touch with some families who adopted through the agency. She sees this as one of the enduring benefits of doing this job for such a long time.

She has worked in television and radio – working with Larry Kane on KYW for many years to promote children who were available for adoption.

Hochman hopes that mental health services will increase, and she is grateful that the topic of mental illness is no longer a disgrace.

However, she is worried about how the services will be paid for. She sees in people like Michael Solomon, heroes who are ready to talk about the darkest and saddest days of their lives and how they make a difference for people and turn their lives around.

Bonnie Squires is a communications consultant who writes weekly for Main Line Media News and can be contacted at She hosts the TV show “Bonnie’s Beat” on MLTV- MAIN LINE NETWORK

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