By Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis
FRAMINGHAM – “We have bold and brand new stories to be told. We will write them, we will tell them. This is our story.”
The Framingham High School Drama Company never disappoints, and this May’s performance of Shrek the Musical was exactly the boost of positive, optimistic energy that our community needed.
Some people follow the local football team closely, attending every game and cheering alongside the cheerleaders. For others, instead of following local football, it might be baseball, basketball, or some other sport. For me though, that local “sport” is Framingham’s drama department.
I first learned of Donna Wresinski and the Framingham Public Schools Fine and Performing Arts Department in December 2010. Framingham High was producing The Laramie Project, and the pro-LGBTQ+ message of the play had attracted the attention of homophobes locally and across the country, including from the Westboro Baptist Church. While I hadn’t yet moved to Framingham and
it would still be a couple years before I attended one of Framingham High’s plays, the congregation I was serving was invited to show support during a “Love is Stronger than Hate” counterprotest.
That evening, I remember hearing Wresinski’s powerful words as I brushed shoulders with leaders like Dennis Giombetti and Rep. Chris Walsh for the first time. And while I had no idea where my life would take me, that event was the beginning of my love for Framingham, the town’s leaders, and the school’s drama department.
Over the years, Donna Wresinski, Chris Brindley, and the entire team of volunteers and students in Framingham’s Fine and Performing Arts Department have consistently delivered Broadway-quality performances. Don’t think that is possible at the high school level? I challenge you to join me at their next performance.
Regardless of whether the students transport us to the complex world of urban plumbing, Revolutionary France, 17 Cherry Tree Lane, or the second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning, Framingham’s drama program never disappoints. And this year, no plague, rain, or wind was going to keep the students and staff from doing what they always do: making us laugh, cry, and, maybe most importantly, think. Shrek the Musical was the perfect vehicle for those emotions.
For some of us, Shrek the Musical harkened back to Walsh Middle School’s performance in 2014. And while most of those students have already graduated high school, it was the first time many in the community watched performers that would become integral to the Framingham arts program, including Emily Dupcak and Max Connor.
As we slowly emerge from this pandemic and the policies that worked to keep one another safe, Shrek the Musical reminds us that there is strength in our diversity, and that the celebration of our uniqueness makes our communities stronger. Maybe more important than anything else, we learn that the things that once divided us are actually the diverse qualities that propel our communities forward.
“We are different and united. We are us and we are you. This is our story.”
Follow Framingham Middle School Drama on Facebook here.
Follow Framingham High School Drama Company on Facebook here.
Jack Patrick Lewis is one of three state representatives for Framingham. He lives in Framingham with his family.