Jack Connors won’t play the fool, after all. But Tuesday’s reading of “King Lear” at Babson College will still feature a big cast of characters plucked from the ranks of Boston’s business community.
This will be the third year that Commonwealth Shakespeare Company has mined the playwright’s classic canon with the help of well-known Boston leaders — they’ll perform a staged reading, then discuss its implications in today’s business world.
This year, it seems like nearly every sector of the economy will be represented on stage.
ML Strategies COO and former US senator Mo Cowan will be there, as the loyal Earl of Kent, while Legal Sea Foods CEO Roger Berkowitz has been cast as the Earl of Gloucester. Boston Medical Center CEO Kate Walsh will get to play the doctor, a break from her day job at the hospital.
Connors was supposed to be there, as Lear's jester and confidant. But a last-minute commitment popped up, and the adman-turned-philanthropist will need to be in New York instead.
Some of the players are returning participants in the company’s series: Babson president Kerry Healey, Red Cross exec Jarrett Barrios, convention center chief Jim Rooney, DentaQuest's Fay Donohue. They know a thing or two about succession planning — Rooney is preparing to leave the state’s convention center authority, and Donohue just stepped down as CEO of DentaQuest.
There’s also a crop of newcomers who will give the Bard their best shot. That list includes developer Jonathan Davis, YWCA Boston CEO Sylvia Ferrell-Jones, Imaginatik CEO Ralph Welborn, and MORE Advertising founder Donna Latson Gittens.
Some, like Connors, were drawn in because they were asked by David Friedman, special counsel for the Red Sox and the new chairman of the Shakespeare company’s board. Healey also put her Rolodex to good use.
The starring role, though, will go to a professional: actor Will Lyman, who will also play the titular king in the Shakespeare company’s performance of “King Lear” on Boston Common this summer.
Director Steven Maler says the executives won’t need to memorize their lines — he knows they’re busy people. Instead, they will read from notes on music stands. Afterward, they’ll participate in a panel discussion about some of the issues raised in the text, including the right and wrong ways to handle leadership transitions.
“These are very bright people, some of the top leaders in Boston,” Maler said. “I think they’ll have a lot of fun playing around with this.” — JON CHESTO
Columbia Point museums launch free shuttle service
Could Columbia Point eventually be as common a stop on the Boston tourist circuit at Faneuil Hall, Old North Church, and the Public Garden?
The folks who run the trio of museums there hope so, and to try to make that a reality they’re launching a new free weekend shuttle that — beginning Saturday — will carry visitors from Copley Square to Columbia Point and back.
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum, Commonwealth Museum, and Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the US Senate, which opened last month, have teamed up to hire a Beantown Trolley that will work exclusively for them on weekends from May 2 through Nov. 1.
“Even though we’re a stone’s throw from Boston, it can be a mental hurdle for people to get out here,” said library spokeswoman Rachel Flor, “so we’re trying to eliminate that barrier.”
Beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, the trolley will pick up people at the corner of Dartmouth Street and St. James Avenue on the hour, with the last trolley leaving Copley at 3 p.m. The shuttle will depart from Columbia Point on roughly the half-hour, its final departure at 4:30 p.m. The driver will take a one-hour lunch break at 12:30.
The trolley will be wrapped in an advertisement for Columbia Point, making it a mobile marketing tool.
“We’re really trying to brand Columbia Point as a destination,” said another library spokeswoman, Lee Statham, “and we’re trying to make it easier to get out there.” — SACHA PFEIFFER
And then there’s the other Colombia . . .
On the same day Charlie Baker was pushing a bill to authorize ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, the governor was trying his hand with international relations, as well.
Luis Carlos Villegas, Colombia ’s ambassador to the United States, was in town to meet with the governor and to speak with students at Boston College and Harvard University. You might not know it, but Colombia is a major exporter of goods to Massachusetts, the second- largest after Mexico among all of the Latin American countries.
The value of Colombia’s exports to the state had been trending upward in 2012 and 2013, before plunging oil prices caused a nearly 30 percent decline in 2014. Villegas said his country ships flowers, coffee, petrochemicals, and textile products to Massachusetts.
Villegas met with Baker on Friday to talk about the state’s innovation partnership with Colombia, one that was launched under Deval Patrick when he was governor. The ambassador also got the opportunity at the Harvard Club to meet with private equity investors and reps for Verizon and other companies, at an event arranged by the Hispanic-American Chamber of Commerce’s Boston branch. Villegas said he offered his prediction for Colombia’s economic growth: 4 to 4.5 percent this year, and again next year.
The ambassador had nothing but positive things to say about the Boston area, despite the region’s notoriously fickle weather. (He is a professional diplomat, after all.)
“I love this city,” he said. “When it has sun, it’s even better.” — JON CHESTO
Lottery winner brings wealthof experience to welfare job
The state’s new welfare chief lifted himself way above the poverty line in 2011 — cashing in on a $10 million lottery scratch ticket.
Jeffrey McCue, 57, said he came out of retirement to take the job as commissioner of the state Department of Transitional Assistanc e last week.
Named to the job on April 16, McCue, a father of six from Weymouth, is a former assistant vice chancellor for human resources at the University of Massachusetts Boston. His resume also includes stints at the state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services and as deputy commissioner at the Department of Mental Health.
McCue could not be reached for comment Thursday. He is a widower who remarried and used much of the money to pay for his children’s education.
The Department of Transitional Assistance serves one in eight residents of the state with programs such as SNAP, theSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps; TAFDC, or Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children, and SSI, or Supplemental Security Income, cash assistance to the elderly, blind, and those with disabilities.
— MEGAN WOOLHOUSE
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