Claudia Shear might just be the most famous former brothel receptionist/hardware store clerk/waitress in the world. Single-minded and confident. the playwright/actress worked a whopping 64 jobs before she shot to fame with her one-woman play "Blown Sideways Through Life" (1993), a comedy that chronicled the many careers she supported herself with until her acting took off. Directed by Christopher Ashley at New York Theatre Workshop, "Sideways" later transferred for a sold-out commercial engagement at the Cherry Lane Theatre and Los Angeles' Coronet Theatre. Shear received a special OBIE award and a Drama Desk Award nomination for writing and starring in the play, The hilarious, insightful account of an everyday working girl was adapted for the screen in 1995 and shown on PBS' "American Playhouse" under Ashley's direction. It was also published in an expanded version by Dial Press/Bantam Doubleday Dell. C5 The outspoken native New Yorker followed up her success with "Dirty Blonde" (2000), a musical play about love, cross-dressing and Mae West. Shear wrote and starred in the piece, which was staged by James Lapine, the noted theater director and librettist. This was the second time Shear had worked with Lapine. The first was when he directed her in the 1999 HBO movie "Earthly Possessions," starring Susan Sarandon and Stephen Dorff. "Dirty Blonde," which also originated at the New York Theatre Workshop before moving to Broadway, received five Tony nominations, including Best Play and Actress in a Play nods for Shear, and Direction of a Play kudos for Lapine.