Friday, June 29, 2007

An Update Regarding Veterans’ Health Care

Regular readers of The White Rhino Report will recall that in March I addressed the issue of inadequate health care for our military and veterans. At that time, I indicated that I had contacted several members of Congress to express my outrage and concern. I encouraged readers to also reach out to their representatives.

I want to give you an update and make you aware of a substantive response I received from Congressman John Tierney.

I encourage you to join me in continuing to monitor the progress that our leaders in Washington are making in addressing the need for reform in this vital area of national concern.

Dear Dr. Chase:

Your recent comments regarding the House Oversight's National Security Subcommittee's investigation of conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center have been brought to my attention. I appreciate the opportunity to respond.

Thank you for contacting me to share your thoughts concerning the health systems for wounded soldiers. As you may know, I was frustrated to learn of what happened, and I am concerned that the stories that have been shared are becoming all too common ones about a lack of respect and care for our returning soldiers, veterans, and their families.

As the new Chairman of the House Oversight's National Security Subcommittee, I was proud to have held our inaugural hearing at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to help shed some light into the inadequate care and conditions for our wounded heroes at that facility. It is also becoming clear that there is a growing national consensus that many of the military and VA facilities are not up to the standards they should be, and that overly bureaucratic processes used to care for our nations heroes need to be reformed - immediately. The National Security Subcommittee has already held a second hearing on these issues, and we will continue our vigorous oversight.

As Chairman of the Subcommittee, be assured that I will not sit back and wait for the Executive Branch to address these issues on their own timetable. Rather, the Subcommittee will act to hold accountable those officials who have not paid adequate attention to the needs of soldiers and their families.

More importantly, we need to make sure we get this right going forward for every solider and veteran, and for all families involved. The information you shared will be useful in our ongoing National Security Subcommittee investigation and hearings.

Thank you for taking the time to contact me, and please let me know if I may be of assistance in the future.


John F. Tierney


Subcommittee on National Security

And Foreign Affairs

In a New York Minute – A Bostonian Navigates Midtown Manhattan

Although I am a Bostonian through and through, I spend enough time in NYC that it often feels like a second home. I am able to comfortably move within the nooks and crannies of all of the boroughs and I enjoy the unique energy that is New York. A couple of experiences that occurred on my last two visits to the city I think are worth sharing as quintessential New York moments.

A few weeks ago I needed to take the #6 train from 77th Street to Grand Central Station. While I was waiting on the platform, I was standing in front of a very talented group of buskers - a couple of gentlemen in their 60’s and a young woman. They were all singing vintage Motown – Al Green’s classic tune: Sha la la la-- la la la, I love you. A middle-aged white woman entered the platform and joined in with the harmony, so I took my hint from her and added my voice, as well. We sounded good. Just then the train came, and the white woman and I entered the crowded subway car. Just before the doors closed, the young black woman who had been singing slipped into the car.

“I thought you were one of the performers!” I exclaimed.

“Oh, no. I live in the neighborhood, so I am often here and join in singing with them when I can just for fun.”

The three of us – the young black woman, the older white woman and I - were clustered together as strap hangers in the crowded car. As the train rattled its way southbound, I started gently singing: Sha la la la-- la la la, I love you. At the same instant, the two women joined in, and, in perfect three-part harmony, we serenaded the other commuters, many of whom smiled in appreciation. When we reached the end of the chorus, the young woman remarked to me:

“I can tell by the way you held that last note that you have had some vocal training. What do you do?”

“I am an Executive Recruiter from Boston. How about you?

“I am a personal trainer.”

I turned to the older woman and inquired: “And how about you – what do you do?”

“I am a real estate agent.”

She turned to the personal trainer and asked: “Do you have a card? I have been meaning to get in shape, and I think you might be able to help me.”

As our train slowed as it neared my destination at Grand Central, the realtor turned to me with a wry smile and said:

“Mr. Boston Executive Recruiter, you have just experienced a New York moment!”

A couple of weeks ago I was back in Manhattan for a quick visit. There was an evening event I had been invited to attend at the Copacabana on 34th St. and 11th Ave. (Yes, THE Copacabana immortalized by Barry Manilow.) I arrived in the city mid-morning, and wanted to find a place to park near the Copa, so that I would have easy access to my car when the event was over, since I would be driving to Brooklyn to spend the night at the home of some friends.

As I drove along 34th St., I was delighted to find a parking garage on the corner of 10th Ave. – less than a block away from the Copa. But, alas, as I approached the garage, I could see that it was filled to overflowing. There were cars spilling out onto the sidewalk and onto the street. Still, “nothing ventured, nothing gained,” so I pulled up and got in line behind the last car. The attendant began frantically waving me off – signaling that they could not possibly take any more cars.

Having spent a year living in the mountains of Haiti back in the mid 1970’s, I have many Haitian friends, and I speak Haitian Kreol fairly fluently. I could tell by the way the garage attendant looked and by the way he carried himself that he was probably Haitian, so I rolled down my window and shouted:

“Eske ou sort Haiti?” (“Are you from Haiti?”)

His face lit up, and he replied that he was indeed from Haiti.

I then hit him with a rapid fire string of Kreol words that, loosely translated, conveyed the following message:

“I am from Haiti, too. In fact, I am a white Haitian! I can’t believe that you can’t find one little spot in your garage for the car of a white Haitian!”

He broadened his smile and then started laughing out loud. He replied, in Kreol:

“OK, you win. Leave your car right here and I’ll find a place for it, my friend.”

Only in New York! Or Boston!

Life is such a marvelous series of adventures!



Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Belated Tribute to Some Recent Graduates from HBS and KSG

I mentioned in a posting a couple of week’s ago that I had attended the graduation of my friend, John Serafini, from Harvard Business School and the Kennedy School of Government. At the time, I did not have time to also mention several other former military officers who were also completing their studies and receiving the MBA degrees from HBS. They have been active members of the Armed Forces Alumni Association on campus, and I have been pleased to get to know them during their time at Harvard.

So, I offer a tip of the cap and a salute to a great group of men and women who will be taking their Harvard training and their experience as battle-tested leaders into a variety of fields.

Daniel Bradley Bozung

Jeffrey Aaron Brewer

Donovan Campbell III

Briah Leigh Carey

Jacob John Carr

Andrew William Casey

Joseph Michael Ewers

Brian John Gebhardt

Brandon Dale Holden

Samuel James Hudson

Jennifer Toby Johnson

Mark Densel Kerber

Thomas Chul Kim

Sung Woo Lee

Meighan Kathleen McNulty

Thomas Sinclair Messervy

Francis John Monterisi, Jr.

William Douglas Moorehead

Matthew James Morgan

David Michael Muhlenkamp

Reid Thomas Nahm

Quan Thanh Nguyen

Robert William Niemeyer

Matthew Reid Powell

Zachary Evans Rossley

Matthew Bennington Scherrer

John Sheldon Serafini

Matthew Stephen Valle

Shawn Michael Wagoner

John Thomas Williams

Let me point out two graduates in particular, whose post-Harvard assignments are worthy of note.

Joe Ewers remains in the US Army, and is heading back to his alma mater, West Point, to join the faculty in the Behavioral Sciences and Leadership Department.

Donovan “Dono” Campbell graduated with High Distinction and was named a Baker Scholar, the highest honor HBS bestows upon its graduates. Dono has been recalled to active duty with the Marine Corps, and expects to be redeployed to Iraq soon.

Keep these young leaders in your thoughts and prayers as they transition to new responsibilities.


A Manifesto of Salesmanship – “The Peddler’s Prerogative” by Dennis Ford

Unless you are reading The White Rhino Report for the first time, you have already figured out that I love books. I love reading them, buying them, borrowing them, lending them, giving them away, talking about them and reviewing them. I derive particular pleasure when an author becomes a friend, and conversely, when a friend becomes an author. So, I was delighted when my friend, Dennis Ford - Boston Irish to the core – contacted me a few months ago and asked if I would read some early chapters of the book he was writing. I loved what I was reading, and looked forward to the end of the book’s gestation period. Well, the baby has been born, and he came out kicking and screaming. Dennis named the baby: “The Peddler’s Prerogative – A Guide for Bag Carrying, Door Banging, Dialing for Dollars, Shoot the Moon, When in Doubt Panic and Accelerate, Kind of Sales Folk.” Try saying that all in one breath. And I thought my grandchildren had long names!

I love this book! If you are in sales, sales management, know someone in sales or interact with the sales process in any way, this book will be worth your while buying and reading.

Editorial note: I do not peddle books. I peddle recruiting services and my ability to help client companies find good leaders to join their teams. I have been asked many times why I do not include a link to when I review a book so I might earn a few shekels when someone links from my Blog to Amazon to buy the book. The answer is simple. I do not want to turn the sharing of my thoughts about books into a financial transaction; I want it to remain a personal and intellectual transaction between me and my readers. So, when I recommend that you buy a book, it is because I think you will be enriched in some way by what the author has said – not so I can experience financial gain.

Before I tell you about “The Peddler’s Prerogative,” I need to tell you something about the author, my friend, Dennis Ford. Other than Dennis, I can think of only one other author I know personally – Seth Godin – whose personality comes across so completely in his writing. Dennis the person jumps off the pages that have been written by Dennis the author. Picture this: Dennis Ford is one part the quick repartee of Dennis Miller, one part the intensity of Dennis Leary, one part the impish grin of Dennis the Menace and one part the chutzpah of Dennis Kucinich. Add a dash of Rodney Dangerfield’s “I can’t get no respect!” Throw in a soupcon of Donald Trump’s bravado and a sprinkling of Ronald Reagan’s Great Communicator persona, and you have the zesty bouillabaisse that is Dennis Ford! He is both a delight and a dynamo! To know him is to love him; to know him is to be both energized and exhausted by him.

And Dennis has thrown the full force of his personality, deep experience in sales and personal philosophy of selling and of living into this fascinating book. I wish I had a videotape of myself reading this book. There are many things that Dennis says in this book that needed to be said, so much so that I often found myself at the end of a paragraph responding viscerally to the truth of what I had just read: “You go, Dennis. Tell it like it is!” I even, literally, pumped my fist a few times, a la Jonathan Papelbon after closing out a Red Sox victory. This is no dry sales self-help book, but a thoroughly entertaining and informative rant from a peddler who has seen it all and done it all. This is a world-class salesman freely (well, almost freely – the book costs $24.95 – and is a bargain at this price!) sharing stories from his own rich storehouse of experiences in every aspect of sales – “peddlery” in Ford’s self-deprecating vernacular.

What I like most about this book is that it is not so much a book about “how to sell” as it is a book about “how to live” and “how to be human” while pursuing the peddler’s profession. Dennis Ford’s personal integrity screams from every page, just as it exudes for his every pore when you spend time with him in person. He fights tenaciously to make a sale, but he never cuts ethical corners or climbs over someone else to get the deal done. The revolutionary aspect of this manifesto is the assumption that, as a sales professional, you can be both aggressive and human, hard-hitting and fair. These are important words to hear and crucial lessons to be learned. And Dennis illustrates his key points and his 74 “Peddler’s Prerogatives” with pithy stories and anecdotes from his own career and those of his fellow peddlers.

In each chapter, the author finds a new way of hammering home the truth that the personality, ethics, attitude and relationships of the Peddler are far more important than the techniques he/she employs.

“As a peddler roaming through life, you probably interact with more people in a year than most folks do in a lifetime. How you relate to the folks you meet is a reflection of the type of person you are and how you generally see the world. How they react to you is an indication of whether they feel your good vibes and see you as real.” (Page 25)

One of the most important concepts that comes across loud and clear in this book is the importance of treating with respect and dignity the support staff that allow a great peddler to succeed – gatekeepers, technical staff, engineering and manufacturing professionals. To illustrate this point, as well as to highlight the creativity and tenacity it takes to survive and thrive as a peddler, Dennis tells a fascinating story about a trip he once took to the West Coast to close a deal. I do not want to spoil your fun in reading this tale yourself, but when you get this book, turn to pages 112-114 for Dennis’ account of him camping out for two days in the lobby of a customer’s headquarters. This story is quintessential Dennis Ford!

We often hear the phrase, “Put your money where you mouth is.” That is exactly what I have done with this book. I am so impressed with the book that Mr. Ford has written that I have purchased a bulk order, and plan to give copies to colleagues and to clients I feel will want to buy multiple copies for their sales forces, marketing departments and corporate executives.

You can purchase the book through and other on-line book sources, or directly from: If you mention that you heard about the book through The White Rhino Report, I’ll be willing to bet that Dennis will even sign the book for you.



Monday, June 18, 2007

Thymn Chase in Krakow Graces the Pages of the New York Times – “Poland’s Second City is the First Choice for the Young”

My son, Thymn (a.k.a. “Tim”), was interviewed a few months ago by a writer for the New York Times. The reporter was in Krakow doing a piece of the phenomenon of Poland’s second city becoming a magnet for ex-patriot youth. The piece appeared a few weeks ago in the Sunday Times Travel Section.

When I spoke with Thymn this morning about the piece, he sounded like someone who had bumped up against the reality of having a journalist take a complex topic and a nuanced discussion, and then turning that discussion into a simplistic sound bite. Thymn had spoken extensively with the writer about the uniqueness of Krakow as a second home for Western young people. One distinctive is the rich assortment of opportunities that abound for ex-pats to truly partner with young Poles in business and artistic endeavors. That part of the interview did not find its way into print, much to my son’s chagrin.

Krakow crackles with energy. In my week there earlier this year, I fell in love with the city and its people. I look forward to my next visit.



Sunday, June 17, 2007

Mini-Review: “The Good Life” by Charles Colson with Harold Fickett

I had an interesting interchange of e-mails this past week with a first-time reader of The White Rhino Report. He was put off by some of the spiritual content of the Blog, and he made the following statement: “I suppose I am a bit uncomfortable with executives leading with their spirituality as a business differentiator. It is not that I have a problem with spirituality. It is just presenting it as a distinction.”

I respect the opinion of this reader, but would like to respond briefly. I have made a choice to offer in The White Rhino Report my thoughts on a wide variety of topics – leadership, sports, books, movies, theater, faith, world travel, etc. In this Blog, there is no hermetically sealed boundary between personal and professional, because in my life there is no such barrier. Professional colleagues are often friends, and friends are often colleagues. The readership of this Blog is diverse, and I assume that regular readers scan the title of a posting or read the first paragraph or two and then decide if they wish to invest more time in reading the entire posting. I also assume that when I write about spiritual maters that are personal to me, some of my readers, whose perspective on faith is different from my own, may choose to ignore what I have written, privately disagree or choose to share their disagreement in the former of a comment or e-mail to me.

I think it is a fair statement that anyone who knows me well, knows that faith is integral to my life, but that I do not beat people over the head with Bible verses nor do I use my faith in an exclusionary way. Having laid on the table this issue, let me offer some brief thoughts on a book I have just finished reading, and found to be valuable and thought-provoking.

Chuck Colson has written over twenty books since his surprising bestseller, “Born Again,” written in the wake of the Watergate scandal. Following his release from prison, he founded and has run for over thirty years a successful ministry called Prison Fellowship. For almost ten years, I was a member of the staff of Prison Fellowship and came to know and respect Chuck Colson’s commitment to justice, informed by his Christian faith. Colson has one of the keenest minds I have ever encountered, and his faithful service for over three decades to prisoners and their families around the globe has silenced most of his early critics who were convinced that his talk of religious conversion on the heels of his Watergate conviction was a cynical attempt to garner sympathy. On the contrary, Nixon’s notorious “hatchet man” has hewn an impressive path through the forest of prison injustice and has emerged as a thought leader within the Christian community on issues of applying faith to social problems.

“The Good Life,” written in collaboration with Harold Fickett, represents Colson’s reflections based on thirty years of wrestling with how to apply his faith to his own personal struggles and those of society. In Colson’s own words, here is the theme of this book:

“In one sense, this is a thematic memoir – the rest of the story after “Born Again.” It includes reflections on my own life, some joyful, some painful. It recounts some of the crucial moments in my life and the lessons I’ve learned from them. I hope it also reflects my personal pursuit of what we all want – to live a life that matters, a life of significance.

Please don’t think that this book is a grand summing up by a senior statesman who means to impress you with his accumulated wisdom. No. This book is for seekers – seekers of any kind, of any or no religious faith. That may surprise you. Anyone who knows about me knows that I’m a Christian. I have deep and abiding convictions, and I can hardly claim to be a neutral observer. But I am a seeker too. My search led me into Christianity, and since ten it has driven me to uncover more fully the truth that we are meant to know and live.” (Page xv)

Colson weaves together in a very compelling way stories of men and women who have come to his attention – some personally and some indirectly – who have struggled mightily with question of meaning and purpose in life. “The lack of peace within our hearts spurs us on a quest for the meaning of life – a command imprinted on ‘unextinguished souls.’ Pope John Paul II sums up the matter elegantly: ‘One may define the human being, therefore, as the one who seeks the truth.’” (Page 10)

Despite the fact the Colson writes from an unabashedly Christian perspective, I feel confident in recommending this book to thoughtful persons of all religious persuasions – or lack thereof. The author’s look through the lens of thirty years of searching for ever deepening understanding of truth is helpful to anyone who sees herself or himself on a similar quest.



Tuesday, June 12, 2007

In Honor of the Wedding of Socrates and Emily Rosenfeld – In Memory of Robert “Sly” Seidel

The lone osprey hovered over our gathering – a majestic aquiline talisman of vigilance, beauty and grace.

We had come from near and far to celebrate the wedding of Socrates and Emily, and we had assembled for the rehearsal dinner hosted by the Rosenfeld’s – the groom’s family. We were a motley bunch. There were those among us who call Martha’s Vineyard their home, and those, like the Rosenfeld’s, who have come to love the island over the years by breathing in its essence for a month or two each summer. The rest of us had made our way on the Woods Hole ferry from Cape Cod, Boston, New York, Gettysburg, Ontario, British Columbia, Iraq and Jakarta, Indonesia and a variety of military bases in the US.

The setting could not have been more inviting. For over twenty years, John and Ketty Rosenfeld and their children have enjoyed spending a portion of each summer in a rented cottage overlooking The Vineyard’s picturesque Sengekontacket Pond with its panoramic view across the sand dunes to the distant shore of Cape Cod. A few dozen extended family members and close friends had been invited to dine with the parents of the bride and groom. This crowd was not shy about enjoying the wonderful selection of salads and meats - grilled to perfection by Grill Master, John Rosenfeld. We also justified our hosts’ faith that we would take full advantage of the two large coolers of adult beverages that they had laid in for our enjoyment.

After most of us had eaten to the point of feeling stuffed, John took the microphone to lead us in a Rosenfeld family tradition. Whenever the clan gathers, impromptu speeches by many in attendance are the order of the day. And this was a very special day, so the speeches were in keeping with the magnitude of the occasion.

Socrates, who would be the first to say that he does not enjoy speaking to a crowd, took the microphone and thanked everyone for coming. With great emotion, he shared with us that in addition to him wanting his brother, Abe, to serve as his best man, Soc had looked forward to sharing his special wedding day with three of his closest friends. His friend Paul was unable to be present because he wife was expecting their first child that weekend. Matt was unavailable because he is in the midst of evaluation for Special Forces. And “Sly” . . . . Socrates had to take a moment to compose himself, and then he continued by reminding us that Robert “Sly” Seidel would not be standing at his side on his wedding day because he had been killed in action in Iraq in May of 2006. And then Socrates added, as he always does when talking about his friend “Sly”: “But I know he is with us. I can feel him.”

The regal osprey overhead continued to remain on station - flying in an oval pattern and watching over the proceedings – an airborne sentinel.

The entire Seidel family had come to know the Rosenfeld family very well as the older sons visited one another’s homes during their four years together at West Point. So, it was a natural and very touching gesture when Socrates invited Stephen Seidel, Sly’s younger brother, to stand up with him as his groomsman. Stephen, who works in his home town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania as a painter in an auto body shop, took the microphone from Soc and offered his thoughts about the special occasion that had brought us all together. Stephen reminded us that he was not really a public speaker, and then proceeded to eloquently evoke the presence of his big brother, reminding us what a special friendship it was that Soc and Robert had shared, and how pleased Robert was that Soc had found someone as wonderful as Emily. Stephen’s simple eloquence accomplished with his words what he often does at work with his hands: Stephen took something that had been damaged in an accident, removed the dents, and made it shiny and new and usable again.

Sandy Seidel was clearly moved by her young son’s words. She made her way slowly up the steps to the porch, and accepted the microphone from Stephen. She shared with us a story that I can only describe as miraculous.

“A couple of weeks ago, we received a visit from one of Robert’s soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York. This young man had been with Robert in Iraq. We sat and talked, and as we talked, we were listening to some of the selections that Robert had downloaded onto his MP3 player. The songs – hundreds of them – were playing in random order. I asked the soldier if Robert had ever convinced him to begin to appreciate country music, which my son loved. He smiled and said, ‘Not really, but there was this one song by Bob Dylan that I really grew to like as much as he did.’ Within a few moments, a new song started playing on the iPod, and the soldier exclaimed: ‘That’s the song!’ We felt like Robert was speaking to us.

As we continued to talk, the soldier asked, ‘Have you had a chance to go through Robert’s personal belongings that were shipped back from Iraq?’

‘Not really. I quickly checked the contents against the inventory list, but I did not really look at things.’

‘Would it be helpful if I went through the things with you?’

So, we started going through Robert’s trunks. We came to something done up in bubble wrap. On the inventory list, it had said ‘box,’ and I assumed it was some kind of a box, but I did not know what kind.

The soldier smiled and said: ‘I can tell you exactly what this is. Almost a year and a half ago, Robert and I were together at the bazaar, and he found this special carved wooden box, inlaid with ivory and mother of pearl. He turned to me and said, “I am going to buy this as a wedding gift for Socrates and Emily.” ‘But they aren’t even engaged,’ I replied. “But they will be, and I want them to have this.”

I thanked the soldier, and told him that Soc and Emily were to be married in just a couple of weeks, and that I was heading to Massachusetts for the wedding. I told him if he had not visited me, I would have had no idea that the box was to be a wedding gift for them.

So, it is clear that Robert went to a lot of effort – not only to buy this gift – but to make sure I knew about it so I could bring it here tonight.

Soc and Emily, I am pleased to present you with this box – a gift from my son.

I looked to the sky and the osprey was gone; having done his duty, he had returned to his aerie.

In loving memory of Robert “Sly” Seidel

Rest in peace.,0,5330582.story?coll=bal-local-carroll

John Serafini - Climbing Higher for Mountains for Miracles

As I write this posting, my friend, John Serafini is leading a team of climbers up the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. I have written in the past about John’s vision for Mountains for Miracles, a non-profit that he started amidst his dual-degree trek through Harvard Business School and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. For his pioneering efforts to use mountain climbing as a tool for raising funds to fight cancer in children, John was awarded one of the prestige Dean’s Awards at the HBS Commencement last week. I was honored and proud to be in attendance when John received his two diplomas.

I would like to share with you an e-mail that John sent to me and other supporters last week as he was getting ready to leave for Africa.

Dear Friends of Mountains for Miracles,

Greetings to all!

Our MFM climbing team is set to depart this week for our inaugural expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro! On this 10-day, 19,000 foot endeavor, I will be leading an intrepid band of seven dedicated climbers who are all raising capital to support pediatric oncology research at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

We are on track to provide a $60,000 donation to Dana-Farber upon the completion of this ten-day expedition.

Please consider contributing to our fundraising drive at my personal fundraising website: All capital raised by Mountains for Miracles will support ground-breaking, innovative research at Dana-Farber, speeding the process by which treatments move from the laboratory bench to the patient’s bedside. Please also see the enclosed brochure for additional information about the expedition.

On a personal note, as I prepare to graduate this week from Harvard, I would like to thank each of you for your support and assistance to Mountains for Miracles over the past two years. Without your support, Mountains for Miracles would not exist. Thank you!

My very best to all-


Climbing for the Cure,

John Serafini

Director, Mountains for Miracles

“Supporting Childhood Cancer Research Through Epic Mountaineering”

I was pleased to be able to make an additional contribution to celebrate John’s achievements and the launch of the first Mountains for Miracles climb. I encourage you to consider joining me in supporting this noble effort.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Mini-Review: “Parade” at the Boston Center for the Arts – Only Through June 16.

Loyal readers of The White Rhino Report, I offer my apologies for the absence from posting for a few weeks. My start-up business, White Rhino Partners, has taken off and I am scrambling to keep up with the expanding volume of work. Mind you, I am not complaining, but I feel bad about lagging behind with posts I would like to share with you.

Here is a quick heads-up to anyone living in the Boston area or anyone who will be traveling to Boston this week. Last week I saw an extraordinary musical play produced by the SpeakEasy Stage Company at Boston’s Center for the Arts. The show, “Parade,” will be ending its run this Saturday evening, and I want to alert you that it is worth going out of your way to see.

I went to see the show only because I know one of the cast members, and I want to support local arts. I had few expectations of the show, since I was not familiar with it. I was blown away by the power of this production – the book, the staging, the music, the acting of a very strong and well-balanced ensemble cast. This is what regional professional theater should be all about.

In a nutshell, the story is that of Leo Frank, a Jewish man from New York who had decamped to Atlanta and had become a community leader there as a businessman. He was convicted and jailed for the murder of a young girl who had worked in his pencil factory. He was eventually lynched by a mob that was tired of waiting for “justice” to be served. The play brilliantly illuminates disturbing issues of racism, anti-Semitism, mob justice and political opportunism.

This production comes with my very strong endorsement and recommendation. Visit the

SpeakEasy Stage Company website link below for ticket information: