Memphis, 1951

If you’re in/near NYC this year, go see Memphis, the musical.  It’s a fantastic show and powerful story.  From the playbill:

TURN UP THAT DIAL! From the underground dance clubs of 1950s Memphis, Tennessee,…comes a hot new Broadway musical – inspired by actual events – with heart, soul and energy to burn. He’s a young, white radio DJ named Huey Calhoun (Chad Kimball), whose love of music transcends race lines and airwaves. She’s a black singer named Felicia Farrell (Montego Glover), whose career is on the rise, but who can’t break out of segregated clubs. When the two collaborate, her soulful music reaches radio audiences everywhere, and the Golden Era of early rock ‘n’ roll takes flight. But as things start to heat up, whether the world is really ready for their music – or their love – is put to the test.

Kenneth Alhadeff championed and produced the project starting in his hometown, Seattle.  Ken is an education advocate, philanthropist, and relentless civil rights champion.  As a trustee of Washington State he created Cougars of Color to recruit more minority students.  I had the good fortune of serving with his wife Marleen Alhadeff on the Foundation for Early Learning.
I appreciate their passion and tenacity for bringing this show to Broadway.  Memphis is a reminder of how far we’ve come in 50 years…and how far we have to go.

Tom - Speaking Engagements

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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